Dessert Professional magazine proudly presents the Top 10 Frozen Dessert Retailers in America for 2015.
Dessert Professional magazine is proud to honor the Top Ten Frozen Dessert Retailers of America 2015. This award is presented to businesses that offer exceptional frozen desserts served in a unique, memorable environment, including walk-in shops, stands, and even trucks. The enjoyment of a frozen dessert, whether it’s ice cream, gelato, frozen pops or shaved ice, is a special experience that involves more than just the product. Frozen desserts are best eaten when they are served, so the shop (or truck) ambiance and service are almost as important as the product itself. We have taken this into account in choosing our list of ten. Congratulations to this year’s Top Ten Frozen Dessert Retailers.
- Ample Hills Creamery
- The Comfy Cow
- Fifty Licks
- HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars
- Kuma Snow Cream
- Morano Gelato
- Pasticceria Bruno of Greenwich Village
- Sweet Cow
- The Baked Bear
- Hall of Fame: Ben & Jerry
Owners: Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna305 Nevins Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
347-725-4061 • www.amplehills.com
Twitter Handle: @amplehills
Questions answered by Brian Smith
Business profile: Ample Hills Creamery is an ice cream parlor. We make everything from scratch on the premises, in full view of our customers. We invite people into the narrative of how their ice cream is made. Our goal with our shops is to offer people more than just a scoop of ice cream – we want to offer them an experience. And a place to go to pass the time. A community gathering spot. Our name comes from Walt Whitman’s poem, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, in which Whitman writes about the connections between people through time and space: “I too lived, Brooklyn of Ample Hills was mine…”
How it all began: I was a screenwriter. I wrote bad monster movies. I had always had a passion for ice cream. It was always in the back of my head, the idea of having an ice cream parlor. I got tired of trying to get the next gig in the entertainment world. I wanted to do something creative, but also more focused on community, less lonely than sitting in a room and writing all day. My wife and I started with a push cart at a concert series in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to see if people liked the ice cream, and to see if I liked making ice cream. Then the following summer we opened our first brick and mortar shop.
What you’re trying to do differently: We are trying to tell a story – the story of ice cream, how it’s made, what it means to us. The connection to childhood, and the seven-year-old inside each of us. We work hard, and we take our craft seriously, but all in the service of fun and funky flavors, flavors that connect people to their childhood.
Number of flavors: We have made over 200 flavors since we opened four years ago. At any given time we have 24 flavors available.
Most popular flavors: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, The Munchies, Salted Crack Caramel, Peppermint Pattie, and Chocolate Milk & Cookies.
Favorite ingredients: Golden syrup – we love to use it in place of corn syrup in many of our candy recipes. It’s sugar cane syrup, and has a rich flavor profile of molasses, caramel. Malt powder – I love the milky, nutty flavor that malt gives to all kinds of baked goods, as well as to ice cream itself. And it transports us in time too, to sitting at a soda fountain counter in the ‘40’s. Organic cane sugar – organic cane sugar hasn’t been refined like white sugar, and it has a lot more flavor on the crystals…the flavor of molasses, caramel.
Favorite flavor to eat: Peppermint Pattie. I wanted to make a flavor that captured the feeling of going to the movies in the summertime and getting Junior Mints. We used to buy Junior Mints and chop them up into a peppermint ice cream. But then we realized we could make them ourselves, and make them stronger.
Favorite flavor to serve: Snap, Mallow, Pop. This is a deconstructed Rice Krispie treat – melted marshmallow ice cream with clusters of toasted Rice Krispies. I love watching people try it and some part of their childhood comes rushing up through the years, and they just smile. It’s wonderful.
How often do you change flavors? All the time. We constantly change flavors and make new flavors, and bring back old flavors. It keeps it fun in the kitchen, and it keeps customers excited to see what’s new, what’s next.
Weirdest flavor you’ve ever made: We made a flavor called The Beer Munchies. It didn’t quite work. People eat apples and cheddar together, so I thought, hmm, that sounds like it might make an interesting flavor of ice cream. Interesting, yes, but not very good. It was an apple lambic beer ice cream with clusters of cheesy crackers and pretzels sprinkled throughout.
