There is no doubt that, exterior wise, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is the most aesthetically pleasing of all the ice cream shops in the city. It’s on the Brooklyn Waterfront in DUMBO, just down the block from Grimaldi’s Pizza. And based on the lines here (I waited 20 minutes), people often wait in the long queues for pizza and then head over here to wash down all that cholesterol with a good deal of milkfat.

The ice cream factory is in an old converted firehouse that looks like a light house and makes you feel like you’re in a harbor town. And in a sense, you are. There’s the new Brooklyn Bridge Park and lots of other food vendors and park attractions to occupy your day. And if you really wanted to, you could technically go for a swim (although I don’t recommend it).

Strangely enough, there are two locations of Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory within a stone’s throw of each other (there’s a third in Greenpoint). On the weekends, the Factory has a stand outside the store as almost an express line. But for some reason, everybody clammers into the shop.

The interior is not much to look at. It’s sort of designed in an old school ice cream parlor style. But instead of a soda bar or a jukebox, there’s just boxes and empty freezers lying around, with maybe a few tables and chairs. So if you ask me, it’s much prettier and worthwhile to buy your ice cream and hang outside on the pier, with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline as your background.

Where these guys do succeed at that classic ice cream shop feel is with their menu. They keep it simple by offering only eight classic flavors, but you can add good old fashioned toppings or even order a banana split. I can’t remember the last time I had a banana split. Hot fudge, sprinkles, whipped cream. This is what American ice cream is all about.

And the ice cream reminded me of another American classic: Breyer’s. They’re both full-fat, premium ice cream – nothing gourmet about them – and although they advertise using the freshest and most natural ingredients, I’m not sure that’s completely true. The ice cream is made on premises and it seemed to be fresh and soft, but the flavors were lacking that fresh off the farm kick.

Due to the zoo-like atmosphere (both behind the counter and in front of the counter), I decided to forgo most of my usual multiple tastings and just got a simple cone. I did taste the peaches and cream, which was basically vanilla ice cream with possibly canned peaches mixed in. I love peach ice cream and was hoping for that farm fresh peach experience, where you can even taste the fuzz. That wasn’t what happened here.

I ordered a cone of the coffee, my favorite flavor. And I was not surprised that it came wrapped up decorated with American flag paper. The ice cream was a little more bitter than I expected and I could almost tell that it was made with American coffee, as opposed to the more intense espresso. It was creamy, soft, but a little grainy. It was far from the best ice cream I’ve ever had, but it was enjoyable and comforting. And with views this spectacular, a summer family friendly vibe, and the possibility of a banana split, what more can I really ask for? Maybe a cherry on top?

Is Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory the best ice cream in NY? The experience alone is worth it, so it gets a 7 out of 10, and while flawed, the ice cream itself is simple, classic, and satisfying.

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Category: Ice Cream

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

2 Responses to EAST SHIVER VIEW (Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory)

  1. Dave Freeze says:

    I wish I had found you a couple of days sooner!I returned to Eastern Canada yesterday after five days in NYC on a family vacation and a search for great gelato/ice cream.I’ve started an i.c business a year ago and really wanted some worldclass benchmarks.After trying the BICF,Chinatown Ice Cream Factory,Stogo and finally Screme,I was severly disappointed by all but the last.Chinatown was o.k. but not premium.I agree wholeheartedly with your appraisal of BICF-also tried the peach,along with the strawberry and several others(one benefit of traveling with wife and four kids-multiple flavours!)I’m sure it’s out there but we had a limited time and radius.I did leave feeling that I produce a far superior product!!!- good for the morale!

  2. Brian Hoffman says:

    Sorry that NYC left you a little blah with the ice cream. I do admit we’re still waiting for our killer ice cream shop, but there are some great options out there. Sorry you missed out on Cones, Sundaes & Cones, and Il Labratorio del Gelato. Look for my webisode coming out in a week or so about the best ice cream in the city. And let me know next time you’re in town and I can try to help you with your search.

    Thanks for reading and good luck with your ice cream ventures. What’s the name of your company?

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