The ice cream at Alphabet Scoop is refreshing in more ways than one: Managed by Robbie Vedral, Alphabet Scoop is an extension of Father’s Heart Ministry, which has been focused on empowering the neighborhood youth in the Lower East Side since 2005. Robbie, for his part, has always believed that if you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of you—in this case, those employees just so happen to be high schoolers from the East Village. Under the wishes of his parents, who are still pastors of the church next door, Robbie has taken it upon himself to hold Alphabet Scoop to an uncompromising standard, always ensuring that things are done right. From a background of 25 years in retail, Robbie has found that he can learn from anyone’s mistakes - including his own. He has, in this vein, adjusted the shop’s schedule to keep it open all year; previously it was just a summer stop, but Robbie found that being a seasonal location made it more difficult for customers to anticipate when Alphabet Scoop would be in business. So, now, rather than seasonal hours, Alphabet Scoop boasts seasonal flavors. Pistachio flavor, a summer 2019 special, comes highly recommended by the Manhattan Sideways team. Alphabet Scoop is also constantly experimenting with new flavors suggested to them by customers, so if you’ve been saving up that million-dollar ice cream flavor idea, Alphabet Scoop might just be the place to make it a reality. The “sweet n’ salty” flavor is proof of the potential here, as it was suggested by one of the shop’s younger customers. While the spritely New Yorkers that work in the shop are paid for their work, Alphabet Scoop is also a non-profit. The mission, transparently, is as stated on the walls: “Justice & Sprinkles for all. ” The kids, typically between the ages of 14 and 16, learn all aspects of the business, from hands on skills such as making ice cream to managerial skills like taking inventory. The goal of Alphabet Scoop is to encourage maximum involvement from its employees, so they are invited to help make decisions about the business. Robbie told us a story of a young woman, for example, who has worked in the shop for close to two years, and who was initially quite difficult to work with - but with patience and persistence from Robbie and other employees, the young woman grew to better understand the mission of Alphabet Scoop, and now even has keys to the shop. Robbie’s work at Alphabet Scoop shows the importance of creating strong foundations for young people, as well as how truly influential small businesses can be in their communities. Stop by the shop - any time of year - to help Robbie make his impact.
What started out as a couple of ice cream trucks in 2008, has since become a beloved collection of shops throughout Brooklyn and New York City. Van Leeuwen offers delicious fresh milk ice cream and vegan options made with only “coconut and cashew milk, raw cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, and organic sugar cane. ” These artisanal ice cream makers are extremely concerned with the quality of their product and the source of their ingredients - their vanilla flavor comes from organic bourban and Tahitian vanilla orchids, and their chocolate from a family-run French company concerned with quality and free trade practices, Michele Cluizel Chocolate. Van Leeuwen also offers sophisticated flavors like ginger, sweet sticky black rice, earl grey tea, Ceylon cinnamon, and salted caramel with buffalo trace bourbon. This is a must try ice cream spot for vegans, dairy-lovers, and everyone else.
Chloe Epstein has always had a sweet tooth, but when her children were born, she began to question the artificial ingredients used in her favorite treat: frozen yogurt. Michael Sloan, a childhood friend of her husband, had a similar problem: a triathlete, he ate frozen bananas because he could not find any other healthy dessert options. Together, they decided to invent their own frozen treat, and after a bit of experimenting, Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit was born. When I first visited Chloe’s, I was amazed to learn that their soft serve fruit is made with only three ingredients: fruit, water, and cane sugar. In fact, the soft serve fruit was so smooth and creamy that I could not believe it was vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Some of Chloe’s soft serve fruit varieties - including my favorites, mango and dark chocolate - are available year-round, and one can taste the fresh fruit in every bite. Others, like the tart and refreshing summer plum, change seasonally. Chloe and Michael wanted to foster an environment where parents could feel comfortable letting their children order anything on the menu, and as a result, the toppings at Chloe’s - fresh fruit from the Union Square Greenmarket, gluten-free cookies, and many more - are healthy, safe and non-GMO. But in spite of Chloe’s emphasis on clean and simple food, soft serve fruit can also be an indulgence - take the Crunchy Salty Sundae, for instance. This delightful swirl of banana and dark chocolate soft serve is topped with bananas, dark chocolate chips, natural peanut butter, warm dark chocolate sauce, and pretzels. I was told that it continues to be one of Chloe’s best-selling menu items. On my most recent walk on 17th Street, I was excited to learn that Chloe’s had recently expanded their menu to include slushies, smoothies, and even breakfast. The Green Machine smoothie, a healthy mixture of mango and banana soft serve fruit, spinach, kale, pineapple, and almond milk, is perfect for athletes; another staple is the PBJC smoothie, made with banana soft serve fruit, strawberries, warm natural peanut