Although Friday marks the opening of Lake Effect Ice Cream's scoop shop for the season, owners Jason Wulf and Erik Bernardi have announced a flurry of other plans to expand over the next several months.
Wulf couldn't restrain his excitement during an interview last week, previewing everything from a one-of-a-kind ice cream truck, Lake Effect's new massive storage space and the likely expansion of scoop shops.
*Lake Effect's ice cream truck: Wulf has already grown accustomed to the three-wheel Cushman Truckster he purchased for a reasonable price off Craigslist, adjusting to the manual transmission in his journeys around Lockport.
The goal is to get the Lake Effect Flurry ice cream truck designed and equipped for business this summer, Wulf says, pointing to either June or July. The pilot truck will patrol Lockport neighborhoods first, selling freezies, ice cream sandwiches and select 8-ounce cups of Lake Effect ice cream.
"I'm visualizing a fleet of trucks eventually," Wulf said, "and they could work in tandem with [Buffalo's] food trucks, complementing [their offerings] with dessert."
For now, the truckster cannot (well, at least "should not") be driven on highways, so the prospect of a lethal meal-and-dessert combination at every food truck gathering is still off in the future.
The owners intend to recruit local bands to cover the "Ice Cream Truck Song," an idea spawned by Lake Effect ice-cream maker Ryan Bernardi, who originally suggested that the truck feature Van Halen's "Ice Cream Man." Regardless, expect Lake Effect to embrace fresh takes on tradition.
*What's up now at Lake Effect: When Lake Effect moved into its current shop in 2011, the jump from selling in grocery store freezers and at local events to a Lockport retail headquarters was considerable; clever ice cream flavors made from scratch with local ingredients drew fans far and wide, punctuated by huge lines on the final day of sales each year.
For these ice cream diehards, it's not "chocolate ice cream"; it's a carefully concocted cocoa blend that makes the flavor deeper and richer than generic chocolate tubs at the grocery store.
Wulf and Bernardi aren't afraid to get locals involved, either, as special "Punditella" was named after Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) and "Berns' Butterscotch Praline" was named after Ryan Bernardi, the 6'4-and-aggressively-bearded ice-cream maker.
The next step for Wulf and Bernardi, both teachers at Lockport High School, is moving ice cream production into a 7,000-square foot facility -- with a 40'-by-20' freezer -- which will not only allow the duo to expand its retail footprint into Rochester, but also to ship the Lake Effect product anywhere.
Although Wulf says there's "not much fanfare" to be expected for Friday's opening, the list of scoop flavors, posted to the brand's Facebook page today, should excite anyone with a sweet tooth:
During our interview, Wulf highlighted the Graycliff Sunset sherbet as a cool project -- one in collaboration with Graycliff Conservancy -- that is blood-orange sherbet with bitters (typically used in cocktails), giving it the sweet and tart flavors indicated on the menu.
Not listed on the opening menu above -- but still available to scoop-shop visitors -- are two new artisan sundae flavors, only one of which Wulf would reveal. "Paula's and Public" is described by Lake Effect as "two scoops of our Revolution espresso ice cream with one scoop of our Silver Cloud Vanilla ice cream in between (it's always nice to have a little cream with your coffee). Then we top it with big chunks of authentic Paula's Donuts glazed frycakes. Lastly, we top it with a rich, espresso sauce, a sweet donut glaze, real whipped cream, and a few more frycake crumbles."
The Revolution espresso ice cream is created using products from Public Espresso, a new Buffalo "third-wave" coffee and espresso company that's based on Grant Street and boasts a stand in the lobby of the Hotel @ the Lafayette.
Plus, the pairing of Paula's -- the most popular locally-owned doughnut shop in Western New York -- with one of the few from-scratch artisan ice cream shops is a match made in dessert lovers' heaven.
Expanding scoop shops: In addition to exponentially greater production, Wulf hopes to open more scoop shops "sooner rather than later," including one in Buffalo. The co-owner declined to reveal the specific areas in which he was looking.
Info: Lake Effect Ice Cream (79 Canal St., Lockport)
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday