Steve's Ice Cream Is Being Reborn in the Blue Marble Space, and Giving Mix-Ins the Brooklyn Artisanal Treatment
If you grew up in Boston, you probably grew up with Steve's Ice Cream, the Somerville store that is credited with introducing Americans to the concept of both premium ice cream and mix-ins. When owner Steve Herrell decided in 1973 to smoosh bits of Heath Bar Crunch into his scoops, he unwittingly paved the way for companies like Ben & Jerry's and Cold Stone Creamery, to say nothing of Dairy Queen Blizzards and even Shake Shack's concretes.
After Herrell sold the business in 1977, it went through a number of different owners and corporate takeovers before closing in the late 1990s. But this spring, Steve's is being resurrected, in none other than the former Blue Marble space on Atlantic Avenue.
"Right now, we're finishing the design of the space," says Forbes Fisher. Fisher is the president of the company, which was relaunched last year after its new founder and main investor bought back the trademark from the company's last registered owner. Steve's, he says, is actually planning to open two New York storefronts later this spring: There will also be one near Bryant Park.
If ice cream can be said to have a terroir, the new Steve's is definitely that of Brooklyn. The company, which began developing and testing new flavors last year, is creating partnerships with a number of the borough's artisanal producers: To date, Salvatore Bklyn is supplying the ricotta in Steve's strawberry ricotta ice cream, Kombucha Brooklyn's eponymous brew is the base for a kombucha sorbet, and Plowshares coffee stars in a coffee-cinnamon ice cream. Taza, a chocolate company based in Somerville, Massachusetts, is also supplying chocolate for both flavors and toppings; its chocolate-covered cacao nibs appear in Steve's dairy-free mint-cacao chip.
"We couldn't have gotten something like this two or three years ago because there wasn't enough out there to do specialty mix-ins," Fisher says. "To me, the best part of this job is getting to work with so many artisanal producers and forging partnerships."
The store, he explains, will carry 16 flavors that will rotate on a seasonal basis. Some of them are already available in Steve's pint line, which is sold at Union Market and the Park Slope Food Coop, and will be moving into Whole Foods and Fairway in the next couple of weeks.