butter, and chocolate chips. While I did not get to sample the acai bowl, which looked delicious, I very much enjoyed the waffle breakfast - a hot, vegan waffle made in-house and topped with a swirl of soft serve fruit, fresh fruit, and other goodies. While speaking with Michael during the summer of 2015, I learned that in addition to Chloe’s soft serve fruit truck in Montauk, the company is now expanding throughout the country. Their soft serve fruit pops, which are sixty calories each, are sold nationwide in a variety of grocery stores. And, in place of traditional soft serve machines, Chloe’s machines and branded freezers can now be found in colleges, entertainment centers, and retail locations throughout the United States. Because it is free of all eight major allergens, Chloe’s has been life-changing for people with dietary restrictions. But soft serve fruit also appeals to people from all walks of life, from athletes looking for post-workout protein to moms like Chloe, who want to avoid the additives and preservatives found in so many desserts. Young professionals and tourists also make up a large part of Chloe’s customer base, and now that the business is expanding, its reputation is growing. As Michael likes to say, “Soft serve fruit is amazing and delicious… and also healthy. ”
While walking along 55th Street, a bright pink and white awning caught my attention. The entrance beneath the canopy was marked with a sign that said “A La Mode” with the 'A's and 'O' stacked like ice cream scoops. Inside was a cute handmade ice cream shop that could be the setting of an Eloise story. Catering to those with nut and dairy allergies, A La Mode is also a quaint, yet spacious boutique that sells children’s clothes, shoes, and toys. Additionally, the ice cream store hosts storytelling and seasonal arts and crafts events throughout the year. “We just always loved the space and so we decided to finally buy it and make A La Mode! ” said Sandy Roth, the California children’s clothing designer who founded A La Mode in 2015. The A La Mode team is also composed of her husband Marc and friend Marie Ann, both of whom are equally devoted to the business and love the work they do. The handmade, nut-free ice cream is created by Marc, who trained at the Ice Cream university in Switzerland. The Manhattan Sideways Team was given a chance to sample a few of his innovative flavors, including bubble gum and vanilla pretzel crunch. There are also always three dairy-free flavors available: chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating third flavor. A la Mode has various ice cream sizes, including a little three-inch scoop for $1. 50 that is perfect for toddlers. “It’s great to experiment with the flavors. When seasons come around we try to change it up, ” Marc told me, adding, “Right now Salted Caramel is one of our big sellers. ” A La Mode also distributes its ice cream to local ice cream stores and supermarkets. The family friendly location and the nearby schools have given A La Mode a lot of successful business, to the point where no advertisement was needed. Their events during after-school hours include music events in collaboration with ABC Do-Re-Me!, a program that provides music classes that kids and parents can both enjoy. Sandy has become a recognizable neighborhood face, to the point where young children see her on the street and say, "That's the ice cream girl! " “We have a lot of after-school rush, and its great because they can also see that we also do events and not just ice cream, ” she pointed out. She hopes that A La Mode will eventually expand, maybe even to California, where she still spends time working. “I will be living in Texas soon, ” says Marie Ann, “But I will be still involved. Maybe we can open a location there too! ” Their future plans look bright and cheery, just like their store.
Attention to those who are over twenty-one - Tipsy Scoop has found a winning combination using two of everyone's favorite indulgences: ice cream and alcohol. The “barlour” is the creation of young ice cream aficionado Melissa Tavvs, who has the frozen dessert running through her blood. Her great grandfather was known for bringing gelato from Italy, his home country, to Scotland. He was also a member of the Ice Cream Alliance. In addition to this legacy, Melissa has a background in wine and spirits. Why not bring the two together? Growing up in the industry, Melissa learned that alcohol is sometimes used to soften ice cream, and thought that it might be fun to combine her personal passion with her family’s and make an ice cream product with an significant alcohol content. After perfecting the freezing process and secret recipe, Tipsy Scoop was born. Each of the brand's flavors has a 5% alcohol content. The company began to take shape in 2013 in the Hot Bread Kitchen commercial space in Harlem, largely focusing on small batch production and catering for groups like Louis Vuitton and Bloomingdales. Their storefront opened in May of 2017 and has been met with tremendous buzz and success. The shop often has a line out the door. The charming shop is complete with exposed brick and neon signs and is a delightful addition to the quiet neighborhood where Melissa, herself, lives. Manhattan Sideways sampled numerous flavors including our favorite, dark chocolate whiskey with salted caramel. In addition, we enjoyed the vanilla bean bourbon, maple bacon bourbon, and chocolate stout and pretzel. We found the mango margarita and strawberry white sangria sorbets to be perfect for the hot summer day on which we stopped in, and we were pleased to learn that all of the Tipsy Scoop flavors are available by the pint and in customizable cakes.
