Big Gay Ice Cream is one of the most popular dessert destinations in Manhattan. And for good reason—they sell damn good soft serve ice cream. They also have a fun brand with all kinds of whimsical flavor combinations, interesting toppings, and product names mined from pop culture (a serving of of Bea Arthur, anyone?).
When they first opened their East Village shop, Cronut-like lines ensued for weeks and their newer West Village shop, which features seating, is equally popular. You would think with all their success, they would be hesitant to change anything—"if it ain't broke don't fix it!"—but rather than rest on their laurels, Big Gay has made a number of changes to their product line including a host of brand new toppings and flavors.
The biggest change is a move to more local ingredients and house-made toppings. In March they switched from a high-end but commercial soft-serve base to a proprietary one developed with Ronnybrook farms in upstate NY. And more recently, they transitioned some of their most popular toppings, such as the graham crumbs and lemon curd, to house-made recipes. They've also added some temporary items to the permanent menu such as the Mexican and Italian Affo'Gay'tos.
In order to properly review the slew of new offerings I enlisted two self-described soft-serve fanatics to help me through the list below. Here's a quick summary of our unanimous, "go-out-and-get-this-now" recommendations.
The team was emphatic in their love for the Apple Gobbler sundae, the Whiskey Walnuts topping, and especially the newly released Hot Fudge. We also liked the Mexican Affo'gay'to with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the two team members who enjoy key lime pie (me being one of them) loved the new Key Lime Curd.
About the author: Native New Yorker Niko Triantafillou is the founder of DessertBuzz.com his photographs of desserts and pastry chefs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Dessert Professional Magazine. He is an unabashed foodie nerdling. Follow him on Twitter at @DessertBuzz.