How much product do you eat per week? I probably eat the equivalent of a pint or two a week. I’m always tasting ice cream, and testing it. But I don’t sit down with a whole scoop as often as I used to.
Signature products: Our most popular flavor from day one has been the Salted Crack Caramel. It’s a bitter burnt caramel ice cream with pieces of our home-made crack cookies. The crack cookies are saltines coated in butter and sugar and toasted in the oven, then topped with milk chocolate. It’s an extremely intense flavor. Also, the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is probably our second most popular flavor. It’s a cream cheese/vanilla ice cream with gobs of ooey gooey butter cake pieces in it. Ooey Gooey is a St. Louis tradition. A butter and cream cheese and powdered sugar cake. It’s over the top rich and sweet and decadent.
Display case: We use C Nelson visual dipping cabinets. They are powerful and reliable. It’s important to us that customers can see the ice cream, and point to the ones they want to try.
Best compliment ever: Somebody once called me the Mickey Mantle of ice cream. I have no idea what they meant, but it sure sounds good… Except Mickey Mantle had a reputation for being kind of ornery. I hope she wasn’t suggesting I was a great but mean-spirited ice cream maker!
Best part of the business: Connecting with people. Being part of the community. My previous life as a screenwriter was lonely, anxiety producing. I sat inside all day by myself, writing. Now I work with a team of people. And I get to meet customers all the time. It’s incredibly gratifying to have built something like this – to give birth to something that others feel an ownership of.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I would be tearing people limb to limb… or at least writing movies about monsters that tear people limb to limb.
What’s next: More fun and funky flavors. We are always in search of that singular BEST, MOST AMAZING FLAVOR EVER. Of course we’ll never find it, but boy, it’s fun trying.
Owners: Tim and Roy Koons-McGee2221 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206
502-439-9650 • www.thecomfycow.com
Twitter Handle: @thecomfycow
Questions answered by Tim Koons-McGee
Business profile: The best ice cream on the planet served in a fun, funky and family-friendly atmosphere.
How it all began: Roy and I were both looking for a change, mid-life crisis I guess, and a friend suggested ice cream. We were both huge ice cream fans and consumers.
What you’re trying to do differently: We really feel like we are on the cutting edge of pushing the envelope on creating flavors based on local seasonal ingredients whenever possible. We’ve also been incredibly mindful of creating an experience, a sense of community.
Number of flavors: over 100
Most popular flavors: Bourbon Ball, Simply Southern
Favorite ingredients: Old Forester Bourbon
Favorite flavor to eat: Ginger 2 Snaps
Favorite flavor to serve: Cow Tracks
How often do you change flavors? Monthly
Weirdest flavor you’ve ever served: Banana-peanut butter cake bars with cured country ham bits, a flavor we affectionately refer to as “Fit for a King” (Elvis of course).
How much product do you eat per week? Too much. It’s funny, people always ask me, ‘Don’t you get sick of ice cream?’ That answer would be a resounding NO!
Signature products: We have most of the traditional flavors, plus our monthly seasonals, and then two Foodie Flavors each month where we get a little crazy.
Display case: Master Bilt
Best compliment ever: ‘I’ve traveled the world pretty extensively and consider myself a bit of an ice cream connoisseur, and this is absolutely the best ice cream I have ever tasted.’
Best part of the business: The smiles and the community that we create daily.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Old or historic home renovation
Motto: It’s got to be the best we can make. We make everything from scratch so we make our own variegates, cookie dough, pecan pie pieces, etc.
What’s next: A national presence.
Owner: Chad Draizin2021 SE Clinton Street Portland, Oregon 97214
954-294-8868 • www.fifty-licks.com
Twitter Handle: @fiftylicks
Business profile: We’re a hand-made ice cream company in Portland, Oregon. We started out as two trucks doing catering and events – with a little wholesale – five or six years ago. A little over a year ago we opened our first brick and mortar shop. This has allowed us to spread our wings a bit and manifest some ideas that weren’t just a scoop on a cone. We’ve added things like cocktails that use small scoops of our sorbets to complete the flavor profile, and café Cubano, whipped stovetop, abuelitastyle, and poured over ice cream like a Cuban affogato.
