Cult ice-cream company Humphry Slocombe is crossing the bay and will open in Oakland — its first outpost outside San Francisco.
According to Humphry Slocombe co-founder Sean Vahey, the maker of flavors such as Elvis (The Fat Years), Bacon, Beets and Jesus Juice Sorbet, will open a shop at the Hive at 2335 Broadway (between 24th and 25th streets), the hub of food and drink destinations that includes Calavera, Drakes Dealership, Firebrand bakery and Red Bay Coffee. Realtors Retail West brokered the deal.
Asked why the company chose Oakland for its first foray beyond San Francisco, Vahey said: “We love Oakland. Our truck has been making trips to Oakland and we really fell in love and want to be part of what’s going on there. It’s a natural next step.”
Vahey said he is particularly stoked Humphry Slocombe co-founder Jake Godby will be developing a brand new Oakland ice-cream flavor. Godby is brainstorming ingredients, and the flavor will likely be ready for the Oakland store’s summer 2017 opening.
Humphry Slocombe, whose name is a composite of two characters in the bawdy 1970s British TV series, “Are You Being Served,” was opened by Vahey and Godby in 2008 and is famous for its strange flavors and unusual ingredients.
Godby, who was a pastry chef at high-end San Francisco restaurant Coi under Daniel Patterson before he and Vahey launched out on their own, claimed in a New York Times Magazine piece in 2010 that he never thought his ice cream shop would attract children, and that he deliberately set out to open a “challenging” place.
While Ancho Chilies or Black Vinegar Halva ice cream might not be for everyone, customers have risen to the challenge and lines can often be found out the door at Humphry Slocombe’s two San Francisco locations — on Harrison Street (at 24th) and in the Ferry Building.
Tubs of the ice cream can be bought in numerous San Francisco and Bay Area delis and corner stores, as well as larger outlets like Whole Foods, and there’s the Humphry Slocombe ice-cream truck. Always open to tickling new tastebuds, for San Francisco Beer Week, the company made a batch new flavors in collaboration with local breweries.
Vahey said the Oakland shop at the Hive will have a grand opening party in the summer and all proceeds from ice-cream sales will go to Project Open Hand, a nonprofit that provides nutritious meals to the homebound and critically ill and that has an office in Oakland, close to the new ice cream spot. Humphry Slocombe has a history of supporting Project Open Hand in San Francisco.
The Oakland shop will be located near Drakes Dealership and is being designed by Urban Bloc, which created the converted shipping container shop for Red Bay Coffee, also at the Hive.
It’s not strictly speaking the first time Humphry Slocombe has been served in the East Bay. The short-lived dining and food destination Grand Fare Market, at 3265 Grand Ave., did serve up scoops for a while through the window of a snazzy 1946 blue and silver Spartan Mansion trailer parked on the market’s expansive patio.
This story was updated after publication after Nosh reached Humphry Slocombe co-founder Sean Vahey for comment.