This time, ‘Ample Hills’ of ice cream are promised

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Get ready for “Invasion of the Ice Cream Snatchers — The Sequel”!

The second chapter in the stranger-than-fiction story behind Ample Hills Creamery begins on Wednesday as sci-fi writer turned ice-cream vendor Brian Smith prepares to reverse 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 the weekend, Smith has been 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 stay 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 will mean having more than 130 gallons of from-scratch ice cream on hand at Wednesday’s grand re-opening. That quantity sounded like a lot when Smith opened at noon on May 25 at St. Marks Avenue, but it wasn’t enough to stop the invaders.

“It was crazy,” Smith said. “I planned to have two people serving and myself making [the ice cream]. But we ended up having three working constantly at the counter. Lines were 20 people deep for six to eight hours everyday. It overwhelmed us very literally.”

Salted Crack Caramel was, obviously, the first to disappear, given its ample hills of caramelized sugar.

Flavor after flavor continued to bite the dust until the store was scraping the barrel of its last flavor, Bubble Gum, by 9:30 pm on May 28.

At that point, Smith penned a less-than-Hollywood ending: the store was closed and the gameplan was redrafted. Since the closure, ingredients have been purchased, ice cream has been made, staff has been trained and, most important, the location has remained the same.

“This location is magic,” Smith said, referring to his “sweet spot” on a major cycling route linking Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights to Prospect Park.

The sequel begins on Wednesday at noon, and this time, Smith said he would be ready for the second wave.

“Luckily, I’ve trained more people now and have more gallons of flavors in reserve,” Smith said.

Ample Hills Creamery [623 Vanderbilt Ave. at St. Marks Avenue, (347) 240-3926].

Updated 1:14 pm, June 6, 2011: Turns out, the grand reopening is on Wednesday.
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Reader Feedback

Amy Sara Clark from Prospect Heights says:
The most recent update (confirmed with the owner, Brian Smith, at 8 p.m. tonight) is that the shop will open Wednesday, not Tuesday.
June 6, 2011, 8:01 pm
Rob from Dumbo says:
for the "crack caramel" do you wait til it melts and suck it through a glass pipe? Is that some kind of back in the day comment about the neighborhood?
Aug. 1, 2011, 2:53 pm

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