In the summer of last year, urban farming guru and Farm Lot 59 founder Sasha Kanno invited some neighbors over for a dinner—homemade of course, including the peanut ice cream for dessert.
Astounded by the flavor, guest Dina Amadril was curious as to how Kanno had created the creamy concoction and was shown the KitchenAid ice cream attachment made for the famed line of standup mixers by the same brand. Happenstance: Amadril had one herself, albeit sitting dusty and unused in her garage.
"Game on, I'm going to try this out.”
On August 22, 2013, Amadril held her first tasting at her home, with 10 strangers sampling 12 flavors, from Lord Windsor Coffee to Biscuits & Jam, Madagascar Vanilla to Goat Cheese Whiskey Fig. The success of the tastings moved toward Farm Lot 59, where Kanno had graciously permitted Amadril to host the decadent gatherings, with the ice cream eventually ending up receiving random Yelp! reviews and Facebook ratings.
That is the humble, Long Beach-style beginnings of what has become Amadril’s life as of the past year. The Long Beach Creamery, working out of Amadril’s home, has been offering locals a hint of what locally-sourced ingredients can add to the culinary art of ice cream making—and the success has been so overwhelming that Amadril is ready to take the Creamery toward its next step: into its very own brick and mortar at 4141 Long Beach Blvd.
Of course, as with all tales of trying to build something both delicious and successful, the Creamery did not instantaneously come with the shining beacon of success shooting from its pints of tastiness. Amadril had always enjoyed ice cream but had never really perceived it as her creative conduit, as she puts it. But when she realized that cream was more chameleon-like in flavor, her imagination boomed as did her workload.
“It was not difficult to work from home at first,” Amadril said. “Originally, I had my Kitchen Aid freezer attachment and a cute turquoise Cuisinart ice cream maker. But as demand grew - I ended up with 5 Cuisinarts and 3 Kitchen Aid attachments - and no room in my freezers. Capacity was becoming a problem. Around this time I also started researching what it would take to make this official: the regulations, investments and equipment… All the little ice cream spinners were starting to wear on me, so I made a big move and invested in a $10K Emery Thompson Blast Freezer.”
Money aside, the good ol’ Long Beach Health Department wasn’t too keen on Amadril’s endeavors: given dairy is a hazardous food product, ice cream is prohibited from being made out of the home to sell. Effectively being shut down, Amadril created LBC Home—her own brand of jams, cookies, and nutty delicacies like almond brittle—with the use of a cottage license, Amadril could focus her attention on the creamy elephant in the room: her ice cream.
Conversation after conversation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the officials who regulate frozen milk products, Amadril discovered her project would be larger in scope than expected. In fact, it would need not just one but two kitchens.
“I realized I needed a traditional hot kitchen for making the ingredients that will go into the ice cream and then a dairy room where all work with the cream must happen,” Amadril explained. “If I was going to build all this, I might as well make it a place for people to come and eat some ice cream as well.”
This is not Long Beach’s first dairy room. That honor would belong to the Long Beach Dairy & Creamery, which opened in 1903 in northwest Long Beach. According to Amadril, the Victorian home—owned now by Dan Pressburg—has been a landmark since 1994, making it the oldest and first Historic Residence to be recognized as such in North Long Beach outside Rancho Los Cerritos.
But Amadril’s dream is a bit more contemporary in flavor: she wants to build a space where the dairy room is entirely visible to patrons, allowing “guests to see, feel and smell the entire ice cream making process.”
“We are designing the shop so that you can see the ice cream being made from beginning to end,” Amadril said. “That way when you taste the ice cream you can appreciate not only its flavor, but the work that went into making that treat for you.”
Thanks to the auspices of Blair Cohn and the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, Amadril has now signed a lease a three-year lease at the Long Beach Blvd. space. Additionally, she has launched a Kickstarter to help her allocate the initial funds required to fully launch.
“The space already had some build out from its previous life as Philly Steak & Fries and that can save thousands for us on our build out,” Amadril said. “Even more, it is close to Wrigley, where my heart and home is—and the neighborhood that has shown so much support for me. I tried to land in Wrigley, but could not find the right combination for my budget… Long Beach Creamery has been a collaboration between me and the tasters from the very beginning. From our first tasting, the tasters and fans of the ice cream have been helping me create this business. They have had input on the flavors, packaging, logo and the location. That transparency and collaboration is now written into the DNA of Long Beach Creamery. It's a business-social experiment with a great flavor outcome that we can all be proud of and enjoy.”
Spoon in hand, it’s time to take the leap.
Long Beach Creamery will be located at 4141 Long Beach Blvd. To donate toward its Kickstarter, click here.