If you ever visit New York City, your first stop —after Puck or Greene, take your pick— should be Big Gay Ice Cream.


Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff started the frozen treat enterprise in 2009 as an ice cream truck perched on Manhattan street corners.  The summertime staple—fortunately, without the clown music— featured an inventive spin (wasabi pea dust, sea salt, Sriracha, and cardamom toppings) on soft-serve stand-bys, and the duo quickly amassed a hungry and enthusiastic following.

Douglas and Bryan have since opened doors on two downtown shops where they serve up their original offerings plus other treats from beloved vendors.

We talked to the hilarious duo about fat pants, “The Golden Girls,” and their mixed feelings on bacon.


We have one pint of vanilla ice cream and five dollars to spend on fixins’. What delicious and easy treat can we throw together at home?

Put a medium-sized metal bowl in your freezer until well chilled. Smash 1/2 cup Nilla Wafers into bite-sized pieces and toss those into the freezer. Meanwhile, let that pint of vanilla ice cream soften a bit. Transfer the ice cream, Nilla Wafers, and 1/4 cup caramel sauce into the chilled bowl. Gently fold everything together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refreeze for about 2 hours. Eat!


What’s the most underrated ingredient?

Salt. Whether it’s because of a fear of mixing sweet and savory or people like Mayor Bloomberg ranting about the dangers of salt (he’s like Jimmy Swaggart condemning rock n’ roll as “the new pornography”), there’s definitely an aversion to using salt in ice cream. But a little salt enhances and balances most every flavor combined with it.

For the record, we use sea salt almost exclusively. Sometimes Kosher salt. Never table salt.

…and overrated?

Bacon. We get it. It’s great, seriously great, but let’s expand our horizons a bit, shall we? Once you learn how to salt a dish correctly, your desire to somehow stick bacon into it will be nearly eradicated. And for jeebus’ sake, stop naming your bacon desserts after Elvis! Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, in San Francisco, made a flavor called  ”Elvis: The Fat Years” and thus gleefully pounded the nails into that coffin. We want to marry Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream.


What flavor has just not worked out, no matter how hard you tried to nail it?

We’ve certainly encountered flavors and ingredients that were trickier than others, but we’ve never given up on a flavor that we wanted to use—which immediately brings us back to bacon. You either have to have it chopped up so small it’s practically buried in the ice cream, or you end up eating all the ice cream in a bite, and you’re left with a chewy ball in your mouth. Our workaround for that was to integrate bacon into an ice cream sandwich—so you have a cookie to chew and eat along with the bacon.

Another tricky ingredient is ginger. Ginger protease will curdle dairy, so you have to have your ratios and timing down to a science to avoid a disaster.

What’s your favorite savory treat?

Oysters. French fries with Old Bay. Super spicy chicken wings. Blackened Shishito peppers with sea salt. Carnitas tacos with diced onions, cilantro, and radishes. (For the record, our real answer is bacon. Specifically the bacon made by our friends at The Meat Hook in Brooklyn.)


Diets are…

Sorry, what? We were still thinking about The Meat Hook’s bacon.

We’re ice cream men. Every summer we run around like fools and lose 30 lbs. Every winter, we work on recipes and gain 35 lbs. Lesson: just give up, and never throw away your fat pants.


You already have Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan treat options, in honor of “The Golden Girls” actresses.  What would an Estelle Getty and Betty White be?

For a while, we contemplated finishing the cast, but now aren’t so sure. First of all, Betty White is still alive. You can’t name something after someone while they’re still alive. That’s the Black Curse. The closest we got was coming up was coming up with an Estelle Getty: a mini cannoli filled with spicy pistachio ice cream dipped in chocolate.


Thank you, Bryan and Douglas! Check out their locations, and plot your next order here.

Photos by Collin Hughes

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