“Ice Cream Club” Coming to DC

by Prince Of Petworth July 26, 2010 at 11:00 am 31 Comments

From an email:

We’re starting an ice cream club. A what? Consider this: In the hottest summer ever, an unemployed chef has been sitting at home with an industrial-sized ice cream maker at his fingertips. What do you think he’s been up to?

Our “club” will work like a CSA, or community-support agriculture—a produce-buying scheme where members pay a farmer at the beginning of the season and receive a load of fruits and veggies every week.

Here’s what we’ve got to offer: Every week of our club includes six 4-ounce portions of ice cream and sorbet—that’s equivalent to 1½ pints of Ben & Jerry’s—that was churned no more than 48 hours before you get to eat it. We’re trying out the club for the steamy month of August, and “membership” options include one, two, three, or four weeks.

I’ll be curious to know what you guys think of the prices.

Details after the jump.

What flavors do I get?
Every week will include four portions of ice cream (two flavors) and two portions of sorbet (both the same flavor). When possible, we’ll get ingredients and inspiration from the surrounding area—that’s to say, it’ll change every week. If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, let us know. We don’t discriminate!

Who is this guy making my ice cream?
Daniel O’Brien was mostly recently the executive sous chef at Bibiana. Before that, he was the sous chef at Equinox restaurant. He’s also worked in Boston and upstate New York. Dan is originally from a little town outside of Rochester, New York, where he grew up on a farm and got his start in a pizzeria.

Where do I get my ice cream?
We’re asking that members pick up the ice cream at our house (13th and Corcoran, NW). Once you’re signed up, we’ll email out the pickup times. And we might even let you see the machine if you’re lucky. No, Dan won’t be wearing overalls like your CSA dude.

How much does it cost?
The more you buy, the cheaper it is (and the cooler you stay all summer). Here are the prices:
One week: $15
Two weeks: $25
Three weeks: $35
Four weeks: $45
(Keep in mind that it’s six 4-ounce portions—so that’s your USDA daily recommended dose of ice cream. Oh, and it was churned, like, yesterday.)

How do I pay?
Please drop off cash or a check (made out to Daniel O’Brien) with your first pickup.

Where do I sign up?
E-mail Daniel O’Brien at [email protected] with your name and how many weeks you’re interested in. We can accept up to 30 members per week.

  • Kustie the Klown

    This is hilarious. I just bought an industrial ice cream machine of my own and have been whipping out flavor creations for my friends. This weekend I made peach, coffee chip and Dr Pepper flavors, using all fresh ingredients (well, except for the DrP for which i made DrP reductions of 2 different viscosities–one to mix into the batch, and a super thick one that i dropped into the mixture as it churned, to form caramelized ribbons of pure DrP syrup).

    Good stuff. WAY better than anything you can buy in the stores, and cost of production is less than $1 per pint.

  • victoria

    Can I be your friend?

  • Anonymous

    “I’ll be curious to know what you guys think of the prices.”

    Well, at a $1.88 to $2.50 per 4 once portion, I’d say that’s a very fair price.

    What’s the ice cream and sorbet like ?

  • Anonymous

    Too expensive. This rivals Dolcezza prices– and we have no idea if the quality even comes close to Dolcezza (e.g., where does the milk come from– what quality ingredients are used, etc.).

  • Parkwood Person

    It’s spendy… Asking consumers to pay 15 bucks for a less than a quart of ice cream (that’s not served to them at a fancy restaurant) seems unrealistic… but I suppose that’s what he’s got to charge to make it viable as a small scale operation, and I admire his optimism. For the price, I’d probably make my own, but I think the idea of an ice cream “csa” its a great concept. If I had allergies/dietary restrictions etc, it would be great, and maybe worth the premium price.

    He might be better off wholesaling to restaurants.

  • Kustie the Klown

    Of course, there are also the crucial questions of (1) whether the guy running the club has filed all the requisite paperwork for his DC business license, (2) whether his property is zoned for use as a restaurant, and (3) whether the city has inspected his kitchen to make sure that all of his equipment is to code.

    If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then he must be reported and shut down immediately, before he harms the public and the city with his renegade, illegal business operation.

    • victoria

      I’m taking back the friend request

      • Kustie the Klown

        Hey Victoria, i’m just engaging in one of DC’s finest and most venerated traditions: Entity A using the city’s deliberately onerous reg structure, rather than superior product, to prevent Entity B from being able to compete.

      • Anonymous


        I’m with victoria.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, harsh. And that’s coming from a lawyer.

  • Firefly

    Is the farmer local? Are the ingredients organic, humane, and rGHB-free?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds illegal. DC has very strict regs on ice cream sellers due to how perishable dairy products and eggs are. While I agree that DC makes it wayyy too hard to run a business here, you should definitely be inspected/regulated if you’re going to sell products that can seriously make people very sick or die if not done properly.

