Big Gay Ice Cream owners talk toppings and their new cookbook

There is a place for straight-up ice cream, says Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint.

Since 2009, Big Gay Ice Cream has been making and scooping delicious ice cream with extreme toppings, add-on’s and cone linings.

Today, their cookbook debuts. “Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream,” by co-owners Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint, is a gorgeous and psychedelic ride through ice cream land. It tells the four-year story of Big Gay in the style of a yearbook, starting with mix-in’s for freshman, toppings for sophmores, sundaes and shaes for juniors and homemade recipes for seniors. (The big leagues!)

Petroff and Quint answered some very important questions of ours and told us their absolute favorite ice cream toppings.


When did you first discover that putting out-of-the-box toppings on ice cream was the best idea ever? What did you say out loud/ think when you discovered this?

We don’t look at it that way. We saw it as our only option. It literally went like this:

Doug: “Hey, should I drive an ice cream truck this summer? Andrea said she could get me a truck?”

Bryan: “Sure. Whatev. But if you do it you have to update the menu. You can’t be the same as every other ice cream truck out there or what’s the point. Let’s work on a fun toppings menu.”

Doug: “Done. Let’s go shopping.”
Do you ever like ice cream plain? When? What’s the appeal (if any) of simplicity?

Of course. If you like it, eat it, whether that’s naked or decked out. A simple lemon sorbet or sweet cream ice cream can be just what the doctor ordered, just like a monstrous sundae can be.

But for the record: sorbets should always be naked. Unless that sorbet is floating in liquor. We’re allowed to break our own rules.

What kind of advice do you have for all the ice cream topping risk takers out there?

Do whatever tastes good. You don’t need permission from us. We see vanilla & chocolate as a base. They’re amazing on their own when done right, but also a launch pad for so much more. It’s no different than deciding what to put on pasta, rice, toast, or mashed potatoes.

What are your five most-favorite ice cream toppings?

Believe it or not we are purists at heart. Ice cream is comfort food for us, so like all good comfort food it needs to essentially be something you’d eat while under a blanket:

1. Hot fudge
2. Whipped cream
3. Chocolate sprinkles
4. Peanuts
5. Any combination of the above

Big Gay Ice Cream has two locations in NYC: 125 E. 7th St., 212-533-9333 in the East Village and 61 Grove St., 212-414-0222 in the West Village.

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