If you remember the first breaking news story that marked Ample Hills Creamery’s heralded opening in Prospect Heights, all the way back in 2011 (they sold out of their entire stock of ice cream in four days!) and have ever stood one of those massive lines snaking down Vanderbilt Avenue since (what’s 40 minutes for a cup of Salted Crack Caramel?) you’ll know that it was only a matter of time before they branched out in a big way. And while a few bumps in the road with build-out has left them out in the cold during the first few weeks of ice cream season, the doors are opening today (!) on their enormous, 3,000-square foot production facility and retail store in Gowanus. So without further ado, here’s everything you’ll want to know on the behemoth Brooklyn scoop shop before heading over.
Will I be able to watch them making ice cream?
Indeed. The 1,200-square foot dairy plant (so called because Ample Hills pasteurizes all of their own bases, meaning production gets overseen by the Department of Agriculture, instead of the DOH) is connected to the retail store, with a big, glass viewing window in between. The kitchen also has floor-to-ceiling windows and doors on the street side, meaning anyone strolling down Union can catch a glimpse of the sweets savants in action.
If I want a sundae or cone, will I have to pitch a tent on the sidewalk before I get served?
The thing that’s always bummed owner Brian Smith about his tiny spot on Vanderbilt, is how impossible it’s been to keep up with demand. But a 1,200-square foot retail space on Union Street should alleviate wait times at both locations, and besides, there’s enough going on at sprawling Gowanus outpost to keep everyone occupied. Besides that big viewing window into the production room, the heavily manned scooping station will be arranged like an island in the center of the room, so patrons sitting in booths (and potential patrons waiting in line), will have a 360-degree view of the proceedings.
What’s that I hear about a roof deck?
Yes! No need to grab a cone and run. In addition to a private, upstairs event room, where they’ll host birthday parties, readings, cooking classes and more, Ample Hills Gowanus also boasts a 1,000-square foot deck that’s accessible by a separate staircase, and will be outfitted with lawn furniture, Adirondack chairs and all sorts of toys for the kids. Once the sun sets, they’ll also project movies against the far wall.
Let’s get down to business. What can we expect in terms of new products and flavors?
Each store will have a signature flavor, that can only be ordered at that Ample Hills outpost. It’s yet to be determined what will anchor Vanderbilt, but you’ll need to head to Union for the obscenely decadent “It Came from a Gowanus.” Think deep, dark salted fudge ice cream with pieces of their infamous crack caramel cookies made with hazelnut paste, and coated in white chocolate pearls to represent oysters, as well as brownie chunks flavored with Grand Marnier. “Inspired by the Gowanus, it’s sort of this deep, dark thing you can’t see through, but has mysteries lurking within,” laughs Smith. There will also be ice cream cakes available (without special order), and cold, nitrogenated Stumptown coffee, that pours like a Guinness.
So what does an expanded production facility mean for the future of Ample Hills?
Obviously, it means they’ll never again run out of product at one of their stores or kiosks. But long term? Don’t be surprised to find Ample Hills pints in a store near you.
305 Nevins Street, Gowanus www.amplehills.com