In anticipation of Brooklyn Bounty, BHS’s premier fundraiser at 26 Bridge on October 22nd, we are profiling our participating restaurants and honorees of the Food & Heritage Awards. Below is a profile of OddFellows Ice Cream Company, one of the sweet and chilled participants in our evening’s tasting menu. Ice Cream is year-round!
Right on the corner of Kent Avenue and North 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a small ice cream parlor with big flavors. OddFellows Ice Cream Co. is passionate about their innovative and contemporary ice cream flavor combinations as well as their nods to classics. Mohan Kumar and Sam Mason are the co-founders of Odd fellows, churning out flavors of ice cream that you’ve only dreamed of for your next midnight snack. With over 130 flavors offered in only 16 months of being open, OddFellows will be able to satisfy any taste bud on your tongue.
“She craved fried chicken or coconut water ice cream”
Where did this demand for new tastes come from? It all started with Mohan’s wife, Holiday. In 2011, Holiday Kumar was well into her pregnancy and having the most peculiar cravings: fried chicken on ice cream, coconut water, grilled cheese. Their good friend and well-known WD~50 pastry chef Sam Mason helped out by whipping up a pint of his pretzel ice cream, and ta da! The spark of an idea is born.
Sweet and salty, fruity and smoked, dinner for dessert. OddFellows has not made a fried chicken ice cream just yet, but they are proudly offering flavors like “Purple Rice,” “Edamame,” “Cornbread,” and “Prosciutto Melon.” Have you every had a scoop of “Foie Gras” ice cream? I had the pleasure of tasting the small batches that were featured for the day of my visit, and after finishing all 12 tasting spoons, Lemon Meringue Pie was my ultimate favorite. Side note: OddFellows also serves one “Odd Flavor” a day, a very small batch of the most unique flavor of the day. On the day of my visit, I got the chance to taste Caramelized Onion with Raisin Caramel and Fried Walnuts.
No matter how many crazy flavors you make, you can’t forget sprinkles. – Inside the OddFellows kitchen.
“I wanna eat ice cream with someone with a big beard”
When I spoke with Sam and Mohan, I asked them who would be the perfect person to sit down and share an Odd Fellows cone with. Mohan’s first thought was Joe Biden, because he appreciates his lighthearted personality and love of food culture, especially ice cream. “I think he’d be a really fun guy to have ice cream with.” Sam suggested Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings, because wouldn’t anyone with a great beard would make for an interesting ice cream buddy?
“Every ice cream parlor is judged by their vanilla”
If you don’t have a good vanilla, people won’t be as interested. Even though OddFellows is known for their odd flavors, Mohan taught me that having a solid vanilla is key to a successful ice cream parlor. Sam and the team have perfected theirs by using a combination of Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans. All of the bases for their ice cream are pasteurized in-house. This allows OddFellows to serve high quality and fresh ice cream that is truly homemade. The additional remixing that Sam does to create depth complements the base of the ice cream so well, allowing for nuggets of surprising textures and tastes without losing the integrity of a confident scoop of ice cream. The waffle cones are also made fresh daily, and Sam Mason just added his homemade sodas to the menu, in case you want some fizz in your ice cream.
OddFellows is a hybrid carnival dressing room and ice cream parlor. As you enjoy your scoops in the shop, you can look around and discover shelves with many different oddities and unique trinkets that play into the identity of OddFellows. Clyde is their unofficial mascot, a special musical monkey who has been passed down in Sam Mason’s family for many years. “Ice Cream Jesus” is a crowd favorite. The two masks on the very top shelf are ceremonial objects from the original Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization focused on giving back to the community. OddFellows ice cream is not at all affiliated with this organization, but they admired their mission of looking out for members of the community and sticking together any way that they can.
Two scoops of Thai Tea Ice Cream – you can wipe the drool off your computer screen now –
OddFellows Ice Cream Co. is re-shaping the culinary landscape of Brooklyn every time they open up shop at noon. It’s the attention to detail that I really admire about OddFellows. Precision, play, and passion in the recipes and overall environment that Mohan, Sam, and Holiday welcome into the parlor is what makes OddFellows such a bright and interesting place for dessert. It balances timeless comfort food and a contemporary commentary on dessert. It is innovative without being snobby or too trendy. Mohan, Sam, Loretta the ice cream maker, and Patsy the pasteurizer are able to create flavors that might usually be served at a high-end restaurant in an “elevated, deconstructed” way. These flavors are respected just as much as a notable chef’s signature dish, but are packed within a simple scoop of ice cream accessible to everyone.
We are feeling like a kid on their tip-toes peeking through the glass ice cream freezer in anticipation for OddFellows’ feature in this year’s Brooklyn Bounty 2014. They will be scooping a special seasonal flavor for this event, we can’t wait to find out which one they will serve!