Most afternoons, the nook of Irving Place and nineteenth Avenue in Manhattan is overtaken by a snaking line of uncommonly enthusiastic individuals. (That is New York, in spite of everything.) Snoop on their conversations, and also you’ll overhear the form of fever and connoisseurship normally reserved for an Arc’teryx drop—solely they’re right here for a decidedly extra perishable type of restricted launch: ice cream from Caffè Panna.
Proprietor Hallie Meyer has created one thing extraordinarily uncommon: a hyped New York Metropolis meals that really delivers. Sorry, rainbow bagels. It helps that she’s an actual taste maximalist who dares to combine pretzel brown sugar ice cream with pretzel brittle, peach ripple, and soft-baked cinnamon cobbler “blobs.” Then there are the day by day adventures with affogato: a pile of vanilla and banana cinnamon ice cream topped with peanut butter cups, crunchy graham cracker brittle, whipped panna (aka Italian heavy cream) straight from Piemonte, and a shot of espresso. It’s like consuming a banana muffin with espresso, solely infinitely extra indulgent.
The daughter of lauded Union Sq. Hospitality Group restaurateur Danny Meyer, she bought her begin scooping cones on the native ice cream store whereas attending faculty in New Haven. However her infatuation with ice cream actually took off in Southern Italy, the place Meyer labored at an agriturismo and made it her mission to eat at each gelateria in sight. “I fell in love with the tradition—the way you go to the identical place for espresso within the morning, then an affogato or gelato within the afternoon,” she says.
After cooking on the Rome Sustainable Meals Venture in 2017, Meyer started promoting her personal ice cream at Mottley Kitchen within the South Bronx, the place she was instructing by means of AmeriCorps. The seeds have been planted for a full-time ice cream store as a following amongst associates and ice cream lovers grew, and Meyer returned to Italy to work on the famend Roman gelateria Otaleg to finalize her dream. When Meyer returned to the USA, Caffè Panna was born. The result's an Italian-accented ice cream (not gelato) store, with olive oil and amari sourced straight from Sicily however loads of American-style mix-ins.
“There are issues I really like about Italian gelateria tradition and their means of manufacturing, and in addition issues I really like about conventional American ice cream. I wish to assume I’ve melded the 2 sides of ice cream and gelato that I really like most and mushed them collectively into Caffè Panna,” Meyer says. “We’re undoubtedly not making an attempt to be genuine right here in any means—we’re simply genuine to ourselves.”
Right here, Meyer talks about her method towards constructing balanced flavors, cultivating hype, and her favourite bodega ice cream.
To start out, I heard you simply bought married. How was your wedding ceremony? Did you may have ice cream for dessert?
In fact we did! My workforce very diligently produced round 900 mini pints, which is the format we love to do greatest for weddings. It’s mainly like these Häagen-Dazs dixie cups however mini Caffè Panna. We did two totally different flavors for the rehearsal dinner, one with honey from my uncle-in-law’s bees in Guam.
For the marriage itself on Saturday, we determined to do a taste for every of our mother and father. My husband’s mother and father had mocha almond fudge and key lime pie. My mother had vanilla candy cream with a peanut butter swirl—it’s a basic at Caffè Panna known as Aud’s Dream—and Danny’s Mint Chip, which is my dad’s favourite taste: contemporary mint. Then we additionally had vanilla and cookies and panna as a result of some individuals want their Oreo repair.
Caffè Panna has grow to be recognized for these very maximalistic affogatos and sundaes. How do you go about constructing all these layers of taste?
I write a manufacturing sheet that adjustments each single week. I determine the pints and tubs we need to produce—which grow to be scoops and sundaes—plus flavors for tender serve and our wholesale companions. The common sundaes usually function extra fruity, olive oil-y flavors that we need to converse on their very own with out espresso. It’s normally gonna be the extra nutty, caramelly, chocolate cookie flavors for the affogato as a result of these play nicely with espresso.
I’ve seen individuals ready in line for the weekly pint drops. How do you construct that form of hype and enchantment?
We name it the Pokémon technique—how it's important to accumulate all of the pint flavors as a result of they alter each week. I hope it’s as a result of the flavors are resonating and individuals are getting out of their consolation zone. “Sure, I need to get cookies and panna each week, however I didn’t know I’d like olive oil nocciola, and I did, so I ought to go forward and check out contemporary mint this week.”
I’m a fruity ice cream particular person; I eat strawberry ice cream each evening. The numbers present individuals like chocolaty cookie flavors extra, however I’m nonetheless on the campaign, and my clients are beginning to eat fruit extra. Who received’t like tremendous contemporary strawberries cooked down into an ideal jam and swirled by means of the ice cream?
Did you get any recommendation on operating a restaurant out of your dad, Danny Meyer?
He fortunately stays out of it except I ask him for recommendation. I’ll ask him to educate me by means of laborious convos with staff, however apart from that, I don’t need my mother and father telling me easy methods to do issues, like anybody wouldn’t.
And what’s your go-to bodega ice cream?
The one I eat nightly isn’t Caffè Panna—it’s Häagen-Dazs strawberry. It's the strawberry ice cream I aspire to after we make it right here. They've a stunningly lovely product with a easy, clear ingredient listing—you possibly can’t go fallacious. I’ve executed these side-by-side style checks with it and another strawberry available on the market, and it's the strawberriest.