“If I weren’t gay, I wouldn’t call it the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. And if I weren’t happy, I wouldn’t have the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. It would just be the big crabby ice cream truck.”
—Doug Quint, co-owner of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
We are celebrating Gay Pride Day with a gay business success story.
Starting with a mobile vehicle, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in June 2009, company owners Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff, have swirled their way to sweet success with two New York City Big Gay Ice Cream Shops and two in other American cities.
Mr. Quint had been a classical bassoon player. With a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a masters from Juilliard, he performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, and the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center. As other classical musicians have found, work fell off during the summer. In January 2009, Mr. Quint saw a Facebook posting, ‘If you want to drive an ice cream truck get in touch with me.’ A flutist he had known at Juilliard had posted it. Mr. Quint responded, and soon with the help of his partner, Bryan Petroff, who had worked in corporate human resources, they launched the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.
They regularly parked the truck at the corner of 17th Street and Broadway, near Union Square. The photos here of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck were taken at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 40th Street, near the New York Public Library in July of 2013.
Not meant to be a political statement, the company’s name expresses the personalities of its owners. They are out and proud gay men whose point-of-view on life is happy, gay! They would like to share with the world their state of mind and who they are.
Everyone can be gay, in the old-fashion way, when reading a list of the yummy concoctions and their amusing names at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Beam at the Bea Arthur; laugh with the Salty Pimp; giggle for the Gobbler; delight at the Monday Sundae; and make merry with the Mermaid.
The trade publication, Dessert Professional featured the Big Gay Ice Cream as part of its 10 Best Ice Cream Parlors in the United States for its June 2012 issue. Eleven months later The Daily Beast and USA Today placed the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in the number five position as best ice cream parlor in the world, making it the highest ranked American ice cream parlor on the list.
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop offers-up soft-serve ice cream as the basis for its flavorful confections. In March of 2013 they began using a proprietary ice cream; they developed it in partnership with the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy. Ronnybrook makes the soft-serve, in vanilla and chocolate flavors, at its farm in Ancramdale, NY. Co-owner Bryan Petroff describes his perfect ice cream this way, “I like my ice cream very creamy with a strong milky, dairy taste. Not too sweet. No ice or grit in it whatsoever.”
What is the reason for that unicorn? It is simple. Because unicorns are magical and unique, just as the Big Gay Ice Cream is, the creature serves as the perfect mascot. Big Gay Ice Cream has new cookbook, “Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream.” Anthony Bourdain wrote the introduction.
The first New York City storefront location was in the East Village at 125 East Seventh Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, 212.533.9333; it opened in September 2011. Their second is near the recently landmarked Stonewall Inn in the West Village at 61 Grove Street, on the corner of Seventh Avenue South, 212.414.0222. It began operations in December 2012. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop has branched out to conquer America! There is a Philadelphia store at 521 South Broad Street. The Los Angeles shop’s opening has yet to be announced.
We pass the West Village branch of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on our Gay Village Walking Tour. Join us to learn how the Bea Arthur ice cream confection got its name.