Finally, An Ice Cream Parlor for Your Pup
Ollie’s Ice Cream + Stuff serves up artisanal fro yo for pets and pet parents.
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Eric Kyriakopoulos had been working as a bartender in Brooklyn for over a decade, often dreaming of opening his own spot — though not in the way many of his former colleagues would. “Bartenders that want to open up their own business usually end up opening up a bar,” he says. While the thought had crossed his mind, he opted to follow another passion — one that was a little bit sweeter. As a big ice cream fan, Kyriakopoulos noticed there weren’t many options in NYC to buy local brands. Not to mention, none that offered anything for dogs. Enter: Ollie’s Ice Cream + Stuff.
It was a simple idea — an ice cream shop that both pets and their people could enjoy. Unfortunately, there was one serious hurdle that no one could have seen coming. Ollie’s opened its doors in Bushwick roughly six months before the start of the pandemic. But Kyriakopoulos refused to give up on his new shop that easily. “It was a tough time all around, but I needed to see what a full year looked like of the store being open,” he says. “We opened June 1st and by February, the world was closing down. But it would have felt weird just boarding up the windows and hoping for the best.”
And it proved to be the right move, as Kyriakopoulos says business was booming during the pandemic. It’s not hard to see how the demand for a food commonly associated with joy could spike during such a terrible time. Of course, many pet parents would argue their dogs helped keep them sane while cooped up for so long — especially in a city as densely populated as New York — so it’s only fitting they’d deserve an exciting treat. Despite being understandably short-staffed and Kyriakopoulos taking on most of the day-to-day responsibilities, Ollie’s doors stayed open.
Each “Pup Cup” features four simple ingredients — peanut butter, apples, bananas and crushed dog treats. “I would say about 80 percent of the dogs like the ice cream, then there are dogs who are super picky and kind of confused about what it is,” says Kyriakopoulos. For humans, all of the ice cream is organic and locally sourced with flavors curated from various New York State ice cream companies, from kettle corn with salted caramel swirls to rich red velvet.
With its standard ice cream, offerings for dogs, and vegan options, Ollie’s doesn’t want anyone in need of a summery treat to feel excluded. And Kyriakopoulos believes that extends to the price point. “I’ve been to places where you have to make decisions depending on your financial availability. I made it a point that when you come in, everything is the same price. Whether you get a cone or a cup or you get a dairy or a vegan option, it’s all the same,” he explains. Ollie’s opts to avoid the classic capitalist strategy of charging more for people with dietary restrictions. “I’ve been to places where vegan options are more expensive, but I don’t want someone to have to pay more money because of something they don’t have any control over. And I think it’s the same thing for dogs.”
Ollie’s is located at 158 Irving Ave in Brooklyn. During the week they’re open from noon to five and on weekends hours extend from 10am to midnight. Stop by if you or your dog need a sweet refresh.
This has been the hottest summer on record, and it ain’t over yet.
Made with yogurt, peanut butter, honey, and banana, they're sure to make your dog drool.
Two words: Endless entertainment.
Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and whose behavioral issues rival his own.