Hankering for ice cream? Here’s the scoop on some Miami-area shops and flavors

 

By the numbers

Chill-N

Founded: October 2012

Founders: Chuck Woodard and Danny Golik

Employees: 15

Annual revenues: $500,000

Most popular flavors: vanilla and Nutella

Daily customers: 300-400

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 2-10 p.m.; Friday: 2-11 p.m.; Saturday: noon-11 p.m.; Sunday: noon-10 p.m.

Contact: 786-732-6988, www.chillnicecream.com

Locations: 17831 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura (which opened this year), and 8271 SW 124th St., Pinecrest (the flagship shop)

Also: “I get requests daily to franchise and once or twice a week to go international,” says Woodard, who is currently researching the best business model for franchising.

The Frieze

Founded: July 4, 1987

President: Lisa Warren, who owns the shop with husband, Robert

General manager: David Warren

Employees: 12

Annual production: 30,000 gallons

Most popular flavor: “Cappuccino Chip”

Location: 1626 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach

Hours: Sunday through Thursday: noon-midnight; Friday and Saturday: noon-1 a.m.

Contact: 305-538-0207; www.thefrieze.com

Also: In addition to in-store ice cream and sorbets, The Frieze supplies local hotels such as The Standard in Miami Beach and the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne. While the shop is unique, David Warren says, he wants to expand and is exploring potential partnerships.

Whip ’n Dip

Founded: July 4, 1985

Founder: George Giampetro Sr., who ran the store as a family business with wife Nancy, son George Jr., and daughter Kathy

Current management: George Giampetro Jr. and his wife, Anne Marie

Employees: 15-20

Daily servings: 600-800 customers

Most popular flavor: “Cookies and Cream”

Location: 1407 Sunset Dr., South Miami

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sunday: noon-10:30 p.m.

Contact: 305-665-2565; www.whipndipicecream.com

Also: George Jr. is looking to expand the brand. “My ideal situation would be to go in with another owner/operator or an investor who sees the value in the brand.”

Azucar Ice Cream Company

Founded: July 29, 2011

Founder: Suzy Batlle

Employees: six

Most popular flavor: “Abuela Maria,” a trademark brand

Revenues: $350,000 (gross revenues for 2013, not including wholesale sales)

Location: 1503 SW Eighth St., Miami

Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Contact: 305-381-0369; www.azucaricecream.com

Also: “We have people who sit here and buy rounds of ice cream like at a bar, treating their friends,” says store manager Pat De La Rosa.

La Michoacana

Founded: 1999 in Homestead, with eight locations in Florida, including Miami’s Little Havana.

Opened: in Miami in March 2012.

Owners: Oliveyda and Juan Prado

Employees: two

Most popular flavor: Nance (Yellow Cherry)

Revenues: $3,600 per week, on average

Location: 1058 SW First St., Miami

Hours: Open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Contact: 305-917-3004 (in Miami); 786-243-1138 (in Homestead)

Also: “When we first started, we were only making $37 a day,” Oliveyda Prado said, adding that she usually makes 10 times that on her least productive day.

Miami Coppelia Ice Cream

Founded: Originally founded in 1989, and purchased by the current owners in 1999

Owners: Brothers-in-law Ramón Santana and Juan Nuñez

Employees: four

Most popular flavors: chocolate, orange-pineapple, and almond

Revenues: Would not share

Location: 4750 NW Seventh St., Miami

Hours: Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday: 1:30-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 1:30 p.m.-midnight; closed Monday.

Contact: 305-443-5054; www.miamicoppelia.com

Also: “Ninety percent of our customers are Cuban,” says Santana. “So, it’s natural for them to meet up at Miami Coppelia.”

Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Founded: Originally founded by Jeff Wall in 2002

Current owners: Tom and Carol McKinney

Employees: nine

Most popular flavor: chocolate

Weekly servings: Roughly 700 customers

Annual revenues: $281,000 in sales in 2013

Location: 8075 SW 67 Ave., Miami (across the street from the Big Cheese)

Hours: Monday-Thursday, and Sunday: noon-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: noon-11 p.m.