Unlike the bustling tourist hubs of Times Square and Rockefeller Center, Ben & Jerry’s new Hell’s Kitchen location aspires to be a genuine gathering spot for the local community. James Healy and Jason Wade Mann, recognizing the neighborhood’s adoration for ice cream and the absence of dedicated parlors, seized the opportunity to bring the company’s tantalizing delights directly to the locals — and their aim is to foster a sense of unity and camaraderie within Hell’s Kitchen too. Ben & Jerry’s is committed to helping social and environmental causes, with a portion of the proceeds from each scoop going to charitable initiatives that make a positive impact on communities. In their Hell’s Kitchen location, they will collaborate with the Litter Legion for an upcoming “Treats for Trash” event, encouraging community members to join in cleanup activities by offering delicious ice cream as rewards. Faced with the challenge of a modest 200-square-foot space, the team behind the Scoop Shop remained determined to create a unique and unforgettable experience. The interior captures the very essence of Ben & Jerry’s, with marble countertops and an elevated tie-dye aesthetic. The exterior boasts a vibrant blue awning proudly displaying the words “Peace, Love, and Cream, ” accompanied by a striking mural of Woody the cow and featuring the PRIDE flag — a reminder that love transcends all flavors. The Scoop Shop will also offer outdoor seating, featuring alternating blue and green tables paired with mismatched chairs. Around 20 flavors of ice cream will be on offer from Ben & Jerry’s extensive repertoire, from timeless favorites like Chunky Monkey and Phish Food to seasonal delights. In addition to sundaes, shakes and cakes the Scoop Shop will offer pints for purchase, allowing patrons to savor their preferred flavors at home. This story was adapted from the W42ST article, "Here’s The Scoop! Ben & Jerry’s to Sweeten Hell’s Kitchen. "
Walking past the window of what was once an ice cream shop, I spotted a gentleman atop a ladder and decided to step inside to find out what was happening next. As Murat Yimaz descended the steps to greet me, he revealed that he was readying the space for the imminent unveiling of what was now going to be The Jolly Goat, a coffee shop that would also still be serving ice cream. Though he was born in Germany, Murat has been stateside for a good part of his life. He originally worked in a PR firm, but when the recession hit in 2008, the company closed and he took on freelance jobs. Since he no longer had an office, Murat often found himself camping out at coffee shops while he worked. After countless hours spent sitting at various cafés and sipping on cups of coffee, he decided to drop his PR work altogether and open his own place. Encouraged and advised by a friend who has a coffee spot in Brooklyn, Murat traveled throughout the city talking to vendors and becoming well-educated in the world of the coffee business. When the time came to name his store, Murat decided to embrace the genesis of coffee – the story of Kaldi, the Ethiopian goat herder. "As the legend goes, " Murat explained in a short version, "Kaldi realized that his goats would often become very excited and jolly after eating the coffee beans. The goat herder then decided to try and make a drink from the beans and, thus, coffee was born. "Now open - in the summer of 2014 - The Jolly Goat is serving Stumptown Coffee, Melt and Blue Marble's ice creams, freshly baked pastries and Davidovich's artisan bagels. On a Sunday afternoon, there was a line out the door with enthusiastic neighbors who told me that they are thrilled to have Murat and his excellent coffee shop nearby. When I was able to grab a moment to speak to Murat, he told me that the most popular item that he offers has been his cold-brewed coffee. He explained to me that this method uses cold water instead of hot and that the coffee is allowed to brew for up to eighteen hours. He went on to say that cold-brewing yields a highly caffeinated beverage, and at the Jolly Goat, they like to serve it on tap.
Van Leeuwen began as just a couple of ice cream trucks back in 2008. A few years later, they opened their first brick-and-mortar store on 7th Street and have since gone on to add other permanent shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Owners Ben, Pete, and Laura and their team are extremely concerned with the quality of their product and whence they source ingredients. The vanilla flavor comes from organic bourbon and Tahitian vanilla orchids, and the chocolate comes from a family-run French company with free trade practices, Michele Cluizel Chocolate. Van Leeuwen also offers sophisticated flavors like sweet sticky black rice, earl grey tea, Ceylon cinnamon, and salted caramel with buffalo trace bourbon. When I visited in the summer of 2016, the two trending Van Leeuwen flavors were honeycomb and ginger, but, as Van Leeuwen is always adding new specialty flavors, I am sure that the favorites change quite often. Among the recently added at the time were chocolate banana cream pie and Mexican chocolate birthday cake. Though veganism seems to be a bit of trend, especially with the Vegolution, it has limitations in the ice cream community - but not at Van Leeuwen. Their vegan options are made with only “coconut and cashew milk, raw cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, and organic sugar cane. ” For many years, the shop has offered vegan scoops in flavors ranging from chocolate chip cookie dough to matcha green tea. “People appreciate that we have it, ” explained an employee, “and they are just as popular as the others. ”