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A taste of the Gowanus: Popular ice cream shop to offer ‘toxic sludge’ flavor

Movin’ on over: Ample Hills Creamery co-owner Brian Smith plans to open a second outpost of the popular sweet shop in Gowanus by May.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Gowanus is getting a taste of its own medicine.

The popular Prospect Heights ice cream shop Ample Hills Creamery is opening a bigger location in an industrial building on Union Street at Nevins Street by Memorial Day. The outpost will offer a special-to-Gowanus “toxic sludge” flavor, inspired by the cancerous glop lurking at the bottom of the fetid inlet that gives the neighborhood its name, the shop’s co-owner said.

“It will probably involve chocolate,” Ample Hills honcho Ben Smith told the New York Daily News about the work-in-progress flavor.

Toxic sludge aside, the sweets purveyor is going to try to stick to the recipe that has been packing people into its flagship store since it opened in 2011.

“Our biggest challenge is to keep the quality and keep doing things in the exact same way — just with more ice cream,” Smith said.

Ample Hills makes its own ice cream and the huge new outpost will feature 24 flavors, eight more than the Vanderbilt Avenue location currently boasts. The two-floor space will also contain an upstairs party room with ice-cream-making classes for kids and adults, as well as a massive outdoor terrace with a view of the Manhattan skyline.

“We were looking for a place where we could build out a large factory space,” said Smith.

Smith and his wife Jackie Cuscuna plan to install two ice-cream makers — one that can produce 12 gallons of ice cream every 15 minutes, and one that makes six — and a 99-gallon pasteurizer, which will triple or quadruple the capacity of their first store.

The pair decided to open the original Ample Hills after growing tired of their careers in screenwriting and teaching.

“The driving impetus was just the career change,” Smith said. “I find that I’m a much better ice cream maker than a screenwriter.”

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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