Big Gay Ice Cream — the popular soft serve destination known as much for its whimsical flavors as it is for its celebration of LGBTQ culture — has closed its original East Village location, at 125 East 7th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, EV Grieve reports.
In a message shared with the local publication, co-founders Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint, said they had decided to shut shop partly because of the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and because this once-lively stretch of East 7th Street — formerly home to the original Caracas Arepa Bar and Luke’s Lobster — has now quieted significantly.
“The batteries have gone a bit dim on that street,” Petroff and Quint wrote in their message. “The empty storefronts (kept vacant by landlords working tax breaks) that plague the city have settled in. It ain’t what it was.”
The East Village outpost has remained closed since the state-mandated shutdown orders went into place in March, and in recent weeks, passersby noticed a for rent sign hanging in the door, signaling the owners had called it quits at this location.
Petroff and Quint debuted their first brick-and-mortar outpost of the ice cream brand back in 2011 with an over-the-top opening party, which among other things, included the late-chef Anthony Bourdain appearing in a priest’s outfit to christen the launch. The store’s opening was preceded by a hugely successful run of the duo’s food truck, which was parked at Union Square beginning in 2009.
Petroff and Quint quit their day jobs to focus full time on the business after the opening of the East Village shop, and Big Gay Ice Cream rapidly developed a devoted following for flavors like the Dorothy, which features vanilla ice cream injected with dulce de leche and then rolled in crushed Nilla wafers, and American Globe, another vanilla ice cream creation with dark pretzel pieces covered in a chocolate shell.
In subsequent years, Petroff and Quint built on their popularity to launch four other locations in NYC, and a fifth outpost in Philadelphia. The duo also penned a cookbook, made numerous television appearances, and in 2017, made pints of their ice cream available in major grocery stores across the East and West coasts. For now, Big Gay Ice Cream’s Upper West Side and West Village locations are open, but reopening plans for other outposts haven’t been announced yet. Petroff and Quint tell EVGrieve that they hope to open another location either in the East Village or the Lower East Side in the near future.