Ice Cream Meets Design at Davey’s Ice Cream

ice cream sandwich_daveys williamsburg_swallace
Always get the sprinkles. Image: Author’s personal collection of Davey’s Ice Cream photographs

Going into ice cream actually started as a joke for David Yoo. After beginning a career in fashion and advertising, he decided in 2012 that it was time for a change. A few jokes later, he came to the realization that “ice cream is like blank canvas” ready for creative interpretations, and getting into the ice cream business might allow for the real hands-on creative hijinks he was searching for. So he enrolled in the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course, Class of 2013; gave his job a six-month notice; and by Friday, September 13th, Davey’s Ice Cream was open in the East Village. Late last summer, Davey’s brought their ice cream across the river to Bedford Avenue.

Image: Davey's Ice Cream on Instagram
Image: Davey’s Ice Cream on Instagram

Originally from Long Island, David went to Parsons for college with an interest in design and technology. Stints at a street wear brand and in high-fashion advertising, and all of the office and client work that comes with it, left him yearning for a real creative outlet. Once he committed to this career change, he was all-in. At Penn State—the ice cream course there is a century-old institution and recommended for anyone who wants to manufacture ice cream on a large scale—he was surprised to learn all of the science and chemistry that go into making ice cream. Soon after, a lease on the East Village space was signed.

Speculoos Chocolate Chip. It's no coincidence that Davey's benches are the perfect color for Instagram.
Speculoos Chocolate Chip. It’s no coincidence that Davey’s benches are the perfect color for Instagram.

One important aspect to Davey’s Ice Cream is that they pasteurize their milk in-house, literally in the back of the East Village store. Doing so drives up costs and requires frequent visits by regulators, but it gives Davey’s a bit more control over the entire process. That process includes taking fresh Hudson Valley cream and turning into classics like Mexican Vanilla; Strawberry Swirl; Peppermint Chip; Strong Coffee (made from Birch Coffee’s single-origin Brazil Carmo de Minas beans, it is indeed very, very strong); Speculoos (aka the Biscoff cookie you get on Delta flights) Chocolate Chip; Cookies & Cream; Roasted Pistachio; and Chocolate Chocolate. There are also fun specials that pop up every now and then like the recent flavors Mango, Black Sesame, and Toast & Jam. They even did a Light Side & a Dark Side for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Coffee ice cream_daveys williamsburg_swallaceOpening a second shop in Williamsburg was helped out a lot by luck and happenstance. The owner of Williamsburg Creamery was looking to get out of the business and move away just David had been looking at Williamsburg for a second Davey’s. As a local, he remembers the Bedford of old and now having a shop there has really opened his eyes to the changes. Initially, the shop was slicker in design, but that didn’t translate well for the oodles of tourists walking along Bedford, so everything has to be simpler, much like the East Village location. One big difference is what flavors are popular; the East Village clientele tend to go for the more traditional, Cookies and Cream or the Speculoos Chocolate Chip, while Williamsburg reach for more unusual ice cream flavors like Matcha Green Tea or Thai Iced Tea.

The hot chocolate is also highly recommended.
The hot chocolate is also highly recommended.

Speaking of, the next year should see an explosion of flavor creativity. With three years under his belt, David feels like he can now get really creative, “I’m very happy, I have all the right people in place.” Don’t worry, the classics will stay around for your hot fudge sundaes, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, and peanut butter pie milkshakes (yes, that’s a milkshake with a slice of pie from Daly Pie). And I really do recommend trying the Speculoos Chocolate Chip, it’s one of my most favorite things in the world.

Davey’s Ice Cream is located at 201 Bedford Avenue. They are open Sunday to Thursday, noon – 10pm; Friday and Saturday, noon – 11pm. 

About Siobhan Wallace

Siobhan Wallace is a freelance writer & editor. She co-founded the food blog Blondie & Brownie in 2008 and co-authored "New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks" (Running Press, 2013).

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