How it all began: I’ve always been an artistic guy. I’ve always been a scientific guy. Science. Art. Science. Art. For me, those two disciplines met at food. I started a career as a brewer after college. I made great beer, but I didn’t care for the industry. After a detour into real estate, I realized that I wanted to do something more concrete and more simple; I wanted to make a thing, put it into somebody’s hands and watch them enjoy it. The word artisan is cliché now, but at the time Portland was just at the very beginning of something really special. People here in every creative field were doing what was in their hearts and doing it with great integrity. Many of them were quite skilled, and shockingly, many of those were able to turn their craft into a successful business. Watching the rise of the folks I respected at Stumptown Coffee, Ken’s Bakery, and myriad breweries, wineries, cheesemakers, and farmers was really inspiring to me. Nobody in Portland had taken the same approach to ice cream, and it seemed like fun. I had made ice cream a few times at home and I really enjoyed it. That’s really it! It was totally a leap.
What you’re trying to do differently: I think that the ice cream is really in a sweet-spot right now (pun!). I’m trying hard to learn how to manage the shop more consistently to minimize chaos as we grow.
Number of flavors: 17-ish at the moment. We’re not really keeping track. It only becomes a problem when customers can’t make up their minds, or when we run out of space on the chalkboard.
Most popular flavors: Thai Rice Pudding, Blood Orange Creamcicle, Chocolate as #@$*, Butter SCOTCH, Coconut Lemon Saffron Sorbet, Caramelized Salted Honey
Favorite ingredients: Cardamom, nutmeg, whiskey, white grapefruit. Lately I’ve been really into infusing cream with toasted breads. We’ll probably do a cinnamon toast ice cream or another doughnut ice cream in the next few weeks.
Favorite flavor to eat: I always have and always will love Strawberry ice cream. In the Pacific Northwest, we grow some of the best strawberries on the planet, so when June comes around, I am very very happy. I also have two favorite dishes in the shop: affogato Cubano with baked milk, and a float with Boulder Brewing’s Shake Chocolate Porter and our Chocolate as #@$* ice cream.
Favorite flavor to serve: The classic sundae. It’s super easy and fun – we serve a scoop in a latté mug with a drizzle of familyrecipe chocolate sauce, fresh whipped cream, cacao nibs for crunch, and an Amarena cherry.
How often do you change flavors? When the mood strikes. We try to change them seasonally, but the flavors are ready when they’re ready. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen perfecting flavors. Sometimes we can work forever on one and it never comes together. Sometimes I’ll pick up some amazing late-season peaches at the farmers’ market, or we’ll pick up an interesting bottle of rum, or something, and it will just come together. It’s really hard to be creative on a PR agent’s timeline.
Weirdest flavor you’ve served: We just finished working on a flavor for a food festival here in town called Feast. We’re teaming up with chef Jenn Louis to make a buttermilk, white chocolate ice cream with lime zest & peanuts, topped with shaved bottarga. It is totally weird and unspeakably delicious. It is creamy, it is crunchy, it is bright; dripping with umami, and just enough anchovy stink to keep things interesting.
How much product do you eat per week? A few spoons here and there, and sometimes I’ll sneak half a scoop. When I’m working in the shop and I give a customer a sample, I’ll suddenly remember how much I love that flavor and sometimes when nobody is looking, I’ll have a sample spoonful myself.
Signature products: It is not our most popular flavor, but the one that people stop me on the street to talk about is our Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet. It’s a very creamy coconutmilk- based sorbet infused with lemon zest, cardamom, star anise, and saffron. I was going for a Silk Road combination of flavors, following trade routes through Southeast Asia, India, and into the Middle East. The thing people love most about it is the texture; they’ve never had a frozen vegan dessert that is so creamy. I believe this is due to in part to the well-emulsified coconut fat, and partly to the very finely ground solids in the coconut milk we use.
Display case: We don’t have the ice cream on display, we use back of the house style dipping cabinets and we’re really generous with samples.
Best compliment ever: “Holy shit!” – we hear this one a lot. Usually several times a day and it makes me so happy every time.
