By Julia Moro
Just in time for the summer season, a new ice cream shop has opened in Astoria. On the busy corner of 30th Avenue and 34th Street, Astoria welcomed Ample Hills Creamery.
The line was around the corner at the grand opening of the shop last Friday with Astoria natives anxious to get a taste of the ice cream. The flavors include Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (creamy vanilla ice cream with hunks of St. Louis-style Ooey Gooey Butter Cake), The Munchies (pretzel-infused ice cream with clusters of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels and mini M&Ms), and Peppermint Pattie (peppermint ice cream with semi-sweet chocolate flakes and homemade dark-chocolate-covered peppermint patties).
Among all of these Ample Hills classics, the menu included a flavor special to the borough – “Nectar of the Queens.” This flavor features a smooth honey cinnamon ice cream base mixed with pieces of Baklava and Galaktoboureko (a creamy custard pie) from the local favorite, Artopolis Bakery.
This flavor pays homage to the neighborhood’s Greek heritage. The owners of Ample Hills, Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, believe strongly that their stores should be authentic and never feel like a chain.
“We want every shop to look different and feel different. Every shop has a custom flavor that’s unique to that location,” Smith said.
Ample Hills Creamery first opened in 2011 in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. Now the business has spread to 10 locations, including Gotham West Market in Manhattan, Jersey City and Orlando, Fla., and more.
Smith said that he is always looking for more locations to open the ice cream shop.
One woman who has been living in Astoria for almost 10 years said that Astoria had been missing one thing – a good ice cream shop. And it’s for that reason that Smith decided to open another one of his shops here.
“At the end of the day, there’s not a lot of great ice cream in Astoria,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of great food but not a lot of great ice cream.”
With the opening of the new location of Ample Hills, Astoria natives are pleased to have an ice cream shop right around the corner.
The shop has comfortable booths and counter seating that can accommodate about 25 people inside. The tasty ice cream comes in cups of various sizes or a cone. Customers can also purchase pint containers to take home.
The creamery is open year round Sunday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Reach reporter Julia Moro by e-mail at jmoro