Contact: 305-740-9830; www.wallsicecream.com

Serendipity 3

Founded: Originally founded in New York in 1954 by three friends, José Limón, Calvin Holt and Stephen Bruce. Made famous by Andy Warhol who used to hang out there and draw pictures on napkins.

Employees: Roughly 50 in Miami Beach

Annual revenues: Would not share

Daily customers: 250 (weekdays); 800 (weekend days)

Location in Florida: 1102 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.

Hours: Monday-Thursday: noon-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: noon-12:30; Sunday: 11 a.m.-midnight

Contact: 305-403-2210; facebook.com/serendipity3mia

Also: This full-menu restaurant and bar with Tiffany-style lamps and mirrors is also known for its “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate” and deep-fried Oreos encrusted with golden flecks of crunchy oats. Head chef Anthony Spiezio will also amaze you by building a sundae using any combination of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cheese cake, tuxedo strawberries, maple walnut, caramel, chocolate covered espresso beans and marshmallow, hot fudge or butterscotch sauce.


A sampling of sweet spots in Broward

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour. An old-fashioned ice cream parlor that also has a full menu, it is packed with rural American memorabilia. Opened in 1956 and presided over by Monroe Udell, it makes each of its 60 flavors by hand. If you’re up for it, try the “Kitchen Sink Sundae,” an ice cream masterpiece served up in an old-time sink. 128 S. Federal Hwy. (just north of Stirling Road), Dania Beach. 954-923-4445. jaxsonsicecream.com.

Other shops offering an old-time atmosphere are Cherry Smash Ice Cream Parlour, which features a retro candy store and atmosphere. 800 Wiles Rd., Coral Springs. 954-346-0999. info@cherry-smash.com. Sloan’s Ice Cream has a fun atmosphere. Its multiple locations include one at Mizner Park in Boca Raton. 329 Plaza Real. 561-338-9887. www.sloansicecream

​At Tropical Skoops, the tropical theme is carried throughout, with yellow pineapple and lime-green walls and reggae and steel drum music in the background. Try the soursop ice cream that’s made on the premises. Or sample a scoop of Guinness (ice cream, of course!) or a fat-free Italian ice. The proprietor, Shanillia Forbes, also said that the shop can send an Italian ice-loaded cart to events and parties. At Miramar Town Center, 11635 Red Road, in Miramar. 954-440-8736. tropicalskoops2013 is on Facebook.

Yo Mama’s Ice Cream. Owners Lee and Ronnie Feldman opened this very sweet shop in 2010, where the waffle cones are made in-house and the ice cream is sold by weight. Try the poporn ice cream. 901 Sunrise Ln., Fort Lauderdale. 954-567-6002. yomamasicecream.com.

UdderSweets is kid-friendly, upbeat and packed with colorful vintage candy on display. Its motto: “We scoop it and you top it.” Ice cream is sold by the ounce. Try the candy apples. Locations in Weston (1727 Main St; 954-385-9033) and Fort Lauderdale (920 E. Las Olas Blvd.; 954-760-1883).​


Special to the Miami Herald

Memorial Day serves as a time to commemorate those who died defending our freedoms, and for centuries ice cream has done its bit for the war effort. It’s well-known that an army marches on its stomach, and ice cream is usually on the menu.

During World War II, ice cream had risen to such prominence that the frozen treat was deemed vital to the war effort, right up there with chocolate bars, chewing gum and tobacco. While the U.S. War Department couldn’t issue ice cream with its standardized C-Rations, it did the next best thing by creating an ice cream barge. The Navy spent $1.1 million on this “floating ice cream parlor” that it sent to the Pacific in 1945. The floating barge, in essence a 265-foot cement ship that had to be towed around by tugs, was capable of creating more than a gallon of ice cream a minute.

Phil Keeney, who served in the Philippines as a bombardier in the Army Air Corps, remembers well those wartime ice cream servings.

“Most of the ice cream in World War II for overseas consumption was made from dry ice cream mix, and you reconstituted it with water,” recalls Keeney, who retired as a lieutenant and will turn 90 in February. “The flavor wasn’t always the best, but it was cold and sweet. That’s kind of what everybody was wanting more than the old ice cream factory flavor part.”

