On a hot summer afternoon — after a slice in Bensonhurst, on top of an egg waffle in Chinatown, or alongside an order of beignets in Alphabet City — no dessert feels quite as perfect as the classic soft serve. Machine-made with fewer ingredients and therefore more consistent in quality, the airier, less milk-fat-heavy cousin to scooped ice cream has become a popular dessert for many restaurants in the city.
Since Milk Bar redefined the soft serve with its cereal milk invention in 2008, New York City has seen an explosion of smooth, frozen swirls. These days, there’s a soft serve for every palate: light and refreshing or creamy and luscious, chocolate and vanilla or South Asian spices, dairy, or vegan. After tasting 32 of New York’s finest, below are 13 soft serves that are available year-round and provide a great representation of the city’s ever-evolving soft serve scene.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it also poses a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.
John Tsung is a cultural writer and multidisciplinary artist whose work explores immigrant narratives and the Asian American experience, among other themes. You can find his work here.Read More