One part delicious dessert and one part nostalgia, the soft serve trend has really taken off — and years after chef Christina Tosi popularized it with her cereal milk version at Milk Bar. Now spots all over NYC have joined in on the trend including elevated versions from high-end restaurants and bakeries. Check out these 10 this summer.
Dominique Ansel Kitchen
The soft serve window at Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel's West Village outpost is back for the season, serving up its signature, from-scratch burrata soft serve topped with balsamic caramel and microbasil, with a confit strawberry at the bottom of each handmade honey tuile cone. New for this year, a rotating second flavor is added to the mix: right now until the end of July, it’s cold-brew soft serve topped with anise biscotti and milk foam. In August, look for white peach soft serve with salted pistachios and lavender honey; and dark chocolate olive oil soft serve with fig agrodolce and sea salt in September. If you can’t decide between burrata and the limited-time flavor, you can order them swirled together and enjoy both soft serves and sets of toppings.
137 Seventh Avenue South; 212-242-5111
The charming back garden at Olmsted seems to offer a never-ending array of Instagrammable delights from its crawfish bathtub to live quail to s'mores in the fall. The latest addition: a soft serve machine. A changing lineup of summery soft serve flavors will be swirled inside the recently expanded garden at this Prospect Heights eatery. Current flavors — vanilla violet and strawberry — are served in wafer cones with hard-shell dips like rhubarb and white chocolate.
659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-552-2610
Mah Ze Dahr Bakery
Elevating childhood favorites was the inspiration behind chef-owner Umber Ahmad's decision to add soft serve at this critically acclaimed West Village bakery and cafe, where every element is made in-house. From the substantial stroopwafel cones that won’t fall apart to the toppings like chocolate brownie bites (made with Valrhona chocolate), candied hazelnuts and vanilla meringue kisses, Ahmad is taking the soft serve experience to another level. As an added touch, a hard-shell chocolate sauce lines the bottom of the cone and solidifies when the ice cream touches it. Available in two flavors, Madagascar vanilla bean and dark chocolate, toppings are layered as the ice cream is put into the cone for optimal distribution and enjoyment.
28 Greenwich Ave.; 212-498-9810
Supercrown Coffee Roasters
You can get your coffee and soft serve fix at the same time thanks to this Bushwick coffee roaster, which debuted a coffee soft serve just last week. It’s made with Ronnybrook cream and a housemade coffee syrup crafted using one of its blends, Sol, with notes of chocolate, black cherry and toffee. It’s topped with rainbow sprinkles and also available as a milkshake and in a float.
Serving up an always vegan chocolate and vanilla twist soft serve, this week the Lower East Side parlor debuts a deliciously creamy and refreshing blueberry soft serve in collaboration with Josh Pond, an organic farm in Whiting, Maine, that specializes in these flavorful berries. Part of Josh Pond ice cream week, where ice cream shops across Manhattan create flavors highlighting the farm’s wild Maine blueberries, this vegan soft serve is available for a limited time.
2 Rivington Street; 212-209-7684
Missy Robbins' Italian mega-hit in Williamsburg offers vanilla and chocolate soft serve gelato finished with optional toppings: lemony walnuts, amaretti cookies, sprinkles and chocolate stracci for vanilla and salted hazelnuts, espresso-chocolate powder and candied citrus for chocolate gelato. Off the menu is “The Italian Job,” featuring soft serve, sea salt, honey and olive oil. During truffle season, customers can order the “Italian Job Deluxe,” which adds shaved truffle.
567 Union Ave., Brooklyn; 718-576-3095
OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
The mad ice cream scientists at OddFellows have added soft serve to their lineup, swirling colorful combinations like miso peanut butter, passionfruit and vanilla bean, and matcha and cherry swirl at the Williamsburg scoop shop. Its signature vegan soft serves are offered exclusively at Seamore’s locations, with flavors including toasted coconut, strawberry rhubarb and pink lemonade.
175 Kent Ave., Brooklyn; 347-599-0556
From the team behind Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad, this elevated casual concept in NoMad has just one dessert on the menu — a milk and honey soft serve. A simple yet elegant sweet treat, it features milk ice cream topped with honey brittle, oat shortbread and buckwheat honey.
Just opened last week, this Flatiron Korean BBQ spot is not a place you would expect to find soft serve on the menu. But here you'll find a housemade vanilla soft serve with daily changing toppings (think sprinkles, cubed watermelon and bananas Foster) as a sweet ending to its butcher’s feast prix fixe meal.
16 W. 22nd St.; 212-401-7986
Known for its thrice-cooked fries, this Lower East Side kitchen combines spuds and soft serve. Debuting this weekend, this sweet and savory treat features thinly sliced fried potatoes tossed in a housemade honey butter glaze, Tahitian vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey butter.
124 Ludlow St.; 646-682-7578