Keeney went on to become a professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University, which in 1892 had created the first course in the country devoted to ice cream-making. Keeney oversaw Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course for more than 30 years. He was such a popular professor that when he retired in 1985, the school honored him with his own ice cream flavor that features chocolate chips and vanilla beans. It’s called “Keeney Beany Chocolate.” The ice cream that he ate in the Pacific didn’t even come close to that in flavor, Keeney says, explaining that it came in one flavor — an artificially colored vanilla.

While vanilla continues to reign as the most popular flavor in America, according to the Washington-based International Dairy Foods Association, those seeking to satisfy their ice cream cravings in the Miami area can experience the exotic as well as the traditional. There are flavors that range from the sophisticated (grapefruit champagne) to the sensational (“Superman”) to the sizzling (Mexican hot chocolate that comes with a cayenne kick).

Those who dare can be transported by taste to Mexico with La Michoacana Paletería’s elote, which is made from sweet corn, and Whip ’n Dip’s chipotle chocolate. For those who want to recreate memories of Cuba, there’s Azucar’s “Abuela Maria,” which mixes guava and cream cheese, and Miami Coppelia, which serves up a succulent mamey. The Frieze celebrates the cultures of several Latin American countries with its signature dulce de leche. Chill-N evokes images of Italy with its biscotti. And for a decidedly decadent United States, Serendipity 3’s gold-plated “Golden Opulence” is hard to beat. Of course, you could opt to go global with Wall’s “Old Fashioned Ice Cream’s Super Hero” that will turn your lips and teeth blue.

The following provides just a sampling of the many varieties of ice cream the Miami area has to offer:

HOMEMADE

• Chill-N: N is for “nitrogen” and “newfangled.”

From its menu board that looks like the intro to Breaking Bad — with its reliance on the scientific shorthand of the periodic table of chemical elements — to its menu that includes only-in-Miami favorites dulce de leche and coffee made with real Cuban coffee, as well as the old standards vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, Chill-N seamlessly melds the old with the new.

Although chefs have been using liquid nitrogen for years to enhance the dining experience, there remains a sense of alchemy when the folks at Chill-N create a dish of ice cream on the spot in a puff of smoke. Actually, it’s more like fog, as little sprays of liquid nitrogen — with a cool temperature of -320 degrees Fahrenheit — fast-freeze each bowl of basic liquid ice cream mix that has been individually flavored. The result is a rich ice cream that has the taste and consistency of gelato.

“Nitrogen will bring them in the door, but consistently good ice cream will keep them coming back,” says Chuck Woodard, who along with Danny Golik, opened Chill-N in Pinecrest’s Village Plaza two years ago. At the time, Woodard was a 20-year-old entrepreneurial wunderkind and a sophomore at the University of Miami. Both he and Golik are alumni of the Westminster Christian School, and Woodard graduated from UM earlier this month.

While relying on a technique popularized in the 21st century, Woodard is not above borrowing what works for the more established ice cream shops.

“We started with vanilla and Googled the most popular ice cream flavors,” he admits. Aside from vanilla, there are 10 standard flavors to choose from and special holiday flavors such as pumpkin for Halloween and red velvet cake for Christmas.

In keeping with America’s tastes, Chill-N sells more vanilla than any other flavor. Nutella, a hazelnut-flavored chocolate sauce popular in Europe, is a close second. Patrick Silva, a 12-year-old who lives part time in Miami, explains why he likes Nutella with bananas and marshmallows: “It’s the perfect flavor in every spoonful.”

• The Frieze Ice Cream Factory: flavorful and nontraditional.

An image of the Statue of Liberty raising an ice cream cone instead of a torch decorates one wall in The Frieze Ice Cream Factory in Miami Beach. It represents owner Lisa Warren’s way of commemorating the company’s founding on July 4, 1987.

When The Frieze turned 25 in 2012, Warren celebrated by inaugurating a new flavor: “Bosh Frieze Frenzy,” named in honor of Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh. Initially, a percentage of the sales went to the forward’s foundation, Team Tomorrow.

