At a little before 12:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, I showed up at 132 Orchard Street, probably just a little more excited than a kid at Christmastime, in eager anticipation of the opening of Melt Bakery‘s new storefront location. I’ve been following these guys around (literally) since I fell in love with their ice cream sandwiches with that first bite of the Jack (pumpkin ice cream nestled between two crisp, spiced molasses cookies) at the initial Grub Street-Hester Street Fair food festival in 2010.
Since then, I’ve gotten to know co-founders Kareen Hamady and Julian Plyter and have watched from the sidelines, usually while nibbling on a Lovelet or a Morticia, as they have taken their business from a single cart at the Hester Street Fair to an additional spot on The Highline to participating in local food events, like the upcoming Cook Out NYC, with their fan base growing by leaps and bounds along the way.
It’s no wonder that their followers keep coming back for more of these sweet treats. Julian’s well-crafted, perfectly formed cookies with their mix of crumbly and chewy textures combined with cool, dreamy ice cream in bold flavors, make these the ideal snack to indulge in while shopping in the markets or taking a stroll in the sunshine. It’s not a surprise, then, that each season their creations appear on the must-eat lists of the local magazines.
“We’re excited to be here and have opened after a two-week delay,” Julian told me, a stop-work order on the storefront next door indicating a potential explanation as to the reason for that. As I ate my first Morticia of this ice cream season, I watched passers-by, families with strollers, hip young things, clothing hawkers, and tourists stop by the brightly-labeled ice cream cart to take a peak at their selections and to talk to them about this new neighborhood locale. “That red velvet was f-ing fantastic!” exclaimed one customer, returning to the cart just to express his delight.
“How many calories?” another one them asked. “More than an apple and bigger than [a fast food burger],” replied Julian. The customer sighed, sly child-like grin on his face, and picked up his ice cream sandwich, heading on his way. “Oh, man! I’m going to come back,” said another, “Ice cream sandwiches.” It’s really great to see that the Melt Bakery guys have found a home and some more ardent fans on this ever-changing stretch of the Lower East Side.