Eating + Drinking

Lick It Up: The Ice Cream Innovations You’ll Be Melting Over This Summer

Welcome to peak ice cream season. These are the cool treats that will get you through those dog days.

Photo by Byron J @zenisfood/Courtesy of Kochin Desserts

Bad news: Mister Softee is having a bit of a meltdown this year. The good news, though, is that New York has a bevy of forward-thinking ice cream parlors and dessert innovators ready to push the boundaries of what’s possible when combining milk, sugar, and ice. So join us, won’t you, for a much-needed deep dive (deep taste?) on the State of the Cone.

nyc ice cream truck
Photo by Paul Trienekens/Unsplash

Limited-edition licks are a thing.

These sweet treats are the Supreme of the ice cream world: Their runs are short and prone to selling out quickly. 

  • Long lines are common at the “accidentally vegan” Superiority Burger, but new market-driven (and sometimes vegan) gelatos and sorbets made with Tristar strawberriesheirloom benne seeds, and roasted apricots has the eatery busier than ever. 430 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A), East Village
  • The hyped (and colorful) croissantería Supermoon Bakehouse‘s sophisticated soft serve flavors, including basil balsamic and sweet corn, rotate at record speed, so make it a priority to swing by when you see their swirls on Food Baby’s Instagram feed120 Rivington Street (between Essex and Norfolk Streets), Lower East Side
  • The flashy Floridians behind Dasher & Crank—known for their tropical, small-batch scoops—are calling the Meatpacking District home this summer, serving “happiness in a cup” in a pop-up shack outside the Gansevoort until Labor Day. Pro tip: Vegan ube and babka and cream are surprisingly harmonious when eaten together. 18 Ninth Avenue (between Little West 12th and West 13th Streets), Meatpacking District
  • Stretching out its menu just off the L train is Williamsburg’s Republic of Booza, collaborating with local brands for unique experimental flavors. First up is the Vietnamese iced coffee cake ice cream inspired by MeMe’s Diner, to be followed by dessert collabs with Seed + Mill (chocolate halvah swirl) and Tacocina (elote preparado). 76 North 4th Street, Williamsburg
nyc ice cream dasher and crank
Strawberry cream cheese ice cream with guava jelly at Dasher & Crank. / Photo courtesy of Dasher & Crank/Facebook

Scoops are spanning the globe…

A recent onslaught of new ice cream shops have found inspiration in other parts of the world. 

  • Cobble Hill’s Malai Ice Cream touches on its South Asian roots to churn cultured frozen treats with regal ingredients such as saffron, turmeric, and star anise. 268 Smith Street
  • Créme & Sugar in Ridgewood bases its flavors on Peruvian produce (passion fruit, cherimoya, the butterscotch-y lucuma) and splashes of Bordeaux and Shiraz. 58-42A Catalpa Avenue
  • Branching out from its Bayard Street roots is the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, sharing its sweetly exotic perspectives with Flushing and the new Essex Market. Each shop has its own far-out flavors (misugaru and cookies and gochuchang chocolate at the former, squid ink and tiramisu at the latter), so try to make it to both! 135-15 40th Road, Flushing; 115 Delancey Street (at Essex Street), Lower East Side

    Photo courtesy of Malai Ice Cream/Facebook

…but Japanese-inspired treats are taking over.

Appropriately enough, some of New York’s most exciting new confectionaries come from the Land of the Rising Sun.

  • Popular teahouse Cha-An recently opened its sweet sister outpost, Cha-An Bonbon, a few doors down from its O.G. location, where it is swirling signature Japanese tastes like matcha into soft serve and topping them with gyuhi mochi, rain droplets, mini sakura jellies, kuromitsu (Japanese sugar syrup), and monaka crumbles (sandwich cookies filled with azuki bean jam). 238A East 9th Street (between Stuyvesant Street and Second Avenue), East Village
  • Another unconventional dessert choice in NYC (at least for now) is shaved ice. That hasn’t stopped newcomer Bonsai Kakigori from transforming the fluffy base into eccentric delights using Stateside influences like strawberries and cream and Key lime pie, as well as the Japanese favorite, matcha. 100 Stanton Street (between Orchard and Ludlow Streets), Lower East Side
nyc ice cream cha-an bonbon
Photo courtesy of Cha-An Bonbon/Facebook

Sundaes aren’t just for Sundays…

You won’t want to share a single spoonful of these double-decker treats.

  • The mad geniuses behind Morgenstern’s have further stretched their imagination inside their weekend-only sundae counter with delicious tributes to the grasshopper (made with Edible Schoolyard mint!), strawberry shortcake (with angel food cake and strawberry compote), and…Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal (who happens to love chocolate and peanut butter). 88 West Houston Street (at LaGuardia Place), Greenwich Village
  • Ice + Vice has never been one to shy away from experimentation, and its Times Square–exclusive mango lassi and alfajores (with malted vanilla caramel ice cream, coconut rice crisp ice cream, dulce de leche, and toasted coconut…swoon) are not afraid to make bold flavor statements. West 43rd Street and Broadway, Midtown
  • On the finer side of the dining scene is Santina’s molto Italiano take on the affogato with three scoops of gelato capped off with a paper-thin pizzelle. 820 Washington Street (between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets), Meatpacking District
  • And there’s also Wayan’s French-Indonesian banana cake split with ube ice cream and caramelized banana strips. 20 Spring Street (between Elizabeth and Mott Streets), SoHo

    Photo by Mike C./Yelp

…and ice cream isn’t just for humans!

Bushwick is now home to the world’s first parlor catering to people and their four-legged besties, Ollie’s Ice Cream + Stuff. Come for some prime puppy-watching and stay for scoops such as the Peanut Butter Pumpkin Butt (made with dog-friendly ingredients including pumpkin puree, sugar-free PB, and cashew yogurt) and raspberry lime sorbet. 158 Irving Avenue, Bushwick

Photo courtesy of Ollie’s Ice Cream + Stuff via Yelp

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Get all of the ice cream before it melts away. Also, get inspired by our app.