Five New DC Area Ice Cream Shops Worth Avoiding

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Ice cream has always been the perfect comfort food, especially during the isolation of recent years. It’s also brought people together, whether it’s bumping into a neighbor while grabbing a pint to go or sitting down with a friend and eating a cold scoop atop a crunchy cone.

“Ice cream is something that everyone who lives here loves,” said Charles Foreman, the owner of Everyday Sundae in Petworth, one of the few frozen food suppliers in the DC area that got their start during the pandemic. Through small flavors, boozy pints, or a taste of other cultures, these new ice cream parlors have each sweetened their community in their own way.

Foreman opened Everyday Sundae on Kennedy Street NW in July 2021, hoping to make it a local fixture. Foreman, who has lived in Petworth for 20 years and is the father of two sons, was fired from his job as a corporate chef during the pandemic. He thought a family-friendly scoop was just what his neighborhood was missing.

“I want to make an impact in my community,” Foreman says. “Treat people like family and remember them.” His company’s slogan is ‘A place for community’.

In less than a year, Everyday Sundae has gained a loyal following: patrons come in looking for a favorite flavor, drawings and maps of neighborhood kids hang on the walls, and one customer even buys his paper napkins there to help the store. Foreman has hosted kids from a nearby daycare center to read a storybook, followed by sweet treats, and next month he’s hosting a free end-of-school movie night in a parking lot across the street, with plans “to serve ice cream and popcorn until dinner.” it’s up.”

At any given time, his shop offers 24 flavors from a rotating list of about 50 refreshing yet familiar versions of classic flavors, such as rich dark chocolate hazelnut fudge, cappuccino crunch, bourbon truffle with brown butter, and black cherry. Servings are generous: A “single” serving contains three scoops, which can be of three different flavors (a “double” includes six).

Foreman gets his dense, satisfying ice cream from a producer in Pennsylvania, but the career chef keeps his hand in the mix by making vanilla-infused waffles on the spot, and on Wednesdays, Belgian waffles are served à la mode and with toppings. In good weather, customers can grab one of the two sidewalk tables shared with Anxo cidery next door.

Scoops $3.50-$5.95; half pints $6.50. 713 Kennedy St NW. Open Tuesday to Sunday.† — VHL

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Ben Brunner had “always delved” into ice cream in restaurant kitchens, but never really focused on it until Komi — the Michelin-starred Greek restaurant where he’d worked for ten years — closed during the pandemic and reopened as a casual takeaway Happy Gyro. , which led Brunner to switch as well. Now, as the creator of sister brand Happy Ice Cream, he creates elaborate flavors to match his background as a pastry chef.

Happy’s ice cream combines multiple elements, all of which Brunner makes by hand, such as a recent offering with Valrhona dark chocolate ice cream; pieces of chocolate shortbread; and candied tangerines, a tart-sweet cross between tangerines and kumquats. Some flavors recreate beloved desserts, including the popular oatmeal cookie, which features cookie pieces, chocolate chips and a hint of cinnamon, and a Key lime pie frozen yogurt with graham cracker crumble. Flavors change regularly, partly based on seasonal ingredients such as fruit.

Brunner says he’s “trying to create a sense of nostalgia for people, like when you taste a flavor, it just kind of brings you back a little bit.” The wonderfully crunchy honey stracciatella and cashew brittle even uses its great-grandmother’s honey brittle recipe.

To-go pints are packed with alternating layers of ice cream and toppings, to bring all the components into every bite. A sidewalk cart on 17th Street NW offers four flavors at once (posted daily to Instagram @happyicecreamdc), served in tasty waffle cones made with caramelized honey and sourdough. Brunner often does the shoveling himself and says he appreciates the change from long hours behind the scenes in Komi kitchen: “It’s great to see people’s faces and reactions when they taste something right away.”

Scoops $6-$8; pints to go $15. Cart stationed at 1509 17th St. NW. Open from Tuesday to Saturday (depending on the weather).† — VHL

Mimi’s handmade ice cream

Rollin Amore’s interest in food dates back to his childhood in Germany. When he was 7, his mother lay sick in bed for months. “Every night she would tell me how to cook from her bed,” he recalls. “That’s how I started cooking.”

