Ice Age: NYC's Frozen-Dessert Revolution
by Jonathan Zeller, 05/30/2012
The Soft Serve Fruit Co. Photo: Laura Miller
The Soft Serve Fruit Co
25 E. 17th St., 212-675-0550, Union Square, Manhattan
1371 Third Ave., 212-794-2200, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Michael Sloan—a triathlete and one of The Soft Serve Fruit Co's founders—loved to fuel up for workouts with frozen bananas. He and his partners, Chloe Epstein (a former Manhattan assistant district attorney) and Jason Epstein (who works in finance), turned those bananas—along with blueberries, mangoes and other fruits—into a new soft-serve, fat-free, gluten-free vegan dessert. Then, company president Daniel Karsevar stepped in and took on the challenge of telling customers what, exactly, they're selling. "The most interesting thing is to have that dialogue every day with people," he says, noting that he often must explain, "It's not yogurt." Here's what "soft-serve fruit"—a type of sorbet—is: fruit, sugar and water. Yogurt it's not, but a cup of the blueberry flavor with chocolate chips really hits the spot on a hot day. And those who are watching their waistlines will be glad to see nutrition facts posted in large type right on the wall. The Soft Serve Fruit Co also offers salted pretzel cones, which provide a savory counterbalance to the sweet main event. The atmosphere at the Union Square location is fruit-infused and tropical down to the last detail—signage, for example, is made from repurposed fruit crates.