Location: Upper East Side (81st Street and 1st Avenue)
What We Ordered: Hannah - Original Oreo; Jon - Peach
We visited Emack & Bolio's on the Upper East Side after hearing about their Ice Cream Pizza. While we didn't get to taste this innovative concoction, we did enjoy testing some of their unique flavors. Hannah ordered a sugar cone of the Original Oreo. Jon took a more traditional route and got a small cup of soft-serve peach ice cream with frozen strawberry topping.
One of the first things we noticed when we looked at the menu was the extensive amount of soft-serve ice cream available, but they only had one machine. How is this possible you ask? Emack & Bolio's uses a special mixing machine that transforms hard ice cream into soft-serve while blending the toppings within. If you need a point a reference, it's like when Steve Urkel used his transformation chamber to turn into Stefan Urquelle.
But be warned, this is not soft-serve in the traditional sense. Those expecting Carvel style soft ice cream should prepare themselves for something slightly less smooth. Yet Jon's peach ice cream was pleasantly infused with strawberries and the result was still delicious. Hannah's order of Original Oreo was just as enjoyable. The flavor was very strong and the ice cream was creamy with a respectable cookie crunch-to-vanilla ice cream ratio.
With over 36 flavors of ice cream, almost all of which are specialty, Emack & Bolio's has one of the most comprehensive flavor menus we've seen. Along with a variety of toppings and specialty cones such as Fruit Loop and Rice Krispies waffle cones, the combinations almost seem infinite.
Hannah describes the interior of the shop as Ben & Jerry's meets mom-and-pop shop with a splash of rock 'n' roll. It's on the small side with minimal seating, but the vibe is fun and the staff is very helpful and friendly. With the amount of foot traffic coming in and out of the shop all the time, we imagine a high ice cream turnover which translates to fresh ice cream.
Emack & Bolio's offers a very unique take on ice cream. We highly recommend them for those who have an affinity for specialty flavors. The variety can be somewhat overwhelming, but it's always nice to have options. While this may not be the ideal place for ice cream traditionalists, it's definitely worth a try for all ice cream lovers.
P.S. We plan to try the Ice Cream Pizza so stayed tuned.