Years later, he transitioned from a banking career spanning three decades and opened Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream in Arlington’s Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) in December 2021. “My whole career [in investing] was traveling — through Europe, where I have family, or through Asia, where I worked,” says Amore. “I loved bringing back flavor ideas and using them in cooking.” His travels provide the constantly changing menu of ice creams and sorbets in his bright shop, named after his youngest daughter, where Amore has been making small batches from scratch.

Keyed lime combines juice of key limes with chunks of house-made toffee with pistachio batter, while the intense taste of snow ginger is fresh, peppery, sweet and cooling. Amore peels 1½ pounds of raw pistachios by hand to flavor five quarts of ice cream, and he roasts beets to bring out their sweetness for the beet ice cream. Apple pie ice cream contains Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter, all of which Amore cooks before adding milk and cream.

Any of the flavors can be incorporated into made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. Mimi’s also offers “pup cups” (ice cream for dogs). Amore’s goal is to create ice creams that “satisfy the kid in all of us,” and his fun treats do just that.

Scoops from $5.79. 1201 S Joyce St, Arlington. Open daily.† — SFF

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In early 2020, Chelsea and Drew Xeron planned to open a gelato counter at Studio 52, their Ivy City event space, to take advantage of the increasing foot traffic in the neighborhood. Then the pandemic hit and Chelsea found herself eyeing up for three months’ worth of liquor for postponed and canceled events.

“All people buy is toilet paper and liquor; we have to put booze in our gelato,” she reminds Drew. “Drew laughed — but the first batch of gelato sold out quickly.” By June 2020, customers from across the region were driving in to pick up a dozen pints at a time, she says.

Niko’s, named after Chelsea and Drew’s young son, offers pointed pints at 5 percent alcohol by volume, as well as non-alcoholic options. Chelsea develops first concepts for flavors by building on Studio 52’s most popular drinks; the gelatos and sorbets are eventually produced with chef Gianluigi Dellaccio of DC-area mini-chain Dolci Gelati. The bourbon coffee chocolate chip is one of the early hits; when Chelsea tried to spin it off the seasonally changing menu, customers begged her to leave it out all year round.

The alcohol does not overpower the flavors. In the blood orange brandy sorbet, the intense fruit hits the tongue first, followed by a touch of brandy. Strawberry rosé emphasizes the delicate taste of the fruit first and then the essence of rosé.

“The gelatos are fun because it’s a hangover buzz without a hangover,” Chelsea says. The Xerons plan to open a special store for Niko’s; For the time being, pints can be picked up in Studio 52.

Pints ​​$11 (non-alcoholic) to $18. Cart at Studio 52, 1508 Okie St. NW. Open Friday to Sunday for takeout; delivery available through DoorDash, UberEats, and Gopuff.† — SFF

Before the pandemic, Pegah Kazemifar’s full-time consulting job required her to travel five days a week. With the shift to online work, she noticed that DC lacked a place to sell bastani sonnati, a traditional Persian ice cream. Later, while planning brunch one day, Kazemifar realized that her mother would bring bastani. “It doesn’t matter who comes — Persian or not — everyone loves my mom’s ice cream and it’s always the centerpiece of every meal,” Kazemifar says. That same day she ordered an ice machine.

Based on Kazemifar’s mother’s recipe, Rosewater’s bastani begins with the sweetness of her brand’s eponymous ingredient, which melds beautifully with the delicate saffron, whose tiny flecks give the ice cream its intense yellow color. Pistachios add a satisfying crunch.

The menu also features cardamom Earl Gray ice cream, a nod to Iran’s tea culture. The spices and bergamot orange oil infused into the tea complement each other, giving the dessert a tantalizing blend of milk, zest and spices. The salted date and walnut ice cream combines sweet dates tempered with a hint of salt, along with walnut chunks.

Rosewater doesn’t have its own physical space yet, but Kazemifar takes her creations to pop-up events. With every scoop of her handmade ice cream comes a little hope. “The company is a way to bring something Iranian that people love to our city,” Kazemifar says. “If I can do that through food, great — but if it extends to politics, language, and culture, even better.”

Mini pints (individual servings) $7; pints $12. Order ahead online for local pickup or delivery; pop-up at Union Market’s Village Cafe on June 18 and July 31.† — SFF

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