Enjoying ice cream is an American pastime, but several New York City ice cream shops are making the frozen delicacy even more entertaining, with unique ice cream flavors and experiential ways of creating the sweet treat. Check out these five must-see NYC establishments.
To reach 10 Below‘s basement storefront location in Chinatown, you’ll have to look hard at the addresses—or maybe not. You’ll probably see a line snaking up the stairs leading to the street. Thailand isn’t known for its ice cream shops, but given this fun ice-cream-making technique, it soon will be.
Enter the small subterranean store and pay for your concoction: maybe it’s key lime pie, made with fresh lime and graham crackers, or maybe it’s the I Love You a Latte, with coffee and chocolate chips. The ice cream is made to order, with a liquid-cream base and mix-ins. When it’s your turn, the maker holds your cup up, and you wiggle your way to the window, where you get your camera out and watch the skilled confectioner pour the base and ingredients onto a cold metal plate, constantly chopping and mixing with a spatula. The mixture is then smoothed out in a circle, and rolled up into scrolls for placement in your cup.
As New York City’s only place to make custom ice cream, you and your kids will go wild with fun at Cool Mess. Head to this Upper East Side shop, which has ice cream makers on every table. You and your kiddos can choose your chocolate or vanilla base, a baked item like a brownie, and several toppings from a long list that includes cookie dough, gummy bears, chocolate pretzels, and caramel sauce.
If your attention span is short, no worries: the frozen concoction will be done in just eight minutes. Fill up in the store or bring your special ice cream home. With ice cream shops like this, who needs amusement parks?
If you prefer your ice cream served in a restaurant after a good meal, head to Junoon. Following a lip-smacking dining experience at this upscale Indian restaurant, you’ll want to order kulfi, Indian ice cream. At Junoon, the unique ice cream flavors are seasonal, and the treats are shaped into geometric cubes. You might order cardamom, mango with mint, or paan kulfi, which is made with zippy betel leaf.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
The Lower East Side is known for welcoming international visitors, so it seems appropriate to head down to Il Laboratoria del Gelato for a taste of an Italian delicacy. Line up outside for gelato-to-go while wandering the neighborhood, or mosey inside and look through the freezer cases containing 48 mouthwatering flavors to choose from.
Also, make sure to have a peek at the very sciency-looking lab behind the establishment’s counter. If you want to experience creative gelato flavors, try the eggnog, fig, cheddar cheese, or marscapone. In the mood for sorbet? How about honeycrisp apple, lemon basil, or tangerine?
Davey’s Ice Cream
Walk into the exposed brick East Village ice cream shop, and you’ll be drooling at first sight of the menu, which may include strong coffee ice cream that actually gives you a good caffeine buzz. Davey’s is known for unique ice cream flavors, some of which might have chocolate-glazed bacon in the mix, or even brioche French toast pieces. The crafty ice cream creators are often dishing out cones and cups until midnight, and they have seating inside—so what are you waiting for?