By Maria Rocha-Buschel
When Michael “Mikey” Cole opened his ice cream shop on Avenue A at the end of May, he did so with little fanfare, in the hopes that everyone’s favorite summertime treat would be enough to lure hoards of customers in.
Since then, Cole has gained a loyal customer-base, but that’s on top of all the people who already knew him. He’s lived in Stuyvesant Town for all his 35 years and Pete Rosado, the operations manager for Mikey Likes It, presented a challenge: walk more than two blocks down Avenue A without bumping into someone who would greet Mike with a big hello.
“It’s impossible,” Rosado insisted.
Before opening the shop just outside Stuy Town, Cole started in the ice cream business about two years ago after trying out an old family recipe for vanilla ice cream.
“(My aunt) was a cook and cooks always save their recipe books,” he said. “We were going through her things after she passed two years ago and one of the recipes fell on the floor. It was a page for a vanilla ice cream recipe. Me being curious, I went to Associated, bought ingredients and just made it to her specs. That’s what became my base for all of the ice cream.”
Originally, he sold the ice cream out of a cart in the neighborhood, in essence building up a customer-base before the business was even fully formed.
In its current incarnation as the shop on Avenue A, there are a handful of different flavors that will be rotating from month to month, but none of them with recognizable ice cream names.
“We’re like the Ben & Jerry’s for the urban community,” Cole said. “We wanted to create signature flavors. I make my own vanilla and even that has three different kinds of vanilla. Everything we do is a little far fetched and out there.”