The Frieze has more than 100 other flavors — such as “Grapenuts ’n’ Raisins,” “Peanut Butter in My Chocolate,” “Jamaican Blue Mountain Chip” and “Jack’s Maple Walnut” (which amply employs bourbon-soaked walnuts). The shop also makes and sells kosher ice cream and vegan sorbet made from real fruit, such as mangoes from India and South Florida.

Compact and funky, with a plywood window banquette, The Frieze is a hangout for models and Miami Beach locals. It is also a magnet for tourists. Named for an architectural feature used frequently in the art deco-style buildings of Miami Beach, The Frieze is a meeting place — sort of like the observation deck of the Empire State Building. People gravitate there — some arriving in tuxedos and gowns after a wedding, or as an affirmation of life after cancer treatment, says Warren, who runs the day-to-day operations with son David. Like many of his customers, David, 29, grew up at The Frieze. He was just 2 when the store first opened.

Today parents bring their children there as a rite of passage. Earlier this month, Victoria Baudoin of Islamorada brought her 9-year-old daughter Maya, who pronounced her helping of “Get Down Boogie Oogie Cookie” “just perfect.”

David and Ariela Kuppermann came from Boston to introduce their 11-month-old daughter, Amelie, to her first ice cream experience. After an initial moment of the dreaded brain freeze, Amelie couldn’t get enough of her father’s Lychee sorbet. “She’s licking the spoon,” says David, who adds, “This is delicious. You can taste the fruit.”

Miami Beach local David Sontag echoes his enthusiasm for the “Cappuccino Chip.”

“This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life,” Sontag says. “I used to be a Häagen-Dazs man, and now I’m all about The Frieze.”

• Whip ’n Dip Ice Cream Shoppe: time-honored tradition.

The oldest of the ice cream shops featured here, Whip ’n Dip in South Miami appeals to presidents and Olympians alike. Former President Jimmy Carter enjoyed a scoop of “Apple Pie” ice cream when he visited on Jan. 18, 1995. There’s a picture of him by the door. U.S. diver Brittany Viola stopped by and left an autographed photograph. She loves Whip ’n Dip’s “Chocolate Peanut Butter” ice cream.

Founder George Giampetro Sr. once was director of admissions at the University of Miami, and some of his best customers go to the school.

“We’ve got UM kids who cannot get through finals without us,” says George Giampetro Jr., whose wife, Anne Marie, comes up with the extraordinary flavors. A favorite is the “Bulldog Blitz,” a neon-blue ice cream laced with cotton candy and named in honor of Riviera Day School, which her children had attended. “You don’t have to go to Riviera to enjoy it,” George Jr. says. “Anyone under 4 feet tall and under 13 loves it.”

Then there’s “Hummingbird Cake,” “Monday @ the Chocolate Factory,” “Snow-Capped Andes Chocolate,” and “Banana Nut Chip.” And who could say no to a low-calorie, no-fat, no-cholesterol “Lite Cream” flavor such as chocolate-covered strawberry, German chocolate cake or salted caramel or toasted coconut?

On Valentine’s Day, Anne Marie makes ice cream with rose petals or cinnamon-flavored Red Hots. “We call it ‘Red Hot & Sexy,’ ” George Jr. says. On patriotic holidays, such as Memorial Day, she might make “Apple Pie,” with candied apple chunks, graham cracker crust and a vanilla bean base.

Staffed by teens and 20-somethings, the shop exudes an enthusiastic energy. Customers often call with requests or to inquire about the menu, which changes weekly. “People are very serious about their ice cream,” says Phillip Aitken, between serving a crowd that suddenly filled the store one Saturday in May. Regular customers stop by after school or following sporting events.

Carlitos Lavernia, 6, came in dressed in his bright yellow soccer uniform. His team had just won a game and Carlitos was savoring the sweet victory with a cone of chocolate ice cream covered in sprinkles. “After school this is his favorite,” says his father, Dr. Carlos J. Lavernia, a local surgeon and medical director. “After every soccer game I have to do it if he plays well. Good thing they have low-fat.”

