CBSNewYork is paying homage to New York City food trucks this week by spotlights five of our favorites: The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Korilla BBQ, Wafels & Dinges, Kelvin Natural Slush Co. and Schnitzel & Things. Check back each day for a new feature.
By Siobhan Wallace
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On June 13, 2009, Big Gay Ice Cream made its grand and colorful debut in Park Slope during the Brooklyn Pride Festival. What most of the customers didn’t know was that it was owner Doug Quint’s first day making an ice cream cone – and things weren’t going so well.
“We weren’t prepared. We went in blind,” Quint said. Regardless of their opening jitters and mishaps, he said the day was “a blast.”
Running one of the city’s army of ice cream trucks wasn’t originally in the plans for Doug or his partner, Bryan. Doug was finishing up graduate school and simply needed a summer job, when his friend suggested the idea of running an ice cream truck.
He knew that if he wanted to succeed, he had to make his truck different. Not only did he outfit the truck with posters and signs, he also made up a rotating list of specials including the Choinkwich–a classic ice cream sandwich filled with caramelized bacon and Nutella–and fan favorite, the Salty Pimp–vanilla ice cream covered with dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate.
As that first summer progressed, Big Gay Ice Cream created quite the following. They found their sweet spot in a regular parking space on the corner of East 17th Street and Broadway.
Before they knew it, they were working 18-hour days. What made the long hours bearable? For Quint, the answer is simple.
“Making people laugh,” he said. “And winning over skeptics.”
The long hours soon gave way to a long season – running the truck from April until October wasn’t enough. Doug and Bryan started setting their eyes on having their year-round store, too.
They decided on a space in the East Village, calling the neighborhood the best “reflection of us.”
As for the future, they’re hoping to open one or two more locations around the city, but, like many other food truck vendors in the city, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck crew said things are looking “terrifying” for the actual truck.
“The cops have started ticketing. The city’s really trying to criminalize it.”
“I love seeing people walk down the street with ice cream,” he said.
What’s so criminal about that?
Siobhan Wallace is the co-founder of BlondieandBrownie.com.