The Ample Hills Founders Open Their New Ice Cream Shop “The Social” In Prospect Heights

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The rise and fall of Ample Hills Creamery, as a family-owned and -operated ice cream enterprise, has been properly documented, not least by founding couple Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith themselves. The moment success of their whimsical parlor on Vanderbilt Avenue in 2011; the enlargement to eleven places, supermarkets nationwide, and an enormous manufacturing facility/museum in Pink Hook; the chapter, declared at some point earlier than the Covid lockdown in March of 2020; and, lastly, the $1 million buyout by the Oregon-based manufacturing firm Schmitt Industries, and the departure of Cuscuna and Smith shortly thereafter — it has been a wild experience, and now the duo is again.

On Sunday, Cuscuna and Smith opened their all-new enterprise with greater than somewhat fanfare, an ice cream parlor and donut store in Prospect Heights known as The Social. There was a ribbon chopping ceremony with Senator Chuck Schumer, a DJ out on the sidewalk, and an extended line of followers stretching down Saint Johns Place, prompted partly by the promise of free scoops to the primary 100 prospects.

“It feels surreal and terrifying and thrilling to be doing this all once more,” Cuscuna instructed Gothamist simply earlier than the doorways opened. “This previous yr I missed having a group of individuals, of ice cream lovers in Brooklyn, for thus many causes. It is simply nice to be again. There’s quite a lot of ice cream on the market now, which wasn’t actually true once we first opened, so though we’re not reinventing our fashion of ice cream, we’re going to try to make it as deeply scrumptious as attainable.”




Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna

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Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

Based mostly on the 4 scoops I attempted throughout opening day, they’ve succeeded within the deliciousness division. The Social ice cream jogged my memory of first-wave Ample Hills, extra small batch than mass-produced, the bottom tremendous creamy and richly flavored, the mix-ins including to enjoyable with out overwhelming the expertise. The Bubble Mallow, for instance, may have been a gimmicky throwaway–it’s principally bubblegum ice cream with “rivers of fluffy marshmallow”–but Smith exhibits a deft contact, makes use of solely all-natural components, no synthetic colours, and the tip result’s refined and complicated.

Different winners had been Double the Dough, which is cookie dough ice cream studded with chunks of precise chocolate chip cookie dough, and Oh Captain, My Captain, billed as “your favourite breakfast cereals in ice cream type”—that one combines a Cap’n Crunch infused base with clusters of white chocolate tossed Fruity Pebbles. Sure, they’re candy, however under no circumstances cloying and, once more, the mix-ins are delivered with admirable restraint.

A number of the extra intriguing-sounding flavors aren’t fairly prepared but (taking a look at you, Ooeyer and Gooyer), however a superb Orange Creamsicle leads a contingent of sorbets; Peanut Butter Double Dutch Fudge appears like a Reese’s-lover’s dream come true; Strawberry and Cream is marketed as “brightly contemporary and berry ahead;” Go Go Bananas and Vanilla Bean preserve it easy; and vegans can get decadent with the luscious, coconut-milk primarily based Fudge Crackle.

Subsequent time, which will likely be quickly, my order will even embrace The Outdated Ballgame, a popcorn ice cream with selfmade peanut brittle that obtained a rave evaluation from Anna Whitehouse and Ed Backlund, who arrived some 90 minutes earlier than the doorways opened and had been first on line. “We have been longtime followers of Brian and Jackie,” stated Backlund, who lives in Prospect Heights, “I really like the ice cream, love the vibe they’ve cultivated.” And Whitehouse got here all the way in which from New Jersey for the event, saying, “I took the PATH, took the two prepare… I would not miss it. We’re very excited to be right here.”




line and crowd outside The Social on opening day




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Scott Lynch / Gothamist


The Social capabilities as a first-rate donut store, too. Smith’s deep-fried pastries are cake-style, modest in measurement, and dense with taste. There are 4 varieties to begin, together with Cookies and Cream, a sticky Outdated Normal Glazed, a buttery Plain, and a crunchy Cinnamon Sugar. These all go properly with The Social’s full espresso program, or as the muse for the Donut Sundae, which piles on any two scoops of ice cream, housemade whipped cream, and “no matter toppings you need.”

The inside is surprisingly giant and sprawling for an ice cream parlor, and has a good quantity of character, particularly contemplating that The Social sits on the bottom flooring of a bland luxurious leases tower with a generic exterior. There is a row of cubicles by the home windows, some huge bleachers to sit down on, and a again eating room that doubles as an occasion house and comes full with a ping pong desk. Garden chairs and a chunk of turf had been arrange out on the sidewalk on Saint James Place for an impromptu out of doors seating space.

“Brian and Jackie needed to shut down proper earlier than COVID, however that did not daunt them,” stated Senator Schumer throughout his temporary remarks on Sunday. “They stored preventing and preventing and now right here we’re at one thing that is going to be nice for Brooklyn and for Prospect Heights, a neighborhood I reside proper subsequent to, so I will be coming right here loads with my two-year-old grandson. So I need to thank them for opening… it exhibits that Brooklyn all the time will get higher.”




line and crowd outside The Social on opening day




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Scott Lynch / Gothamist


The Social is positioned at 816 Washington Avenue, on the nook of Saint Johns Place, and is at the moment open on Sunday via Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (thesocialbrooklyn.com)



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