Arts & Culture

Local creameries offer ice cream however you like it

Welcome in the summer classic at Like No Udder, Three Sisters’, Tricycle Ice Cream

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 28, 2016

At a 40-minute walk from campus, Three Sisters may pose a challenge to Brown students. But its homemade flavors and fresh paninis are a big draw. Students can also opt for sweet treats on wheels closer to home.

As classes are cooling down, ice cream season is heating up.

The final month of the semester promises to be the sweetest yet, as warm temperatures begin to coax everyone’s favorite frozen delicacy out of hibernation. With new stands, new stores and new flavors, National Ice Cream Month is coming to Providence two months early.

The cart

In a few weeks, David Cass and Gio Salvador will begin riding their three-wheeled cart, Tricycle Ice Cream, across Providence, offering sweet-toothed residents a chance to return to their childhood days with crisply packed ice-cream sandwiches.

In the spring of 2014, Cass, a teacher and founder of a Newport pedicab business, and Salvador, a chef at Fred and Steve’s Steakhouse, decided to turn their respective entrepreneurial and culinary expertise into something tangible.

“I kind of have this fascination with tricycle-based businesses,” Cass said. But his knowledge in the world of ice cream was limited to a brief stint working at an ice cream parlor at the age of 14. With a degree from Johnson and Wales University, Salvador was able to pick up the slack, and the two soon began Providence’s only trike-led ice-cream stand.

Tricycle’s flavors read like a list of a grocery store’s top hits. Goat cheese ice cream with a cherry compote finds itself snug between two freshly baked slabs of lemon shortbread. Breakfast is revamped with a cereal milk ice cream coupled with a cornflake cookie.

The team takes its flavor hints from the seasons. “When blueberries are in season, we start thinking about ‘how do you make a blueberry cobbler into an ice cream sandwich?’” Cass said.

But not all their ice creams stem from such gourmet beginnings. Debuting last September, the two-man team created a potato chip cookie combined with a Callebaut chocolate and porter beer ice cream. For those with timider taste buds, the men served an apple pie cookie and apple spice ice cream as an alternative.

As the weather warms up, Cass and Salvador are preparing to get their business back on the road and expect to hit the Providence streets by the end of May. While the cart’s location fluctuates, Cass said Brown students looking to indulge can find them every Saturday at the Hope Street Farmers Market.

The truck

While Tricycle may be dominating the three-wheel ice cream business model, Like No Udder, Providence’s purple and polka-dotted all-vegan ice-cream truck, has a hold on the four-wheel market.

Like No Udder is the only vegan truck in Providence. But according to its owner, Karen Krinsky, the business has an even larger claim to fame. “As far as I know, I’m the world’s only vegan soft serve ice cream truck,” she said.

Krinsky bears an uncanny resemblance to the ice cream truck’s protagonist, a cow named Betsy Loo who rocks purple glasses and a gold nose ring. “The logo is designed after a photo of me in college,” she explains. Krinsky still dons a subtler nose ring and purple glasses, though she notes the shape of the frame has changed.

For the past seven years, Krinsky has been driving her distinctly eggplant-colored truck across Providence, often stopping at the corner of Waterman and Angell to serve dairy-abstaining Brunonians.

But beginning next week, Like No Udder will ditch its wheels for a storefront at 170 Ives St., the former home of East Side Creamery. Krinsky said she’ll still keep the truck around for the occasional event.

At the store, which opened for business Tuesday, Krinsky will continue to make her vegan soft-serve, intent on using “ingredients you can pronounce.” Her menu will expand to include 12 new types of hard ice cream in flavors ranging from mango lassi to Thai iced tea. Those less gastronomically adventurous can find comfort in the menu’s dependable strawberry and chocolate options.

A vegan for 23 years and a vegetarian for 30, Krinsky will make all her ice creams dairy-free, usually with a base of cashew or coconut milk. Meatless jerky will also be featured on the new menu, as will her most popular item, a chocolate peanut butter shake which she compares to “a liquid candy bar.”

The store

Those interested in pursuing ice cream with a little more dairy can head down to Three Sisters, the Hope Street hotspot frequented as much for its sundaes as its paninis.

For 10 years, Three Sisters has stood at the corner of Hope and Blackstone Boulevard. Every week, the store, named after owner Michael Stern’s three daughters, creates fresh batches of the ice cream in its basement, churning out 20 regular flavors along with three new specials weekly. The newest, “Purple Rain,” offers Prince-mourning customers comfort through a concoction of fresh mint, black raspberry and ground cocoa chips.

Though not all flavors are as culturally relevant, Three Sisters’ flavor list often makes a similar dive beyond traditional ice cream options. Past creations include grape nuts with vanilla and cinnamon, coffee and donuts and raspberry streusel. A month ago, the store began an ill-fated venture into the domain of avocado ice cream. “It just kind of became weird,” Stern said of the undertaking.

Despite the creativity of flavors, Three Sisters’ most popular option continues to be plain vanilla. Occasionally, more daring customers will suggest new flavors for the store to adopt, Stern said. Past customer-conceived ice creams include fluffernutter and cake batter, flavors Stern said were too Baskin-Robin-esque for the store to have imagined independently.

Unlike Tricycle and Like No Udder, Three Sisters doesn’t have the luxury of stepping on the gas and meeting its customers at their convenience. A 40-minute walking distance from Brown’s campus, the store may seem a better bet for Blackstone locals than students.

Whether these students and locals want their ice cream handed to them behind a cart or countertop, free of dairy or loaded with goat cheese, this season, Providence’s ice cream scene has them covered.