Many ice cream lovers are still feeling dazed over the sudden closure of Mary Canales’ Ici Ice Cream. Both Ici locations, the original on College Avenue in the Elmwood and the second on University Avenue in downtown Berkeley, shuttered on Nov. 29. There is sweet relief for the hardest hit, however: San Francisco ice cream brand Humphry Slocombe is taking over the Elmwood space. It will be its first Berkeley location and fifth overall. The new scoop shop will be at 2948 College Ave. (near Ashby). The first Humphry Slocombe shop was opened in 2008 by Jake Godby and Sean Vahey in San Francisco’s Mission district. It quickly gained a following for its uncommon flavors, most notably Secret Breakfast, made with bourbon and cornflakes, but even scoops flavored with unusual dessert ingredients like foie gras, prosciutto and “Government Cheese.”
In 2017, Humphry Slocombe opened its first East Bay location, in Oakland, in a refurbished shipping container at the Hive. In a press release announcing the news today, the brand said it chose Berkeley because of its place in the food world.
“From being the catalyst for the farm-to-table movement to its uncompromising pursuit of quality, the city is the perfect inspiration for the artisan creamery as it continues to invent new flavors for its monthly rotating lineup,” the statement read.
At the new location, chef Godby plans to offer Berkeley-exclusive flavors using locally sourced ingredients and partner with local brands.
Canales, who has remained quiet about the reason for Ici’s closure is also quoted in the release: “I’m so happy that ice cream will continue in the Elmwood neighborhood. Thanks to Humphry Slocombe moving in to our spot, the ice cream aficionados will have yummy and creative ice cream.”
Godby spoke of how pleased the ice cream company was to be able to take over this location. “We’re beyond humbled to have the opportunity to have this space in particular and promise to do our best to live up the legacy that comes along with it,” he said.
An opening date is still to be announced, but those who want to get a taste can join Humphry Slocombe at Market Hall Berkeley (1786 Fourth St.) for a special pop-up event on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1-3 p.m. As part of Market Hall’s For the Love of Chocolate pre-Valentine’s Day event, the ice creamery will be scooping a few of its chocolate flavors, including Salted Caramel Cocoa Nib, Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple, Cheesecake Chocolate Wafer and Malted Milk Chocolate.