EAST VILLAGE — Step aside, vanilla.
Creative East Village creameries are packing their ice creams with everything from French toast and chorizo sausage to pecan pie and black sesame seeds — and now there are more places than ever to grab an unusual icy treat.
Newcomers like OddFellows Ice Cream Co., which opened earlier this month on East Fourth Street and offers extra virgin olive oil ice cream, have popped up alongside neighborhood standbys like Sundaes and Cones on East 10th Street, known for its Asian-inspired flavors including wasabi and ginger.
Next to open will be DF Mavens, which will offer dairy-free scoops from a cart at Second Avenue and St. Marks Place starting this weekend, while its shop is under construction for the next couple of months.
Pete Rosado, the operations manager for Mikey Likes It, which just opened May 16 on Avenue A, attributed the rise of artisanal ice cream shops in the area to consumers' changing tastes and the desire for something beyond "run of the mill." One flavor at Mikey Likes It includes strawberries that have been soaked in balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper.
“Something made by hand by someone really appeals to people," Rosado said.
For homemade ice cream and flavors with a twist, check out the East Village shops below.
Know a must-visit ice cream parlor we missed? Tell us in the comments.
543 E. 11th St., near Avenue B
Alphabet Scoop doubles as a job-training program for local high school students run by the Father’s Heart Ministries during the summer months. Six to seven kids work behind the counter and make the ice cream from scratch, said manager Eileen Ramos. Proceeds from the shop go toward the nonprofit’s soup kitchen and food pantry, she said.
Alphabet Scoop makes 16 flavors, including classics like chocolate and vanilla, as well as coconut pineapple, ginger, and white chocolate with raspberry and dark chocolate.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 E. Seventh St., between First Avenue and Avenue A
After launching an ice cream truck in 2009, owners Douglas Qunit and Bryan Petroff opened their first ice cream shop in the East Village in 2011.
Big Gay Ice Cream started offering soft-serve ice cream in 2013 and is known for its frozen concoctions like the “Salty Pimp,” made with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate dip, and the “Bea Arthur,” a treat made with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed Nilla wafers.
Blythe Ann’s (formerly Lula’s Sweet Apothecary)
516 E. 6th St., between Avenues A and B
There’s no website, no phone number, or even an official name, but the dairy-free and vegan treats at the shop formerly known as Lula’s Sweet Apothecary remain, despite a legal dispute between the founders.
Now referred to as Blythe Ann’s by regulars — the owner's name is Blythe Boyd — the shop’s rotating flavors include cookie batter soft serve, peanut butter fudge and cookies and cream. All the treats are made with a cashew milk base produced in-house. Vegan milkshakes and sundaes topped with coconut whipped cream are also available.
Davey’s Ice Cream
137 First Ave., between St. Mark’s Place and Ninth Street
Owner David Yoo aims for a laid-back, community feel at his shop. The menu at Davey’s Ice Cream includes traditional favorites like chocolate, vanilla and cookies and cream, but he also crafts specials using whatever is in season, particularly based on his finds at the Union Square Greenmarket, he said.
Yoo said he’ll continue serving the “Brunch” flavor, made with brioche French toast, cinnamon maple syrup and coffee glazed bacon in a sweet cream base, as well as the Haitian mango flavor, for about three more weeks until summer fruits come into season.
Second Avenue and St. Mark’s Place
DF Mavens, a dairy-free ice cream company that sells pints in Whole Foods and other regional grocery stores, won’t open its flagship store until the end of August or early September, but the company will start selling scoops from a cart outside its storefront next weekend, said owner Malcolm Stogo. The company makes 15 flavors, which are made with coconut, soy or almond milk bases.
Popular flavors include key lime pie, Sicilian hazelnut and almond mint cookie. The cart will sell six flavors, which will rotate regularly, he said.
Mikey Likes It
199 Ave. A, near 12th Street
See how many pop culture references you can spot at Mikey Likes It, which recently opened on Avenue A. The shop offers eight of the 30 flavors created by owner Mike Cole at any given time, many of which have fun names like “Ice Ice Baby” for vanilla or “Sky’s the Limit” for a Notorious B.I.G.-inspired flavor made with milk chocolate ice cream and butter crunch cookies.
Popular flavors include “Pretty in Pink,” made with strawberries soaked in balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper, and “Southern Hospitality,” a pecan pie ice cream.
OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
75 E. Fourth St., between Second Avenue and the Bowery
OddFellows, which opened earlier this month, is the company’s first location in Manhattan. Based in Williamsburg, it manufactures all its ice cream in Brooklyn and then ships it to its stores.
Chef Sam Mason, formerly of wd~50, has created all of OddFellows’ 120 flavors, including chorizo caramel swirl, extra virgin olive oil and miso cherry. For those who are a little less adventurous with their ice cream, the shop also includes more traditional flavors like chocolate chunk.
113 Avenue A, near Seventh Street
Ray’s Candy Store is an East Village institution that has been open since 1974, and 81-year-old owner Ray Alvarez still works at the shop. In terms of ice cream, the shop is known for its soft-serve, especially the hard-to-find pistachio flavor, but patrons can also stop by for egg creams, Belgian fries, hot dogs and beignets.
Sundaes and Cones
95 E. 10th St., between 3rd and 4th avenues
Sundaes and Cones has been serving ice cream in the East Village since 2006. Classics like vanilla and chocolate are available, but customers often rave about the Asian-inspired flavors like wasabi, ginger and black sesame.
The shop also offers non-fat and no-sugar-added ice cream as well as frozen yogurt.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
48 E. Seventh St., near Second Avenue.
Van Leeuwen’s East Village location has been open since 2011, where it serves all-natural ice cream produced in Greenpoint, said co-owner Laura O’Neill. Vanilla is the company’s most popular flavor, although customers also enjoy the pistachio and Earl Grey-flavored ice creams.
The company has also started make vegan flavors using cocoa butter, coconut milk and cashew milk as a base. Among the vegan flavors, salted caramel and chocolate are the most popular even among those “who are not even vegan or even lactose intolerant,” O’Neill said.