Best part of the business: I always love working behind the counter scooping for the customers or working from the truck at events. I flood them with samples and bad jokes. I’m really proud of everything that we make and it feels good to share it with everybody. Unlike selling something like insurance or dentistry, which you need but don’t want, buying ice cream is purely voluntary and people do it exclusively for the purpose of experiencing joy. It sounds corny, but it is truly a delight to participate in that. Even the occasional grumpy person is entertaining and delightful in his or her own way. I was scooping at the shop all day today, and I’m still feeling high from it, even if my wrist is a little sore.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I have a crazy, probably illegal desire to make mescal the traditional way, baking the agave pineapples over a smoky fire, and juicing them under a giant stone wheel pulled by a donkey. You know, normal stuff.
Frozen dessert philosophy: Since the first day, we’ve had three rules:
- Texture comes first. If we make an awesome flavor, but we can’t get the texture right, we dump the flavor.
- If we’re doing a classic flavor like vanilla or coffee, it has to be the best version of that flavor that I’ve ever tasted. If it isn’t we’d better get our butts back in the kitchen, because we have no reason to make something that a customer can get better somewhere else.
- If we’re making up a new flavor like Baked Milk, or Jasmine Tea with Apricot, it can’t lay back on novelty for its appeal. It has to be absolutely delicious and stand shoulder to shoulder with the classic flavors. If it is a test batch in the freezer, and my staff and I find ourselves in the walk-in with a spoon, then we know we’re on to something.
What’s next: We’re looking for a space in town to open our second location. Hopefully we’ll have it ready to open by next spring. We’re also building a mobile pushcart with two salt-andice- style Amish-built churns mounted on top. We will make ice cream on-site at events in front of guests. We’ve done several events this way to prove the concept and it is great! Those old machines give you the most wonderful texture. We’re exploring the logistics of converting all of our production to 5-gallon Amish-styled batch-freezers because it gives us the best texture we’ve ever produced.
Owner: Anthony Fellows, Founder and CPO (Chief POP Officer)405 SW 2nd Terrace, Dania Beach, FL 33004
954-674-2211 • www.HipPOPs.com
Twitter Handle: @HipPOPsTruck
Questions answered by Anthony Fellows
Business profile: Mobile, premium handcrafted gelato bars that are customizable with different dips and toppings. All bars are handcrafted fresh, daily in small batches using only a handful of all natural ingredients.
How it all began: I started scooping at a local Baskin Robbins in Hollywood, Florida during high school. Frozen desserts became a mainstay at our Sunday night BBQ’s growing up – my mother and I have always shared a love of ice cream.
What you’re trying to do differently: Our format is unique due to the fact that the product is portable (and more fun due to the customization aspect). We thought how cool would it be to retail it out of a mobile POPtruck and cater from POPup gelato bars at offices, catering halls, hotels, homes, and special events. Typically gelato and sorbet is smooth without a lot of chunks. I always loved having stuff inside my ice cream, so I really wanted to up the ante and add really high quality ingredients. By retailing the bars from a mobile unit rather than an expensive retail location, we are able to put our resources where they belong, in the ingredients, not the rent. This way everyone can afford to enjoy our bars.
Number of flavors: We have 100 in our library, however the POPtruck carries 15 to 20 at any one time. We release a few new flavors each season, as well as during National Ice Cream month in July.
Most popular flavors: Vanilla Bean, Mexican Chocolate Chipotle, Oreo Cookies, Pistachio, Gianduia, Lemon sorbet with fresh mint, Raspberry Lychee Sorbet, Passion Fruit sorbet and Blood Orange sorbet.
Favorite ingredients: Anything where I can experience sweet and savory when I am enjoying a bar.
Favorite flavor to eat: Pistachio gelato dipped in our signature semisweet chocolate Belgian dip and crushed pistachio pieces on top. This is called the Godfather, and I love it!!!
Favorite flavor to serve: Hot Tamale – Mexican chocolate chipotle gelato dipped in our signature semisweet chocolate Belgian dip and rolled in caramelized pecans…..OLÉ!!!
How often do you change flavors? We usually introduce holiday flavors and during national ice cream month in July we introduce two new flavors.
