When I was growing up, my dad and I would make monthly trips to our local ice cream parlor for a little bonding with a side of sweets. I still remember splitting freshly churned scoops of ice cream buried underneath homemade whipped cream and handfuls of rainbow M&M’s, while the greatest hits of yesteryear blared from the jukebox in the corner. Retro soda fountains like this are few and far between in NYC, unless you’re willing to travel to Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Forest Hills or Carroll Garden’s Brooklyn Farmacy. Fortunately, Manhattanites weary of schlepping their families to the outer boroughs are in luck with the new-school, hands-on CoolMess on the Upper East Side.
Sitting pretty atop Burger Heaven on East 62nd and Lexington Avenue is the light, bright parlor owned by Marguerite Loucas, a woman who knows the neighborhood like the back of her hand. (And the restaurant business, as well; her family has run the mini burger chain for the past 70 years.) The mother of three designed the pint-size space with the neighborhood kids in mind…so that means eye-catching pops of color—blue, green, and hot pink—and a wall of classic candies that you can purchase by the pound. You’ll want to spend plenty of time posing for pictures in front of the rainbow sprinkle wallpaper and the neon sign that flickers “Cool Is the New Hot.” But first, you have some churning to do!
Waiting for you at your table is an already frozen canister ready to churn the ice cream of your wildest dreams. Choose your base (vanilla or chocolate, courtesy of Brooklyn’s Blue Marble) and add up to three mix-ins from local purveyors like Fat Witch Bakery, DŌ, and The Konery; hang tight for a few minutes while the canister does its thing, and dig in! Can’t decide what you want? CoolMess has several tried-and-true MESSipes on hand to satisfy any craving, including our own limited edition flavor combo, a deconstructed version of the classic pecan pie, with sugared pecans, caramel, and graham cracker bits swirled into a creamy vanilla bean base. This perfect pre-Thanksgiving treat, developed by our food expert Jess Bender, is available through Thursday, November 9.
If you thought that was sweet, we’re giving away lunch and an ice cream–making session for four! All you have to do is follow WSWD and CoolMess on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to win; more contest details can be found here.