When David Yoo, a student at Parsons, and Mohan Kumar, a realtor and DJ, met at a party in the East Village in 2005, they had no idea that one of them would go on to own an ice cream parlor in the neighborhood while the other would open one in Williamsburg.
Kumar opened the carnival-themed OddFellows on Kent Street a block away from the waterfront earlier this month. His buddy is planning to open Davey’s Ice Cream, an old-fashioned parlor peddling homemade ice cream, at 137 First Avenue, near St. Marks Place, in late July.
Call them buttermilk bros.
“I just told him casually I was opening a shop, too,” said Yoo, “and we are supporting each other.” So much so that Yoo is the mayor of his Kumar’s shop on Foursquare.
Both owners believe that New York doesn’t have much of an “ice cream scene” compared to cities on the West Coast, and that — along with the recently opened Evergreen Ice Cream Co. in Bushwick — they’re working together to create one. Being on opposite ends of the Williamsburg Bridge probably helps tone down any competition.
Yoo dabbled in everything from graphic design to fashion advertising before taking ice cream-making classes at Penn State.
Meanwhile, Kumar and his wife Holiday work the front end of their business, while their cheeky chef-partner Sam Mason of Empire Mayonnaise creates the ice cream in flavors like Chorizo Caramel, Cornbread, and Maple Bacon Pecan. Homemade cotton candy will soon be offered as well.“We’re both doing it the real way,” Kumar said, explaining that while most shops use a store-bought base that freezes into ice cream, Yoo and Mason start entirely from scratch in a labor-intensive process using expensive local products (OddFellows uses buttermilk from Battenkill Valley Creamery).
“We’re going to form an alliance,” said Kumar. “Maybe people will form alliances against us. That would be fun!”