Los Feliz Area Turns Into a Cone Zone

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A few of the offerings at Smitten Ice Cream which will open in Silver Lake this fall.

It’s shaping up to be a cool and creamy summer in Los Feliz and Silver Lake. With about a half a dozen new artisanal ice cream shops opening from Franklin Village to Echo Park, there will be a lot more fancy scoops per square mile by fall.

Van Leeuwen, Smitten, and McConnell’s started out in other cities, while Magpies is a homegrown operation. A Korean soft-serve shop, Milkcow, is also slated to open soon on Hillhurst Avenue, while Icy Rush recently opened in Echo Park.

Just a few years ago, Pazzo Gelato was one of the few places in the area for premium frozen desserts. Then, Portland’s Salt & Straw made a splash on Larchmont Boulevard and was joined by Ohio-based Jeni’s on Hillhurst Avenue.

Now just about every thoroughfare is set to get icy. First up is Magpies Soft Serve on Griffith Park Boulevard, from husband and wife team Rose and Warren Schwartz.

“We decided to do soft serve rather than hard ice cream because L.A. is saturated with delicious chef-driven ice cream spots,” said Rose Schwartz. “We wanted to do something a little different, yet nostalgic.”

Magpies’ soft serve base and all its toppings are made in-house. Specialties will include strawberry rhubarb, Cuban espresso and a non-dairy sweet corn and almond milk.

Also in Silver Lake, Smitten Ice Cream plans to open on Sunset Boulevard near Knuckle & Claw in early fall. Started from a wagon in San Francisco, Smitten’s distinguishing feature is that each scoop is churned to order with a special nitrogen machine.

The Silver Lake store will be the company’s flagship location where all the toppings are made, the second in the area after an El Segundo shop.

Born in Santa Barbara 70 years ago, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams’ first L.A. location opened at Grand Central Market two years ago, bringing its high butterfat ice creams in California-fresh flavors like summer fruit cobbler.

The new Los Feliz McConnell’s will open on Hollywood Boulevard in late summer next to Bar Covell and HomeState.

Owner Michael Palmer, who is originally from Hancock Park, explains that McConnell’s is one of the few ice cream makers that has its own dairy.

“We’re obsessed with the quality of the ingredients,” he said.

The parlor will offer 16 flavors including seasonal specialties.

Just a bit farther west, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream is targeting a Labor Day weekend opening in Franklin Village near the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater.

Pete Van Leeuwen, who helped start the company as a New York ice cream truck, now lives in the area.

The Brooklyn-made ice cream will come in 12 classic flavors and six vegan flavors. The shop will also offer Toby’s Estate coffee, pastries by Farmshop and a selection of chocolates.

Are there really enough Eastside ice cream lovers to keep all these shops busy?

“I think there’s enough room for everyone,” said Palmer.

Posted June 30 2016 at 6:00 a.m.

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