Weirdest flavor you’ve ever served: For an event in Miami called “El Main Evento” for Mexico’s Independence Day celebration, we did a sweet corn gelato that was half dipped in semisweet chocolate and topped with some kettle corn pieces. It was really good!!
How much product do you eat per week? At least 2 to 3 bars (or a lot of babyPOPs – they don’t make me feel as guilty). After three years I still really love our product.
Signature products: The fully customized gelato bar as well as our Frozen Hot Chocolate blended beverage.
Display case: ISA Gelato Show (it’s on the POPtruck).
Best compliment ever: When folks tell us that our bars are “heaven on a stick.”
Best part of the business: Seeing how happy our customers are when we are catering a special event for them or they are just enjoying one of our customized bars.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? My other passion is real estate – I would have a real estate investment company.
Motto: This is a happy business and it is our responsibility to make sure our customers are happy and satisified each time they come in contact with our company.
What’s next: We just completed our first international master franchise agreement for the rights to the UAE with “The Food Truck Company” in Dubai. I am currently assisting in the development of a 5000 square foot micro creamery there and building the first few POPtrucks here in Miami. I will travel to Dubai in August to assist in launching the brand there. HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars is currently the only mobile food brand anywhere in the world to have secured a deal in the UAE like this.
Owner: Robert Young4609 Convoy Street, Ste B, San Diego, CA 92129
858-216-1111 • www.iceskimo.com
Business profile: Iceskimo specializes in Taiwanese-inspired artisan shaved ice or snow. Natural flavors are infused into ice blocks and shaved using a custom machine to produce a refreshing treat lighter than ice cream and creamier than shaved ice.
How it all began: While growing up in Taiwan, shaved ice was always one of my favorite desserts. In late 2013, I spent a few months in Taiwan studying the craft and brought back a commercial shaver to experiment at home. During the summer of 2014, Iceskimo launched a pop-up shop at a local bakery in San Diego where the concept was tested and refined. Shortly after summer pop-up shop ended, we opened our first brick and mortar location at 4609 Convoy Street in San Diego.
What you’re trying to do differently: Iceskimo aims to differentiate itself and lead the market by offering the world’s most delicious snow in a fun, friendly, and thoughtfully designed space. We believe in the goodness of pure, simple foods and use only the finest ingredients to handcraft our snows. No powders. No syrups. No artificial sweeteners.
Number of flavors: 10-plus
Most popular flavors: Green Tea, Original Milk, Toasted Coconut and Salted Carmel
Favorite ingredients: Oolong tea leaves, black sesame, Meyer lemons and mangoes!
Favorite flavor to eat: Original milk, since it’s a flavor that can be enjoyed daily. It’s good with many toppings or even plain.
Favorite flavor to serve: Toasted coconut is our most creamy snow and has quickly become a fan favorite.
How often do you change flavors? Usually every one to two months, depending on the season.
Weirdest flavor combination: Someone thought it would be a good idea to interleave two flavors. We divided a block of Strawberry and a block of Nutella, combined opposite halves and put it on the shaver to achieve a deliciously impractical creation.
Signature products: Signature Mango (available in June) and Deconstructed Bubble Tea (oolong tea snow with honey boba, brown sugar syrup, and condensed milk)
Best compliment ever: “This is texturally confusing.. but I love it!”
Best part of the business: Happy customers.
What’s next: Gearing up for the summer and possibly launching a few new products.
Owner: Jet Tila3735 Spring Mountain Rd #206, Las Vegas, NV 89102
702-816-5862 • www.kumasnowcream.com
Twitter Handle: @kumasnowcream
Business profile: We specialize in snow cream, which tastes like ice cream but feels like eating snow.
How it all began: I love Taiwanese snow ice but felt it was too bland, so we created our own version.
What you’re trying to do differently: Our flavors are bold and more broadly appealing. Also we have a strong and fun memorable brand.
Number of flavors: Over 20 flavors.
Most popular flavors: Milk, Green Tea, Mango , Chocolate, Nutella.
Favorite ingredients: Mochi, Lychee and custard.
Favorite flavor to eat: I love the green tea combo called Bruce Tea.
How often do you change flavors? We always have a seasonal special like pumpkin spice, candy cane etc.