  • DC Gal

    Does paying $15 a week for custom ice cream make my ass look big?

    • Daddy

      Yes. I’ll spot you for the 4-week plan. ;P

  • Dan
    • Anonymous

      Do you have the proper license/inspection to operate the business (“club”)?

      • Who cares?

        To Anonymous: Why do you care if he has the proper license? This is more of an underground thing—the type of clubs, etc. that are making the DC food scene more fun. If you don’t like that he has or doesn’t have a license, then don’t join the club. There are a number of underground supper clubs that don’t have licenses, but it makes everything more fun around here. Unless you’re the health department, you’re literally just raining on his parade for trying to get that out of him. What’s it to you anyway?

        • Anonymous

          Hardly underground when it’s on a popular blog for the world to see.

          It’s not fair to vendors in town who have to shell out some bucks and time to do things by the book, like Max’s or Larry’s. If they have to compete with folks who run businesses “underground”.

          I think this guy has a great idea and I bet his ice cream tastes really good, but he should do it properly with the correct license and c of o.

          • Anonymous

            what percentage of the city do you think reads this blog?

  • Dan

    I do have a Food Protection Managers Certificate, the club is a business the name is Seasonal Pantry inc. I am working on getting a storefront in the Shaw area. As for making the ice cream, I have kitchen space in DC and good relations with chefs and dry ice as it will cut into my budget is also easy to get. Thanks “Who Cares” I’m just another chef working to get me a piece of the pie.
    Ice Cream Club by Dan just a few more spots [email protected]

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but no mention of a C of O, though, which means no inspection, no license. Of all “underground” food enterprises, DCRA monitors ice cream more closely precisely because of (as Anonymous said) the perishability factor. AND…WHY? WHY? Would you be so naive as to not only give your name, but your home address…on a blog?! Yikes. Are you familiar with how this anti-small business city operates? I would suggest a visit to DCRA to see for yourself.

  • Dan

    To Anonymous:
    If you Ice cream in a restaurant that is license and inspected and there is 2 people with a food handlers permit. Then transported the ice cream to be picked up at a location for the people..What law am I Breaking?…sorry to say it but you got nothing Anonymous but a bad attitude.
    Thanks.. there are still spaces open about 15 more please get you’re hand crafted Ice Cream Club membership for the month of Aug. at [email protected]

    • Anonymous

      you can’t sell ice cream (no matter where it’s made) out of a home without a c of o and license for the home you’re selling out of. that’s the law you’re breaking.

  • skippy

    For those who don’t know a C of O is a Certificate of Occupancy allowing a number of people into a space. To have a C of O one must have a health inspection, a fire inspection when in the food business. however if this Ice Cream Club guy is not letting people eat at his house and they are picking it up. That what it says in the info why would he need a C of O? What C of O does a street cart have?

    • Anonymous

      Street carts operate under a different regulation, which is about to be changed apparently. You don’t eat at a carry out joint, but they still need a C of O.

  • Anonymous

    Tough crowd.

    Good luck and best wishes to you, Dan.

    (Chances are that most that write here don’t produce much of anything at the end of their miserable day, other than try to opine, impede, regulate and make miserable others who do produce and make something of value and something of their lives. -You know, the elitist urban collectivist.)

    • Anonymous

      unless someone writing here actually spent years saving money and spending money to open an ice cream shop legally and doesn’t appreciate someone skirting the law to create competition on the cheap.

  • Anonymous

    My friends call me a foodie. I don’d mind paying top dollar for something…if it is worth it. But….15 bucks for a pint and a 1/2 of ice cream, that I have to pick up seems outrageous!!

  • Anonymous

    Given the investment- cost of machine, ingredients, and time- I think the price is very fair. and cudos to the guy who came up with the idea. I can walk a few blocks from my place to pick it up, you can’t get more “locally sourced” than that. as for those crapping on the idea because he didn’t spend 2 years running the DC red tape gauntlet to get paperwork- don’t buy it if it bothers you. geez.

  • Kustie the Klown

    I was joking about all the laws and licenses and regs or whatever, because i oppose those regs. I would be interested to know how many commenters here, who LOVE the reg structure and all the stupid laws that keep people from following their dreams of opening their own business, suddenly want to look the other way or just make an exception, because they like ice cream.

    If these laws are good for the restaurant or storefront down the street, then they are good for the guy making ice cream out of his home.

    Personally, i think the laws aren’t good for anyone except the politically connected and the already established business.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you. I think the ice cream dude probably wanted the publicity from a blog post, but didn’t realize that DCRA reads this blog and likes easy targets for enforcement.


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