On Thursday, October 11th, we opened our Los Feliz scoop shop, our first-ever scoop shop on the West Coast! The gravity of this moment wasn’t lost to us; we had moved across the country. To call it a milestone is an understatement. Thanks to the support of countless people, our small Brooklyn business is growing—and fast. Now, we can share our playful take on dessert with an entire new coast! At 3pm, we opened the doors to greet a long, winding line.
We treated the line to free scoops, free swag and even Walt Bucks—so the next time they visit, their scoops are free again! But opening day is a momentous occasion deserving of a major celebration, so we decided to give away ice cream all day long. You read that correctly: free scoops for everyone. We quickly found that giving away ice cream attracted a crowd, but we loved doing it because it gave us a chance to meet everyone who came in the door.
Our founders, Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, spent the day mingling with guests and getting to know the community firsthand. Some of the hardworking employees from the Children’s Hospital dropped by for a well-deserved treat, saying they’d make this their new post-shift hangout. Friends of Amployees on the East Coast came by to see what the fuss was all about. We met teenagers looking for a new after-school spot, local families, budding foodies and ‘sugar-rushed’ children racing up and down the sidewalk yelling, “this place is amazing!”
But what really surprised us was how many people came to our opening day because they already had a love for Ample Hills. Moving out West, we thought we’d be the new kids in town, but it turned out that many people already knew us and loved us! One guest ordered an entire 3.5 gallon tub of Snap, Mallow, Pop!, right out of the dipping cabinet. (That’s an equivalent of over 26 pints.) A couple drove all the way from Malibu because they cherished their memories from our East Coast scoop shops, telling Jackie that whenever they visit their daughter in New York, she takes them to Ample Hills. When they found out we were coming to their neck of the woods, they just had to be there! Brian and Jackie heard stories from New York natives who had moved to California, families who knew us from their vacations to Disney World and ice cream aficionados grateful they no longer needed to scour freezer aisles to find their favorite flavors.
Our Los Feliz opening quickly became a bit of a reunion too! The weekend was sprinkled with familiar faces, including one of Jackie’s high school friends, a cousin she hadn’t seen since he was just a kid (now he’s in college!) and director Turi Meyer. A little backstory: before Brian and Jackie founded Ample Hills Creamery, Brian worked as a struggling screenwriter, churning out scripts about monsters instead of ice cream. A friend from those days, Turi Meyer directed Brian’s first film for the SyFy channel, Alien Express starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Todd Bridges. (Our Gowanus shop-specific flavor, It Came From Gowanus, is a tribute to Brian’s sci-fi screenwriting days.) It was surreal to see Turi Meyer again, celebrating Brian’s latest work—albeit with a few less extraterrestrials this time around.
Whenever we open a new scoop shop, we approach it like moving into a new neighborhood; our goal is to contribute to the community, befriend the locals and well, to put it plainly, be a good neighbor. Before this breezy bungalow became our Los Feliz scoop shop, it was the office of Dr. Fleiss, a beloved pediatrician. It warmed our hearts to see so many of his former patients drop by! Everyone was swapping stories about their times in the office, reminiscing about the past and thanking us for keeping the integrity of the building’s architecture the same. We knew Dr. Fleiss had been a pillar of the community and are grateful that by moving in, we’re able to breathe new life into such a meaningful space. We saw families point out to their kids where his reception used to be, where the couches were and more. Nothing pleases us more than hearing how much guests appreciated what we’re doing, especially from guests who already have such a strong connection to the bungalow! Now Los Feliz residents have the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, while simultaneously making new ones, ice cream in hand. Our scoop shop is yet another backdrop for a family memories, and it’s an honor to continue that tradition by serving the community.
We believe an essential part of each of our scoop shops feeling like home is the people: the Amployees! We encourage our Amployees to take a sense of ownership over their scoop shops, to make them their own and of course, to taste all the flavors and only recommend their favorites (be honest!). Our scoop shops are never cookie cutter replicas of each other. To open our Los Feliz scoop shop, two of our most beloved Amployees moved from New York to California. Seasoned ice cream experts, Katie and Jake have been with us for years, so we knew we could trust them to carry the torch. Hear more about their incredible work here. We couldn’t have been luckier to find them—or the countless other friends, family and Amployees who have helped us along the way. Down to the murals on the walls, every detail is mindfully chosen to be right for this specific location alone and speak to the needs and sensibilities of the community. Thank you!
All murals were hand painted by our Creative Director, Lauren Kaelin, who has painted all of our East Coast scoop shops and flew across country to do it!
Our Los Feliz scoop shop’s opening day also marked the premiere of our newest shop-specific flavor, Beneath Las Estrellas. Inspired by the history and community of Los Feliz as well as the nearby Griffith Observatory, Beneath Las Estrellas is an horchata ice cream mixed with Milky Way swirls of dulce de leche and star-studded skies of white chocolate pearls.
Beneath Las Estrellas
We couldn’t have asked for a better opening. We were deeply moved by everyone’s stories and enthusiasm! In keeping with LA’s reputation for warm weather, it definitely was a warm welcome. We savored every chance to share our ice cream with the West. By closing time on opening day, we had given away over 700 scoops of ice cream. To keep the party going all weekend long, the first 100 scoops were free Friday through Sunday. It’s official: Ample Hills is now scooping from coast-to-coast. Visit us!
Los Feliz scoop shop
1824 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Feliz, California 90027
Open daily: 12pm to 11pm