OddFellows Ice Cream Co. opened its first location outside of New York on Aug. 9, and it’s found a home in The Street at Chestnut Hill.
Holiday and Mohan Kumar originally opened OddFellows in Brooklyn with Sam Mason, a James Beard nominated pastry chef, in 2013. Once Mohan brought Mason’s salty pretzel ice cream to Holiday to satisfy her cravings for savory ice cream when she was pregnant with twins, the trio decided to run with the concept. They finalized the details for Chestnut Hill just a few months ago and are already geared up to open another in New York.
“Savory ice cream—different, strange, obscure, weird flavors—that’s kind of our bread and butter,” said Chris Coughlin, the store manager in Chestnut Hill.
Simultaneously a pastry chef, restaurateur, ice cream creator, and owner of the artisanal mayonnaise company Empire Mayonnaise, Mason has a limb on each of the colors on the food industry’s Twister board. Even so, he commits himself to making flavors that others would never dream of: Edamame, raspberry pink peppercorn, and extra virgin olive oil are just a few of the 400 flavors that have lived in the shop’s freezers.
Most of the products that go into the ice cream come from farmers and manufacturers local to the New York area. OddTellows then manufactures the ice cream out of its Brooklyn kitchens and distributes it to the remote locations.
Because it is the only location outside of New York, and the most difficult to get the ice cream to, Chestnut Hill will have more standard flavors than you might see in any of New York’s OddTellows. But even the standard flavors carry a bit of a punch: think not only chocolate and vanilla but also strawberry jam, sweet cream and sprinkles, and miso cherry.
With a clean-retro aesthetic that fits comfortably among its neighbors at the Street—it looks like an ice cream parlor from the ’50s got a facelift from Ikea and was decorated by a guy from Boston with an eclectic taste in art (in the best way)—OddTellows is embracing all that comes with Boston is in its flavors and décor.
A small collection of flavors called “Boston’s Best x OddTellows” will feature collaborations with some of Boston’s finest culinary characters. The first chef to contribute is Karen Akunowicz, award-winning chef and owner of Fox and the Knife in South Boston. Taking a cue from Mason with his obscure, savory influences, Akunowicz’s basil chip infuses the herb in a surprisingly sweet medium.
Beyond the rainbow that hides in the freezers, pops of color draw your eye to the right wall, where a custom mural done by New Yorker cartoonist Cerise Zelenetz, of what looks like a Boston-inspired Beatles cover band, hangs. It’s a play on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—but instead of the circus of pop culture, it’s a population of revolutionary heroes, Celtics players, Red Sox fans, and politicians.
The back corner has a red wall layered with photos of famous Bostonians superimposed with bow ties that say “OddFellows” around their necks.
The details around the shop show just how much care the team put into perfecting its first impression outside of New York, from the art on the walls to the fair trade coffee that it uses. The menu currently features coffee and ice cream, serving not only scoops but also frappes, floats, and flights of ice cream. It will soon serve local beers and organic wines as well as boozy ice cream concoctions, like stout floats, lambrusco floats, and more.
The shop will be open seven days a week, from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“We’re kind of afraid to saturate the retail market in New York City … to the point where we’re just competing with ourselves,” Coughlin said. “Everyone in Boston seems to love ice cream, and I feel like that was a good fit for us.”
Correction (9/11/19, 10:15 p.m.): This article originally misspelled OddFellows, neglecting to capitalize the letter “F,” and misidentified the shop’s operating hours. It has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling and accurate operating hours.
Featured Images by Mary Wilkie / Heights Editor