• Azucar Ice Cream Company: Cuban classics and more.

It’s hard to miss Azucar, what with the sculpture of a huge waffle cone overflowing with five scoops of ice cream occupying the façade of the building facing Calle Ocho.

“I had this made,” says owner Suzy Batlle. “Go big or go home. I needed to do something amazing on this building.” Batlle used to be a banker who handled the loans for the landlord, Bill Fuller, and he signed off on local artist L Yanet Canes’ creation.

Most visitors to this bustling shop across from Domino Park come in for the perennial Cuban favorites, some to be reminded of home, others to be transported to a land they might never visit. There’s the signature “Abuela Maria,” a creamy vanilla base laced with ribbons of guava and cream cheese and crumbled cracker, named for Batlle’s maternal grandmother who regularly made ice cream at home and indirectly inspired the creation of Azucar. Other Cuban favorites include café con leche (Cuban coffee and Oreo), “El Mani Loco” (literally, “crazy peanut”) and “Mantecado” (Cuban vanilla — a nutmeg infused, egg-laced vanilla that instantly brings to mind the happiness of Christ-mas).

If you’re more adventuresome, you might try the “Elvis” (peanut butter and banana), “Beam Me Up” (bourbon-Heath bar) or “Thai Me Up” (a wildly flavorful Pad Thai rendering with a Sriracha hot sauce kick). And of course, there’s the owner’s favorite: the “Willy Cherrino” — named for Cuban salsa singer Willy Chirino and infused with bourbon and two kinds of cherries, maraschino and dark.

The magazine Cooking Light devoted an article to Suzy Batlle’s avocado ice cream recipe. Soon, Cuban food aficionados will be able to make Suzy’s “Mantecado” ice cream in their own kitchens. Ana Sofia Peláez, writer and great niece of famed avant-garde painter Amelia Peláez del Casal, plans to include the recipe in her upcoming cookbook, The Cuban Table. “The book is coming out in October,” Batlle says. “She ends it by talking about my grandmother.”

Today Azucar provides ice cream and sorbets for the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Sergio’s restaurants, Bongos Cuban Café in Miami and Larios on the Beach in Miami Beach. The business has been so brisk that now she is looking for a second location in Little Havana, where she plans to make the ice cream for her store. “We’ve grown a little too fast, which is great news,” she adds.

ICE CREAM ORDERED FROM OFF-SITE

La Michoacana: authentic Mexican treat.

Images of characters from the popular TV sitcom El Chapulín Colorado painted on one wall provide a clue that visitors are in for an authentic Mexican treat at La Michoacana Paletería in Little Havana. There are other clues, such as the statuette of the Virgin of Guadeloupe atop a refrigerator or a miniature Mexican flag hanging over a doorway. But the biggest clue is the menu board. There are exotic-flavored ice creams, as well as paletas, which are popsicles made from either fruit-infused water or cream.

One of the most popular ice cream flavors is elote, made from whole kernels of cooked sweet corn. Before you wince at that choice of ingredient, remember that none other than Ben Franklin reportedly stated that tomato was his favorite ice cream flavor. Other exotic flavors include chongos (sweet milk curds), guanábana (soursop) and tequila (made only with the liquor, not the worm). But not to worry: The less adventuresome can always fall back on the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream that are also available at La Michoacana, which means a girl or woman from Michoacán.

Claudia Miranda and her 16-year-old daughter, Carolina, came expressly to Miami to learn as much as they could about the products because she plans to open a similar shop in her native Brazil. She raved about the fruit-filled flavors. “I want to open a place like this in Brazil,” Miranda says, between bites of a strawberry paleta. She was also intrigued by the tuna flavor, which turns out not to be fish. It’s actually cactus, which has a very sweet, kiwi-type flavor and large seeds that can either be spat out or swallowed.

Oliveyda Prado says her husband keeps the freezer stocked with goods produced at an ice cream factory in Homestead.

• Miami Coppelia Ice Cream: evokes memories of Cuba.

