Despite all of the ice cream trucks and frozen yogurt shops in New York City, high quality homemade ice cream is surprisingly hard to find. David Yoo, owner of Davey’s Ice Cream Shop, recognized this as an opportunity and decided to open his own high quality ice cream store in the East Village. Despite several delays that derailed the shop’s planned debut in June, its grand opening was held on September 13th and it drew in some impressive crowds. Yoo has yet to reach Dominique Ansel status in terms of hype or stardom, but his shop’s early popularity and great ice cream are signs of good things to come for his new venture.
Following a model similar to that of nearby Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Davey’s offers a limited menu with only five carefully crafted flavors. Yoo and his staff are so proud of their product that they actually encourage customers to try each flavor before ordering. This might seem like a great opportunity to grab a free treat, but after trying the flavors it is nearly impossible to leave without having at least one scoop.
There are several standouts amongst the current flavors at Davey’s, but with ice cream this good there really is no wrong choice. Of the five flavors, the least impressive is the watermelon and black pepper sorbet. It is sweet with a slight kick from the pepper, but it ultimately does not have the same rich quality as the other four options. The Mexican vanilla ice cream – made with fresh vanilla beans imported from Mexico – is infinitely better than most vanilla ice creams, but it pales in comparison to flavors such as the “chocolate chocolate” and “strong coffee”. Yoo’s chocolate ice cream tastes like real chocolate with a sweet, rich flavor that is perfectly balanced in every bite. The chocolate is sure to be a crowd pleaser, but Yoo’s take on coffee ice cream may very well be the shop’s best choice. Davey’s uses premium coffee from local purveyor and retailer Birch Coffee, and the high quality is evident in every bite. The fifth flavor, roasted pistachio, is made with real pistachios and tastes fresh, creamy and natural. While all five options are seemingly delicious, the chocolate and coffee steal the show with their classic, yet rich flavor.
Davey’s takes every element of the ice cream business seriously. Not only do they make their own ice cream, but they also make their own sauces (hot fudge and salted caramel) and sell freshly baked brownies. Both sauces are terrific on any of the ice cream flavors (the Strong Coffee with hot fudge is a great combination) and are also used in the ice cream sundaes.
While Davey’s Ice Cream is still in the midst of its make-or-break phase, all early indicators suggest that it is going to be a big hit. Less than two weeks after its grand opening, critics and consumers have caught on to the news of great things coming out of this unassuming sweet shop on First Ave. Ice cream fans and dessert aficionados should get there while they can before the crowds start to build.
Location: 137 1st Avenue (between E 9th and St. Marks)
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thur: 1pm-11pm, Fri: 1pm-12am, Sat: 12pm-12am, Sun: 12pm-11pm