Elmwood’s popular Ici Ice Cream to open 2nd location in Downtown Berkeley

Ciecie Chen/Staff

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Known for its changing menu, Elmwood’s Ici Ice Cream will soon begin serving its famous ice cream flavors, along with other desserts, at a second location in Downtown Berkeley.

After several requests from customers, Ici owner Mary Canales plans to open up shop at 2079 University Ave. before the end of November. The first Ici shop opened in 2006 and continues to house the kitchen where the ice cream is made. Canales said that while Ici is popular in the Elmwood neighborhood, the new University Avenue location will reach a new crowd.

With major construction finished, Ici Ice Cream’s second location is set to serve the same flavors to the Downtown Berkeley area. Canales said some current staff members will likely work at the Downtown Berkeley location for the opening. In the vicinity of Tender Greens, the UC Theatre and McDonald’s, the Downtown Berkeley location is a prime spot for foot traffic, according to Canales.

“There’s a lot of complementary businesses,” Canales said of the new location. “We like the energy and the feeling. It’s a different part of town. It’s definitely serving a whole other population.”

Canales said among the most popular flavors are vanilla, chocolate and earl grey — three flavors that remain consistently on the menu.

“I make ice cream all day long,” Canales said. “I taste it to make sure things are right, (but) whenever I make vanilla crème brûlée, I always go for the extra (spoonful).”

The other flavors are seasonal, changing every one or two days. Canales said she devotes one day a week to planning out the flavors for the week and takes into account the ingredients she needs to buy in advance.

During the fall season, Canales said there’s several spice-oriented flavors at Ici. These flavors include salted maple pecan, huckleberry and pumpkin spice.

“We do have repeats because they’re popular, but we’re always coming up with new things,” Canales said. “We’re always experimenting with flavors.”

According to Canales, the ice cream is made from scratch with organic ingredients. With experience as a pastry chef, Canales said her aim with Ici is to provide customers with an experience of fine dining through an ice cream shop.

Contact Adrianna Buenviaje at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @adriannaDC.