Weirdest flavor you’ve ever served: We created Redbull and it was well received.
Best compliment ever: “It’s addictive and satisfying but feels light!”
Best part of the business? Feeding the kids!
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Cheffing!
Motto: We have to be having fun!
What’s next: More stores!
Owner: Morgan MoranoMall at Chestnut Hill, 199 Bolyston Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467; 57 Main St #101, Hanover, NH 03755
347-210-4933 • www.moranogelato.com
Twitter Handle: @MoranoGelato
Business profile: Morano Gelato is a small New England-based company dedicated to promoting the art of gelato-making through its production of authentic Italian gelato in small, concentrated batches.
How it all began: I had always known I wanted to open my own dessert-related business. I lived in Italy on and off for six years during and after college and culinary school. It was there that I stumbled upon an amazing Sicilian gelato and pastry shop and developed a friendship with the owner. I worked for him one winter season and he taught me the art and tradition of gelatomaking. It completely resonated with me. I returned home and experimented with recipes, combining techniques I had learned making ice cream in pastry kitchens throughout New York City. In June 2010, Morano Gelato was born in Hanover, New Hampshire.
What you’re trying to do differently: We wake up early to start gelato production and finish in the afternoon so that each flavor is consumed within hours of its extraction from the machine. Our gelato is an extremely fresh product and we make it on-site every morning and aim to sell out every evening. This ensures the highest quality gelato for our customers and not many ice cream businesses (yet!) offer their products within hours of production. We take pride in our high standards and traditionalism during a time period where most gelato shops in this country are choosing to make familiar American flavors or looking to be edgy without fully understanding the science behind gelato-making. We believe it is our dedication to tradition, our extremely fresh gelato, and providing the best experience possible that ultimately distinguishes us from other gelato shops in America.
Number of flavors: In our Hanover, New Hampshire store we have 16 flavors that rotate daily displayed in the showcase. In our Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts location we have 12 flavors displayed that rotate daily. There are certain flavors that we make every day, such as Fior di Latte (“sweet milk”), Stracciatella (“chocolate chip”), Pistacchio, Nocciola (“hazelnut”), and Cioccolato (“chocolate”). We also make seasonal and holiday flavors. All in all, we have over 150 flavors that we make throughout the year and the number keeps growing as we are always looking to introduce new and traditional flavors.
Most popular flavors: Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cookie, Caramel (made with caramel from Red Kite Candy in Thetford, Vermont), Strawberry Sorbetto, and Lemon Sorbetto.
Favorite ingredients: Bronte Pistachios, Hazelnuts from Piedmont, Sweet Marsala Wine, and Red Kite Candy Caramel.
Favorite flavor to eat: Cassata (“Sicilian cake with candied fruit”) paired with Raspberry Sorbetto or Dark Chocolate.
Favorite flavor to serve: Any flavor! I love seeing the combination preferences of the customers.
How often do you change flavors? Every day.
Weirdest flavor you’ve served: We try to stick to traditional Italian flavors and some of them are, in fact, wild, such as Rose, Jasmine or Chocolate and Red Pepper, but we also use holidays as an excuse to make some fun flavors. We make Brigadeiro gelato (Brazilian chocolate candy) using amazing brigadeiros from My Brigadeiro in Hanover, New Hampshire. We also have made a popcorn gelato on Halloween, a maple and bacon gelato on Father’s Day along with a stout gelato. We make a doughnut gelato on the 4th of July which always gets mixed responses from customers. All of our creations are generally always served to customers. They are the best tasters and will ultimately determine if we should make the flavor again.
How much product do you eat? I’m constantly sampling to ensure quality. It probably adds up to a large cup a day.
Signature products: Anything gelato-related. Everything else offered in the shop is an accessory to the gelato. We’re well known for our espresso, made with King’s Row Coffee’s espresso blend, and customers love getting an “affogato” – a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of gelato. During the winter, we also have a strong following for our Italian hot chocolate.
Display case: Oscartielle, Ventura model.
Best compliment ever: When well-established chefs that I deeply respect truly enjoy my gelato, it’s a huge compliment.
