Location: Gowanus (Union Street and Nevins Street)
What We Ordered: Hannah - Snap, Mallow, Pop and Malty Salty Pretzel Punch; Jon - Chocolate Milk & Cookies and The Munchies
Since we started reviewing ice cream about two months ago, we've been asking people to give us recommendations on places we should visit. The one place everyone is always sure to mention is Ample Hills Creamery. Well we finally decided to put them to the test and ventured to their new location, descending upon the great mountains of the Gowanus. The bar had been set so high, we wondered if they would live up to all the hype? Were they going to be like the iPod or the Zune? LeBron James or Darko Milicic? Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Hicks? Speed or Speed 2?
Hannah ordered the Snap, Mallow, Pop and discovered her new favorite ice cream flavor in the Malty Salty Pretzel Punch. The vanilla infused with a malty tang and surprising bits of chocolate covered pretzels created a most unusual, but most incredible combination, like when Jay-Z and Linkin Park made their Collision Course mashup album. The Snap, Mallow, Pop was delicious as well with its marshmallow base flavor and clusters of Rice Krispie mixed in. It was highly recommended by recent visitor and Ice Cream O'Clock's favorite fan, Hannah's father -- proving once again that father knows best.
Looking for something chocolaty, Jon ordered the Chocolate Milk & Cookies and balanced it out with something bold in The Munchies. The Chocolate Milk & Cookies was essentially a chocolate version of the classic cookies and cream -- something you can never go wrong with. The Munchies came with a copious amount of toppings, including Ritz crackers, potato chips and pretzels -- everything you crave after baking (cookies, brownies, pies, etc.) and every bit as satisfying.
The array of flavors at Ample Hills was incredible with nearly two dozen of them to choose from, almost all of which were specialty. They had more variety than the performances on America's Got Talent. We encountered some controversy while making our selections, as Hannah explicitly stole the flavors that Jon had tried and announced he would be getting -- an ice cream swagger jacking if you will -- leaving Jon scrambling to pick two other flavors. Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Jon was still able to pick two delightful and unique flavors, which just goes to show the flavor versatility at Ample Hills.
There are also a number of ways to dress up your ice cream, with classic toppings like hot fudge and sprinkles as well as unique ones like honeycomb candy and vanilla bean marshmallow sauce. With so many toppings already in the ice cream itself, we decided to try their homemade cones instead. Hannah got a chocolate chip one and Jon went with the chocolate. While the cones are unique and tasty, they were harder than expected and resulted in excessive crumbling.
On first entrance, Ample Hills smelled of gooey goodness and fresh baked waffle cone. One of the first things we saw was a window to peak into the back kitchen where the ice cream gets made and stored. The line to order wraps around an oval counter, in the center of which is where all the ice cream magic happens. The line seemed long, but Ample Hills was also amply staffed so the wait time was only a few minutes.
With a charming staff (one of the servers even sporting fangs and getting in the Halloween spirit) and mural-painted brick walls of hills and farm animals, the vibe of the place was Brooklyn soda shop meets the sugar filled dreams of childhood. The best part is the rooftop deck with lawn chairs and string lights, where you can enjoy your ice cream while overlooking the historic National Box Packing Factory across the street, among other things.
Ample Hills was everything we could have dreamt of and more. Their ice cream was heavenly and selection was exceptional. It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get to know the flavors, you begin to fall in love with what they have to offer. They introduce new flavors to keep things interesting, but you know you're still going to get the same kind of quality ice cream no matter what. This is the ice cream you take home to your parents and brag to your friends about. Ample Hills is not only family-friendly, but its close proximity to the trendy and fun Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club next door makes it a great date night spot.