Northeast Times

Sweet success

Little Baby’s Ice Cream is ex­pand­ing. Now, Fishtown res­id­ents can en­joy their fa­vor­ite tasty treats closer to home.

Little Baby’s Ice Cream is bring­ing a bit of the av­ant garde to Frank­ford Av­en­ue with a new space that looks like it was ima­gined by Willy Wonka or Pee-wee Her­man.

Vis­it­ors to the new shop will get a taste of whimsy along with the com­pany’s unique ice cream fla­vors like Earl Gray Sri­r­acha, Chi­potle Chocol­ate, Bal­sam­ic Ba­nana or Bour­bon Vanilla.

Though it of­fi­cially launched dur­ing last year’s Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest­iv­al and Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Derby, on Fri­day Little Baby’s opened a new headquar­ters at 2311 Frank­ford Ave.

Since the launch of the com­pany, the three co-own­ers, Pete An­gev­ine of East Kens­ing­ton, Jeff Ziga and Mar­tin Brown, have be­come something of me­dia darlings.

They’ve ap­peared on the cov­er of last week’s Phil­adelphia Weekly and all over the in­ter­net, thanks in part to Little Baby’s com­mer­cial: it fea­tures a man made of ice cream who slowly eats his own head as he stares - al­most un­nerv­ingly - at the view­er.

Hey, we said av­ant garde.

The ad, which has been called “creepy” and “night­mare-in­du­cing” on­line, was cre­at­ing by Doug Garth Wil­li­ams, a col­lege friend of An­gev­ine.

In the past year, Little Baby’s treats have been sold from mod­i­fied freez­ers on tri­cycles at places like Love Park, Uni­on Trans­fer and Mor­gan’s Pier.

An­gev­ine said the own­ers em­brace all things un­usu­al and are push­ing hard to bring their ice cream cre­ations to all of Phil­adelphia.

“Hey, we’re hust­ling,” said An­gev­ine in the new shop. “We’re really try­ing to keep it go­ing…to keep Phil­adelphia weird, you know?”

And weird is a mo­tif in­her­ent in Little Baby’s new headquar­ters.

With long zig-zag col­ors and large, blocky shapes dec­or­at­ing the walls on all sides, An­gev­ine said “Pee-wee’s Play­house” was in­deed in mind when he and the oth­er own­ers ima­gined the shop.

An­gev­ine said Jason Hsu, a loc­al artist, helped design the space.

All three own­ers also have back­grounds in mu­sic, and An­gev­ine said they’ve sat down and re­worked typ­ic­al “ice cream truck jingles” in­to something all their own.

Us­ing a com­puter pro­gram that ran­domly gen­er­ates notes and looped cal­li­ope mu­sic, Little Baby’s Ice Cream has cre­ated its own brand of ice cream jingle.

“We just call it ‘mu­sic for ice cream,’” said An­gev­ine. “It nev­er re­peats and it nev­er ends.”

Vis­it­ors to Little Baby’s Ice Cream will even have a chance to play with some of this mu­sic, as the own­ers have in­stalled a make­shift shower that changes the pitch and tempo of the mu­sic when pat­rons turn the handles.

All of Little Baby’s per­son­al­ity and unique fea­tures don’t come easy, though. The own­ers said they’ve been work­ing long days and nights throughout the sum­mer to pre­pare for last week’s open­ing.

“It’s been a lot of work, but we make a product we stand be­hind,” said Ziga, not­ing that the own­ers use loc­ally sourced in­gredi­ents in the ice cream as much as pos­sible.

An­gev­ine said he and the oth­er own­ers are ex­cited about the fu­ture of ice cream.

“It’s been very hard to get here,” he con­tin­ued. “But we are look­ing for­ward to be­ing here.”

Asked just why the own­ers were so ex­cited to bring Little Baby’s to Fishtown on Frank­ford Av­en­ue, the men smiled.

“This is where we live,” said An­gev­ine. “ We are just really ex­cited about it.”

Star Staff Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be con­tac­ted at 215-354-3124 or hmit­man@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

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