Heard about a make-your-own ice cream shop on the Upper East Side? That’s gotta be Cool Mess, a DIY ice cream parlor where you make and mix your own flavor right at the table. (They sell already made ice cream too, as well as lots of other tasty treats.) Stop by for a special snack, or host a party every kid is sure to remember. Here’s the Scoop on Cool Mess!
The Cool Mess Story
The brains behind Cool Mess is Marguerite Loucas, who knows a thing or two about serving New Yorkers delicious food: her family owns the NYC comfort food mainstay Burger Heaven. (Cool Mess is located upstairs from the local chain’s Lexington Ave. outpost; you can even access the parlor via a stairway at the rear of the restaurant’s dining room.)
Even as you approach Cool Mess — which is adorned with awnings sporting a sprinkle motif, as well as mirrored and neon ice cream cones — it’s clear there’s some serious fun going down inside, and that feeling only grows as you ascend the staircase to the shop. (More neon, sprinkle wallpaper, etc.)
Loucas founded her “modern old fashioned ice cream parlor” as a response to some not-so-kid-friendly businesses targeted to kids. (She cites edible underwear at some candy shops and R-rated music at similar spots.) It’s important to her that Cool Mess is safe and clean, in every sense of the word.
Great — But What About the Ice Cream?
Aside from a spotless, colorful, bright and fun space filled with treats at every turn (bulk candy wall, buckets of Nutella, giant sheets of Rice Krispies) the big draw at Cool Mess is the make-your-own-ice-cream. Each table is equipped with a small ice cream maker, and customers start the creation process by choosing an ice cream base — vanilla or chocolate. (The liquid base for both flavors is provided by organic ice cream purveyor Blue Marble Ice Cream.)
From there, guests select a baked good to add to the mix (cookie, brownie, pound cake or the goodie of the day), and finally, pick three toppings from a roster of 25 which includes everything from mini gummy bears, peanut butter cups and strawberries, to cookie dough, Snickers and bananas.
Ice cream chefs needing a little help and inspiration can follow one Cool Mess’ “Messipes” such as “Cookie Monster” (vanilla base, cookie dough, chocolate chip cookies and crushed Oreo cookies) or “After School Special” (vanilla base with peanut butter sauce, strawberry jam and toast), both of which are already emerging as favorites.
The whole process takes about 8 minutes, and the store requires at least two people per personal creation. The cost?: $24.99.
Other Ways to Be Cool
If you aren’t up for making your own, Cool Mess has got you covered. Try one of its immense sundaes like “Banana Splitsville”, a fresh take on the classic, or “The Mess” (brownie, peanut butter ice cream, caramel, mini peanut butter cups, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles), or opt for a treat like the “Holy Cow” — vanilla ice cream between a doughnut, hot fudge, whipped cream and sprinkles.
And if all that is still too rich for your blood, know that Cool Mess also sells gelato from Ludlow Street maker Il laboratorio del gelato, in stellar and sophisticated flavors like coffee, amaretto crunch, salted caramel and sorbets of mango, lemon and raspberry. The shop also sells flavors exclusive to Cool Mess, such as “Birthday Cake” and “Red Velvet Birthday Cake.”
Cool Mess also sells ice cream companions and treats from a who’s who of small batch and local chefs, including cones from The Conery, brownies from Fat Witch, doughnuts from Dough and safe cookie dough (no eggs in it) from do, among others.
You Can Get Real Food, Too
If the thought of entering a space like this (with or without kids) fills you with the need for actual food, take heart — customers can order off the Burger Heaven menu, too, so you can have a salad before indulging.
Yes, They Do Parties
There are lots of ways to party at Cool Mess, and all packages include invitations, dedicated “ice cream consultants”, the birthday kid’s name at the front door, refreshments, a candy spree and pizza. You can host a celebration within the space (minimum 6 guests) or rent out the entire parlor. Book the “Floor” option for 60 minutes at $36 per child, the “Classic” for 90 minutes ($900 for a party of 12) or go big with the “Extreme” which for $1,020 for 12 kids includes the option to color the base ice cream, a Cool Mess T-shirt to be signed by guests, a CoolMess ice cream scoop favor and more.
The list of add-on options is extensive, including Burger Heaven food, adult beverages, a birthday cake, a DJ or photographer, or even a craft or face-painting by artist Derrick Little.
photo: Cool Mess Roslyn
Even More Mess
Hey Long Island, great news! Cool Mess opened an outpost in Roslyn, where they serve up the same experience, flavors and fun, in an even bigger space! (They’ve even got foosball and giant Connect Four.) Plus: free parking! Note that Cool Mess Roslyn is closed on Mondays and is occasionally closed for special events.
137 E. 62nd St.
Upper East Side
Cool Mess Long Island
1512 Old Northern Blvd.
— Mimi O’Connor