Best part of the business: Watching the excitement of customers as they enter the door and see the gelato flavors displayed. I wanted to capture the same feelings I had when I walked through the streets of Florence viewing into all of the pastry shops and cafes. That, and seeing customers enjoy the gelato.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I would be making and selling another form of dessert.
Motto: To offer customers the freshest, highest quality, and smoothest gelato we can create along with a great experience. Gelato is still new to many in America and we believe it’s as much of an educational process as it is an eating process.
What’s next: We’ve recently expanded to our second location in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. We hope to open more shops in the near future in a quality-focused expansion model throughout New England and beyond.
Owner: Biagio Settepani, C.M.B.1650 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10305
718-987-5859 • www.PasticceriaBruno.com
Business profile: In my opinion, my business is a very unique one. It’s the only one in NYC where you can enjoy top quality pastries, food and, of course, frozen desserts.
How did you get into the frozen dessert business? Since I purchased Bruno Bakery in Greenwich Village in 1981, we have given our clientele a great variety of frozen desserts, from Italian granitas, to gelato, to frozen gelato cakes and semifreddos.
What you’re trying to do differently: To offer our customers new ideas and flavors on a constant basis.
Number of flavors: We are currently offering 18 different flavors – 12 gelati and six sorbets.
Most popular flavors: The most popular flavors are always the classic ones – Pistachio, Chocolate and Vanilla.
Favorite ingredients: My favorite ingredient is chocolate. It give us many alternative ways to use it.
Favorite flavor to eat: Pistachio
Favorite flavor to serve: One of my favorite flavors to serve is our Popcorn gelato. People are always skeptical about it, but when they taste it, their facial expressions are priceless.
How often do you change flavors? We offer a flavor of the week and in the summertime we serve some flavors that are more adequate for the season. For example, a popular one for that season is Watermelon gelato.
Weirdest flavor you’ve served: I’m more of a traditionalist, so crazy flavors do not go well with me. This past week we served a Tabasco sorbet for a special event that we did at the restaurant, and I will say that that was the weirdest flavor that we have had, but it was well received by our guests.
How much product do you eat per week? I do not eat too much product, but I do a lot of quality tasting every day to ensure that our products are up to par each day.
Signature product: Our signature product is our gelato cake. One of the best sellers is our Red Velvet and Cream Cheese gelato cake.
Display case: Our showcase is from GTI Designs and is a Glabo case.
Best compliment ever: The best compliment I’ve every received was that our product tasted better than the ones in Italy.
Best part of the business: Making the product – it allows us to be creative everyday and to satisfy the palates of our customers.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I’m not sure what I would be doing if not making frozen desserts. Remember, I was born in Italy and gelato is in my blood. It is our culture.
Motto: Our motto is and always will be, ‘Set the standards, improve each day and deliver excellence’.
What’s next: I’ve always dreamed of owning my own little gelato cart.
Owners: Drew Honness and Ross Cohen637 Front St., Louisville CO 80027
2628 Broadway, Boulder CO 80304
699 S. Broadway, Boulder CO 80305
3475. W 32nd Ave., Denver CO 80210
303-666-4269 (Louisville shop) • www.sweetcowicecream.com
Twitter Handle: @thesweetcow
Questions answered by Drew Honness
Business Profile: Sweet cow is about great tasting ice cream, made small-batch, with love and some of the finest and locally sourced ingredients around. We create ice cream that is hand crafted on site and served fresh daily. Expanding on the normal parameters of milk, cream, and sugar is what propels our recipe book to be the finest.
How it all began: I was a college student at the University of Colorado (1992-1997), and I scooped ice cream at a local ice cream shop across from campus. I fell in love with the job, atmosphere, and the ice cream. I knew I wanted to be in ice cream back then. When I graduated, I ran the company for seven years, learning the ins and outs of the ice cream business.
What you’re trying to do differently: It’s about the freshest ingredients, trying to source locally, natural extracts, and product served with the friendliest scoopers, in the cleanest ice cream shop on the planet. We are very green (even though our mint chocolate chip is not). All of our cups, spoons, straws and lids are compostable and our boxes and bags and large to-go containers are recyclable. Very proud of that.
