Call it “Invasion of the Ice Cream Snatchers — The Sequel”!
The second chapter in the stranger-than-fiction story behind Ample Hills Creamery began on Wednesday as sci-fi writer turned ice-cream vendor Brian Smith reversed his Vanderbilt Avenue shop’s disastrous debut — when hoardes of sugar-crazed aliens ate him out of business in just four days.
For most of last weekend and this week, Smith was creating a new supply of his beloved, yet short-lived, flavors, including Salted Crack Caramel, Peppermint Patty and The Elvis Impersonator (predictably, a banana and peanut butter creation).
“Hopefully, we’ll be a little ahead of the curve this time,” Smith said, recalling both the cheery events of May 25 and the somber closure of the store for lack of product on May 28. “There are a lot of processes in place now that I didn’t have in place then. We’re going to try and get it right.”
Getting it right has meant several changes to Smith’s original game plan:⎯ more ingredients, more room to sit, more training of staff members, new goodies on the menu and, last but not least, more ice cream.
“We’ve got ice cream cakes, we’ve got 275 gallons of ice cream, we’ve got hot fudge and caramel, we’ve got everything I think,” said Smith as he waited for the throngs to come in. “We’re prepared, so bring in the crowds.”
Smith and company were ready for the second wave, but will it materialize? Co-owner Jackie Cuscana is certain of it.
“Well, it’s hot again. So, yeah, I do expect the same success — and we’re ready,” said co-owner, Jackie Cuscana, as she nodded towards the window.
The heat is on figuratively, too. After all, no one wants to see a repeat of the original debacle, when Ample Hills opened with just 130 gallons of ice cream — and 400 gallons worth of customers.
At that point, Smith penned a less-than-Hollywood ending: the store was closed and plans on how to run the business were redrafted.
Ample Hills Creamery [623 Vanderbilt Ave. at St. Marks Avenue, (347) 240-3926].