Months ago, when we spoke with Ample Hills owner and ice cream maker Brian Smith about the history and future of his Prospect Heights parlor, his reason for expanding into Gowanus was pretty simple: “We can’t make enough ice cream,” he told us. “In the summertime, we make 500 gallons a week of ice cream” in a tiny 150-square-foot space.
So he and his wife Jackie Cuscuna signed a lease for a bi-level, 3,600-square-foot shop in Gowanus, and they’ve been building out a mega parlor there for months. Smith had hoped to open in May, one month after his cookbook came out and three years after his first shop debuted. It wasn’t to be, though: the Gowanus location of Ample Hills (305 Nevins Street, 347-725-4061) starts scooping today.
The new location continues the original Ample Hills practice of making ice cream from scratch on premises (that’s what makes it a dairy; most ice cream shops ship the frozen treat in from a factory somewhere). It’ll serve 24 flavors at a time, and if you’re one of the people who obsesses over salted crack caramel, you’ll be happy to know you’ll find it here, too.
The Gowanus address makes more seating possible, too, part of Smith and Cuscuna’s goal to make the shop a meeting place in the neighborhood, and they’ve added a play area plus a roof deck, too. They’ve built some additional private party space, as well, where they’ll also be able to host classes.
Murals on the walls here depict characters that wander the pages of the cookbook, and you can catch a glimpse of the Ample Hills ice cream makers at work while you’re here, too: The seating area peers into the production facility, as does a a window from the street.
As Smith told us back in March, the Gowanus location will also fuel pushcarts and, potentially, a limited retail run of ice cream available locally. The Prospect Heights shop will continue to scoop and serve, and it’ll keep its production gear running, mixing up unique flavors for the neighborhood.
The Gowanus store is open Sunday through Thursday from noon until 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon until midnight.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 15, 2014