Even as we bemoan the end of the official ice cream season (though as any six-year-old knows, ice cream has no season), Lisa Eisen and Prairie Rose Free are giving us reason to look forward to next summer. That’s when the pair are planning to open the Old-Fashioned, an ice cream parlor and cocktail lounge in Ditmas Park.
Eisen, a private chef and caterer, and Free, an event planner and magazine marketing vet, were inspired to open an ice cream parlor after moving to Ditmas Park. Struck by their new neighborhood’s “small-town homey-ness” and noticing that the bars were often populated by parents with toddlers and babies, the two, Eisen writes over e-mail, brainstormed “ways in which we could meet the needs of this growing, cozy community.”
Brainstorming begat the concept of an ice cream parlor-cum-bar. Although it may sound a bit unorthodox — the “something for the whole family” approach notwithstanding — Eisen explains that the idea of serving ice cream and booze together “was actually a natural conclusion…given our predilection for both products, a perceived need in our neighborhood, and, most of all, the recent leanings of small batch, chef-made craftsmanship in both categories.” Serving both will allow Eisen and Rose to work with local breweries and wineries and small-batch distilleries, and to incorporate some of those products into their ice cream.
As for the ice cream itself, Eisen describes it as “chefy,” meaning that she approaches it with the same concern for balance, texture, and natural flavor as she does any other food. And it also means that she uses organic dairy and eggs and, yes, local and sustainably produced ingredients.
Eisen and Free plan to offer eight rotating flavors every day. They’ll serve two to three traditional flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and mint chip, one seasonal sorbet, two premium flavors, one cocktail flavor, and one “restricted diet” flavor that will be dairy- or gluten-free. Their signature flavor, the Old-Fashioned, will riff on the actual cocktail, and include bourbon, cherries, and orange.
Free and Eisen are still researching producers and suppliers, but, Eisen writes, “want to emphasize the local as much as possible, as a continued commitment to community, both micro and macro…Old World style Rieslings from the Finger Lakes? Vodka made from Long Island potatoes? Coffee roasted in our own borough?? We’re in!”
The two are currently busy looking for funding, applying for licenses, and scouting a space. Although they’re determined to open in Ditmas Park, they haven’t ruled out other nearby neighborhoods. The Old-Fashioned should open its doors by next May; if all goes well, parents and children in the area can look forward to spending the summer months in a buzzed and lactose-addled state. Respectively, of course.
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