Manhattan, New York – Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Restaurant: Big Gay Ice Cream
Desserts/Ice Cream
Last visited:
September 10, 2011
Manhattan, NY (East Village)
125 East Seventh Street
Nearby subway stop:
1 Ave
Price Range: 
$10 or less

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Opened Summer 2011
  • Specializes in soft serve ice cream
  • Creative & unusual toppings
  • Sweet and savoury combinations
  • Custom sundaes/cones
  • Featured on Food Network
  • Very popular to tourists
  • Also has seasonal ice cream truck
  • Long lines
  • Sunday – Thursday, 12pm – 10pm
  • Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 12am
  • Open year-round. Hours subject to change during the winter.

**Recommendations: Salty Pimp

Ask yourself, why did you click on this post? Was it because you like ice cream? Or was it because of the name? Maybe it was a bit of both, but if it was called “Big Ice Cream” or “Ice Cream” would you still have clicked on it? Perhaps, but the name definitely has to do with the hype and pure curiosity. It is offering out of the ordinary flavours, but it’s not rocket science either.

Big Gay Ice Cream started as a food truck and since it was featured on Food Network, it has just exploded with even more popularity. The Big Gay has gotten so popular that it actually just opened its store front, and I was just in time for the visit.

It was always on my itinerary and not only because I’m a fan of gays, but I also kind of like ice cream. 😉 Okay that’s an understatement, ice cream is my favourite category of dessert if I’m going to choose out of cakes, cookies, pies, or doughnuts. I love it all, but ice cream with any of the listed, or as is, almost always wins.

Being from Vancouver, BC, I’m actually surprised we didn’t start this. It has “Vancouver” written all over it, except we would offer fat free options. The city has a bigger support for the gay community than it does for fatty foods. Although it rains a bit much there, I don’t need hot weather as an excuse to indulge in ice cream ever. Rain or shine ice cream brings everyone to a happy place (it’s why I think lactose intolerant people are so unhappy too).

That’s the thing though. Ice cream is just plain good, even if it’s not from a shop that has the word “gay” in it. I went to the store front location on a rainy day and there was maybe 4 people in line ahead of me, but the ice cream truck has hour long line ups at times. So be prepared, but I wouldn’t wait an hour.

If I’m going to be honest, I can tell you how to avoid the line ups and make this at home. Do you have a Dairy Queen? Do you have a grocery store? Can you go to Dairy Queen and buy a soft serve ice cream cone and sprinkle random interesting ingredients on it? Yes, yes, and YES?!? Easy there, I heard you louder than the girls from the Herbal Essences commercials. If you can get all of the above and you’re capable of making a sundae, I can guarantee you the exact same experience.

I do give them credit for introducing people to new flavours and being creative with the toppings though. They have some standard toppings, but what sets them apart are the non-traditional ones like elderflower syrup, fig sauce, and even curried coconut, wasabi peas, olive oil and sea salt.

If anything, it has revived our childhood love for soft serve ice cream and made it into a sophisticated (or at least original) adult treat with unique twists. But in the end it is just soft serve ice cream with inventive toppings. I don’t want to put a damper on anyone’s Big Gay experience, but it is what it is, and I would recommend going for the novelty.

On the table:

**Salty Pimp4/6

  • Cone with vanilla, dulche de leche, sea salt, chocolate dipped $5
  • This is the best seller and house favourite.
  • The soft serve ice cream is much more like Dairy Queen than it is McDonald’s, but I actually prefer McDonald’s even though it’s made with less cream and more milk content. It’s lighter and I find it easier to eat.
  • This soft serve ice cream at Big Gay is definitely richer, thicker and creamier than McDonald’s. This was heavy cream, or heavy duty ice cream, but it’s not as rich or sweet as say Marble Slab Creamery.
  • It was just a bit too rich and sweet for me and a few bites was enough.
  • It doesn’t have an apparent vanilla flavour like most soft serve flavoured vanillas from fast food places.
  • The chocolate dip was just a regular thin coating of semi-sweet chocolate, and the cone was also the standard cone.

  • The dulche de leche was more like caramel. They are similar but dulche de leche is milk based and this should have been creamier rather than syrupy.
  • What I did like was that the dulche de leche was actually injected throughout the ice cream itself before it was dipped in chocolate, so you always had some with every bite.
  • It was quite salty and sweet, and if you’ve had salted caramel before, then that’s basically what this was, but with the addition of chocolate and ice cream.
  • It’s not hard to recreate, and this was as good as the ingredients together would be, but the ice cream was still a bit rich and sweet for my liking.

They did get the dulche de leche all the way to the very bottom.


  • Sundae with vanilla, key lime curd, crushed graham crackers and whipped cream $6
  • This is the second house favourite and it was almost a key lime pie in sundae form.
  • There was a lot of whipped cream going on, but I would have preferred pieces of graham cracker pie crust rather than crushed graham crackers.
  • The ice cream was the same as the Salty Pimp, and I found it very thick, rich, creamy and heavy like Dairy Queen soft serve.

  • The custard was quite citrusy, tangy and sweet, but nothing beyond a basic lime curd. I would have preferred some actual lime zest, but that may be getting to gourmet for this.
  • I liked the Salty Pimp better (wow that sounds bad… ), but this one was a bit lighter and easier to eat since it had that lime flavour to cut through the richness and sweetness of the ice cream.
  • It’s still good, but there just wasn’t that much going on and it was something I could throw together at home, so it wasn’t as special as I had hoped.

Monday Sundae3/6

  • Twist ice cream, Nutella lined waffle cone, dulche de leche, sea salt, whipped cream $6
  • This one was way too sweet for me.
  • I do like Nutella, but the ice cream was sweet enough already and then the added dulche de leche and Nutella just put me in sugar coma.
  • The ice cream was a twist and it reminded me of the old school McDonald’s twist cones, except again it was much thicker, richer and creamier.

  • So they actually spread a layer of thinned out melted Nutella sauce all over the inside of the cone.
  • There was a bit of a salty aspect, but it was much more sweet than it was salty.
  • It was chocolate ice cream with chocolate Nutella and as much as I like chocolate, it was overwhelming. The extra drizzles of dulche de leche just made it sweeter too.
  • For more salty and sweet contrast and balance I prefer the Salty Pimp. It’s also not as sweet, and this one was just too much.


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