For a city obsessed with food trucks, ice cream, and ice cream trucks, there aren't that many new vendors on the street selling homemade ice cream—at least not by the standards of other trendy street food phenomena. So the newly launched Itizy Ice Cream Truck stands apart, and not just because it's a fresh voice in the city's ice cream street food scene. It's also ice cream especially suited for summer: the kind of light, bright, and refreshing scoop that's often passed over for the city's dense gelati and rich custard-bombs.
Kenneth Chen and Ann Yu have had a passion for homemade ice cream for years; a little after a 40-stop tour of the country's scoop shops, they decided to "finally pluck up enough courage to get started" on a venture of their own. The Itizy truck has been on the streets for a few weeks now, focusing on midtown during afternoon hours and hitting a mix of downtown, Morningside Heights, Tribeca, and Williamsburg in the evenings.
Their ice cream is made with milk, cream, and eggs from Hudson Valley farms, a point which isn't shoved in your face but is evident in the scoop. It's impressively dairy-forward, reminiscent of Ronnybrook's farm-to-freezer selections; but the bright, clean flavors are what keep me coming back for more spoonfuls.
That's a stylistic choice Yu and Chen made after their national ice cream tour. They found that lighter ice creams were their favorites because they allowed flavors to come through more clearly. The result is a much more refreshing scoop than most of the city's other offerings.
They also keep their ice cream stabilizer-free. Not that stabilizing additives are inherently a bad thing (you try shipping batches of ice cream around the city or country without them), but not using them means they're in the kitchen two days a week making new batches of ice cream. This stuff tastes fresh.
There's a small standard menu (four ice creams and two sorbets; $4.25 for single scoop, $6.50 for double), to which they add special flavors like Maple and Roasted Banana as well as homemade waffle cones baked on the truck throughout the day. Vanilla is floral, aromatic, and buttery. Coffee Brownie is also excellent: the coffee flavor is roasted and rich, but clean and crisp—just bitter enough in all the right ways to stand up to the ridiculously fudgy brownie chunks.
But my heart really lies with the splendid Mint Stracciatella, which has the potent herbal verve of fresh mint leaves and the clean bitterness of quality chocolate chopped well into tiny shards. It's exactly what you want to eat on a muggy 90° day.
Sorbets aren't quite as solid yet. Blueberry Mojito is ripe and fruity, but also dry and slightly crumbly. Strawberry fares better, though: also a little on the icy side, but with a punch of awesome berry flavor. Lots of ice cream makers use the word "natural" to describe their products; Itizy's scoops are among the few that really deserve the word.
I'd be remiss to not mention Itizy's social mission: for every five scoops sold, Itizy donates one meal to the UN World Food Program, a non-profit initiative working to fight world hunger. You can read more about the program here.
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