Some Like It Frozen

One refrain I hear often is that people wish there was an ice-cream shop in the neighborhood—and while it does seem like there should be one, given the extensive pre-tween population, I’m guessing that the demand is sated by the ice-cream trucks that linger outside the schools.

Adults who want real ice cream aren’t entirely without options, of course. In recent summers, the Odeon has wheeled out an ice-cream cart and Duane Park has opened a stand, Griff’s Gelato. Wichcraft and Tribeca Treats sell ice-cream sandwiches (Wichcraft’s are only available in summer). The sole year-round cone/cup option* is Ciao Bella, in the World Financial Center.

I took it upon myself to try them all.

Griff's frozen-pie-on-a-stick

First, I went to Griff’s because I was obsessed with tasting the new frozen pie-on-a-stick. The pie flavor was coconut cream, and because the ice cream was coated with graham-cracker crumbs, I felt as if I were eating frozen cheesecake. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I wanted on a hot afternoon. I’ll need more research before I can reach a verdict. At $5, it was definitely a better deal than the $3 cup of gelato, which held a scoop the size of a golf ball. The next day, my partner tried Griff’s cookies-and-cream gelato; he was underwhelmed, but he ate it. Then we walked over to the Odeon, where I bought a veritable half-pint for $4. The ice cream itself was fine—not so fine that I remember which flavors I got—but considering that I felt sort of sick after eating so much, I began to see the appeal of a daintier portion. (Not really!)

Next up: the ice-cream sandwiches. When I hear that phrase my first thought is of those crappy ones you buy at the supermarket, with ice milk and chocolate “cookie” that sticks to your fingers. I love those! As trashy as they are, I used to prefer them more gourmet versions, especially after I had a run-in with a bad Chipwich. (I will never buy ice cream from a deli freezer again.) Wichcraft’s ice-cream sandwiches($4) changed my mind, but there’s usually only one cookie/ice cream combo per day. If the cookie is peanut butter or chocolate, I’m onboard; if not…. It’s not that I’ve ever had a bad one, but I do believe that part of the fun of going out for ice cream is choosing a flavor. Tribeca Treats has a variety of ice-cream sandwiches ($3.50), made with Ronnybrook Farms ice cream. I bought one with mint ice cream and a chocolate cookie—the same type of cookie they frost for their delicious special-occasion cookies. If Tribeca Treats will make a version with peppermint ice cream at Christmas—the only time peppermint ice cream is sold, maddeningly—I’ll be their dog.

You probably already know how you feel about Ciao Bella. I think the gelato is good, and the range of flavors is impressive, but as at many chains, the staff doesn’t want to be there. I only buy ice cream when I decide that I deserve it, when I’m happy, and I’d like the occasion to be joyous. The portion size is ideal, though, and $4 feels right. The fact that the store is a schlep from my apartment is both a boon—I don’t need to eat it all the time—and a problem. When I do crave ice cream I tend to crave it right now.

* Or is it? I keep thinking I’m forgetting something. Bazzini and the Soda Shop are gone, and I don’t really consider the Baskin-Robbins on Chambers to be anywhere I want to go ever again, and not just because I worked at a Baskin-Robbins one summer in high school and was forced to wear brown pants and a pink-and-orange striped shirt.



  1. That thing looks mammoth!!!

    Any image of a Baskin-Robbins clad HS you floating around??

  2. we had the ice cream at Wholefoods last week, and while it looks to die for, it’s actually just average. Costs are reasonable (I think it was $3.49 for the small, which is 2 small scoops) but it didn’t have that silken amazing texture or that burst of flavor that other ice creams can have.

  3. My daughter and husband are excited about the new gelato stand at formerly Jin Market (now Picnic Basket. Why?) on Hudson St. I’m anti gelato, so I can’t comment on how they taste. I only like rock-solid ice creams!