Number of flavors: 135 in the recipe book and 24 displayed daily on the flavor board.
Most popular flavors: Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Almond Joy, and Peanut Butter Brownie.
Favorite ingredients: Our natural extracts. We don’t use artificial flavorings or add color. We source locally. We get our coffee beans locally, roasted fresh ground, then steep them in milk and cream for 18 hours (strain and toddy), then make our delicious OZO coffee ice cream.
Favorite flavor to eat: Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Almond, and Honey Maple Grapenut are top three to eat.
Favorite flavor to serve: Cookies and Cream to serve, ‘cause it’s the bomb and not like anyone else’s Cookies and Cream. We add the Oreos three different times when making (the beginning middle and the end). Every bite tastes like an Oreo cookie.
How often do you change flavors? Nine staples stay on the board each day, four sorbets rotate every three weeks, and the other 11 rotate every 15 to 17 days. Each flavor is under a category (nuts, fruit, alcohol, cereal, chocolate, candy/cookie, etc….)
Weirdest flavors you’ve ever served: Bourbon Corn Flake, Maple Bacon, and Sweet Corn. Our customers loved them – BCF is the bomb!
How much product do you eat? I eat a single scoop a day. Ross [Cohen] can and probably does eat two scoops.
Signature products: Our ice cream in a cone, our ice cream cakes (a layer of moist cake and our delicious ice cream), Ice Cream Sammies (two fresh baked cookies with our ice cream in between) and our Root Beer Float (the root beer is brewed locally and is on tap).
Display case: The best – C. Nelson.
Best compliments: “It tastes great” and “The best ever” – those are the top two.
Best part of the business: The smiles we see every day. The people we get to work alongside each day. The neighborhood and families that support us and allow us to be part of the fabric of each community that we are present in.
If you weren’t making ice cream, what would you be doing? Possibly teaching.
Motto: ‘It’s simply Moolicious.’
What’s next: Opening two shops in 2015 and two more in 2016. Hiring the best employees and growing the foundation of our brand. Scooping up more smiles daily.
Owners: Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger4516 Mission Blvd, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92109
858-886-7433 • www.thebakedbear.com
Twitter Handle: @ThebakedbearSD
Business profile: The Baked Bear specializes in custom ice cream sandwiches where you can mix and match your top and bottom with any of the nine cookie flavors, brownies or donuts, and then choose your ice cream in the middle.
How it all began: We opened our first store in Pacific Beach about two years ago. My business partner and I wanted to create a unique restaurant concept that people really got excited about.
What you’re trying to do differently: We’re trying to put a unique spin on a timeless dessert, ice cream sandwiches, with literally thousands of combinations to choose from.
Number of flavors: Nine cookie flavors, brownies, donuts, and 12 ice cream flavors
Most popular flavors: Chocolate Chip with Cookies ‘n Cream; Brownies with Mint Chip; Funfetti with Cookie Dough
Favorite flavor to eat: The Baked Bear Combo: Half Cookies ‘n Cream cookie and half Brownie with Mint Chip ice cream
Favorite flavor to serve: Donut Sandwich
How often do you change flavors? We have a seasonal cookie that we change every other month.
Weirdest flavor you’ve served: Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
How much product do you eat? One sandwich per week
Signature products: The Baked Bear Combo – half cookie, half brownie sandwich; The Bear Bowl – A warm chocolate chip cookie pie with any scoop of ice cream on top.
Display case: Custom
Best compliment ever: “The best ice cream sandwich ever!”
Best part of the business: Bringing happiness to our customers.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? A different restaurant concept, maybe fine dining.
What’s next: We have sold five franchise stores and plan to be a national franchise within the next five years.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded their eponymous ice cream company, they had no idea that one day they would be considered pioneers in the American culinary revolution. Their hippie-inspired mission paved the way for today’s hipster-fueled, story-driven, artisan food craze. It all started in 1978 with a five dollar ice cream correspondence course from Penn State University and a twelve thousand dollar investment. From its humble beginning in a renovated gas station in Burlington, VT, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream has become an international consumer brand with a legendary reputation for innovation and charitable involvement. We are proud to induct Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield into the Dessert Professional Hall Of Fame. www.benjerry.com