Coppelia is synonymous with ice cream for millions of Cubans. So it’s no coincidence that Miami Coppelia is a magnet for Miami’s Cuban diaspora seeking the sweet taste of home.

“All Cubans identify with that name,” says Ramón Santana, who along with brother-in-law Juan Nuñez, owns and operates Miami Coppelia. “Coppelia is like Häagen-Dazs in Cuba.”

Miami Coppelia has no affiliation with its Cuban namesake, Santana says. In fact, Santana’s ice cream parlor produces six more flavors than the Cuban one did in its heyday. The 26 flavors offered when the Havana ice cream parlor opened in 1966 apparently were a great source of pride for Fidel Castro, who wanted to produce more flavors than the big American ice cream parlors.

Miami Coppelia offers a choice of 32 flavors, including such Cuban favorites as almond, coconut, coconut-almond, guava, lime, malt, mamey, mango, and montecado. Visitors are encouraged to select multiple flavors to create special treats such as “Ensalada de Helado,” which literally means “ice cream salad” and includes five scoops of your favorite ice cream, or “Pico Turquino,” named for Cuba’s highest peak, found in the Sierra Maestra mountain range: It features two scoops of ice cream with a slice of cappuccino cake in the center, as well as syrup and marshmallows.

• Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream: 1950s vibe.

From the red-and-white sun umbrellas shading outdoor tables to the mini-theater painted on an outside wall — on which Tom and Jerry cartoons are projected after sunset — Tom McKinney’s shop evokes a bygone era, a “time when things were simpler.”

“I’m building memories for the next generation,” McKinney said, explaining that the “theater” started after he brought in an old TV and began running reruns of I Love Lucy and Leave It to Beaver.

Then his wife, Carol, had the brilliant idea to take it outside. “My wife brought in Tom and Jerry cartoons from the Cracker Barrel and said, ‘Try these.’ ” So, he projected them against an outside wall, and customers began watching the show with their children while eating their ice cream. The “theater” Carol had painted not only includes a “screen,” but also images of the zoo that once existed on Key Biscayne, the former Parrot Jungle site, and the old Holsum Bread Bakery, where the Shops at Sunset now are.

“Everyone was just having a hoot,” McKinney says. “I think people enjoy it with their ice cream.”

His South Miami-area store displays 28 different flavors at any one time, including ice cream and sorbets. While he won’t disclose the name of the ice cream factory that makes its products — all according to Wall’s recipes — McKinney acknowledges he personally makes all the fudge sold at the store.

The old-fashioned family atmosphere keeps James Ochoa of Kendall coming back. “It’s not your typical Miami place,” Ochoa explains. “It’s more like New York. It’s a mom-and-pop shop. They make Coke floats, which is a rare thing these days.” He says he was introduced by a friend and earlier this month was playing it forward by introducing another friend to the experience.

• Serendipity 3 : Ice cream parlor with a twist.

Serendipity 3 in Miami Beach is the last word in ice cream decadence. Auric Goldfinger would get his just desserts here. The James Bond nemesis who loved everything that falls under “Au” on the periodic table of chemical elements definitely would have approved of S3’s “Golden Opulence Sundae.”

Where else could one eat ice cream wrapped in edible 23-carat gold leaf? The recipe actually calls for five scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream wrapped in gold leaf and a dozen gold-leaf almonds and several sugar flowers gilded in gold, as well as seven ounces of Venezuelan chocolate, a tablespoon of Grand Passion caviar with passion fruit and blood orange soaked in Armagnac, a tablespoon of candied fruit, four French marzipan cherries, and four white and dark chocolate truffles. It comes with a mother-of-pearl spoon for the caviar and a 24-carat gold spoon to savor the rest. The Guinness Book of World Records pronounced this $1,000 excursion into the exotic the world’s most expensive sundae.

“We’ve sold a few,” says Jane Moynihan, the Lincoln Road restaurant’s manager. “You have to order it 48 hours in advance.”

One can only imagine the occasion — the perfect setting to pop the question or one’s last meal on earth.

Read more Business Monday stories from the Miami Herald

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