They’ve got the scoop on local history.
The latest branch of a Brooklyn ice cream chain uses its historic location and delicious sweets to uncover the rich history of the borough. Ample Hills Creamery, now open at Fulton Ferry Landing in Dumbo, serves a creamy dessert inspired by the favorite foods of the Bard of Brooklyn, said the scoop shop’s founder.
“Two of Whitman’s favorite foods were coffee cakes and donuts, so we took those and added them to ice cream, and made a new flavor,” said Brian Smith. “It’s not the same recipes he used, but it’s close enough.”
The new shop, the 15th operated by the chain, debuted on June 13 with the flavor “I Contain Breakfast Foods” — a play on Walt Whitman’s famous line “I contain multitudes.”
The Ample Hills ice cream chain takes its name from a line in Whitman’s classic poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” and often cooks up flavors that evoke stories close to the hearts of Smith and his wife and co-founder Jackie Cuscuna.
“We try to think creatively about how to tell stories through ice cream,” said Smith. “We really have fun creating a story and then making an ice cream to tell that story.”
The ice cream maestro said he had to double down on the Whitman symbolism for the new location, which occupies a historic fireboat house at the same Fulton Ferry Landing where the famed wordsmith found inspiration for the poem that inspired the name of the ice creamery.
“We have a signature flavor in every location,” said Smith. “It’s one of the ways we’re able to tell the story of that location, and that particular neighborhood.”
The Ferry Landing was home to the first mass-transport system bridging Kings County and Manhattan, and during the 19th Century, the advent of the steamboat allowed for speedier travel, leading to massive development in Brooklyn as a suburb of its densely populated neighbor.
“That spot transformed modern Brooklyn,” said Smith. “The birth of Brooklyn can be traced to this spot.”
The founders also have their own special history with the location, which was previously occupied by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, according to Smith.
“We had ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory the night before we got married. It’s an important place to us,” he said. “It’s like coming home to be in that building.”
Ample Hills Creamery at the Fulton Ferry Landing [1 Water St. at Old Fulton Street in Dumbo, (718) 874–2483, www.ample