Ice cream is a Bay Area obsession for grownups and kids alike, but the newest ice cream shop in Oakland has an extra-special appeal for the little ones. Just opened in Uptown Oakland, Little Giant Ice Cream is a welcome addition to the neighborhood’s rapidly growing food scene with its funky design and some very delicious ice cream. This area has been missing a sweet spot and Little Giant is sure to satisfy neighborhood sweet tooths.
Want Some Robots With Your Ice Cream?
The name of the shop refers to the toy robots that populate the store—kids might think they’ve entered a toy store at first. According to co-owner Kevin Best, both he and his business partner loved robots growing up and they knew they wanted their ice cream shop to feature these mechanical wonders. One of the shop walls is decorated with all kinds of robots, and a a vintage Robie Robot (a classic from Radio Shack in the 80s) sits on the main counter. The official mascot for the shop is Holstein, a little robot holding up an ice cream spoon.
Ice Cream of the Future
Little Giant Ice Cream has an impressive pedigree: it’s the pet project of Kevin, who also owns B Restaurant and Bar in San Francisco, and Neil Rideout, owner of Cigar Bar in San Francisco. Kevin and Neil both went to learn about making ice cream at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, one of the best ice cream programs in the US. They set up shop Oakland looking to create some truly fresh and original ice cream.
Flavors For All
Even in the Bay Area’s top-notch ice cream scene, Little Giant stands out; they make everything from scratch, from the ice cream bases to the cones to the toppings. The kitchen is enclosed in glass walls so that customers can see ice cream being churned right before their eyes. The flavors are inspired by seasonal ingredients, childhood memories (Nana’s Nana Pudding is delightful take on banana pudding), and Kevin and Neil’s restaurant backgrounds. There’s always at least one cocktail-themed flavor on the menu, such as Dirty South, which combines, caramel, pecans, and bourbon whiskey, and there are non-dairy options like sorbet. You can turn your scoop of ice cream into a float or sundae as well, and don’t forget toppings like fudge sauce or praline pieces—again, all made in house.
Kids Are Little Giants
Although most kids are happy to see any ice cream store, Little Giant should be an especially fun treat for them. The robot theming is cool, and they can watch ice cream being made through the kitchen windows or a waffle cone made fresh at the waffle station. Kid size scoops are $2.50, and all the seating in the shop is kid-sized, from the brightly colored picnic tables to the retro school chairs. For little kids, Little Giant will likely become their favorite ice cream shop. Look for the Little Giant Airstream trailer to start making appearances around the Bay Area soon so you can get your fix when you’re not in Oakland.
Little Giant Ice Cream
1951 Telegraph Ave.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 1– 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday 1–10 p.m.
Have you checked out Little Giant yet? What are your family’s favorite flavors?
All photos courtesy of the author