Ici Ice Cream shop closes abruptly, bids Berkeley ‘au revoir’

Ici Ice Cream’s original store was in the Elmwood and it opened a second location in downtown Berkeley in December 2017. Photo: Ici Ice Cream

UPDATE, Nov. 30: Berkeleyside reached Ici owner Mary Canales after the publication of this story which prompted a significant reaction from our community expressing sadness at the news and speculating on what prompted the decision to shutter the two stores. Canales said she didn’t want to say much more than what was written on Ici’s Instagram on Thursday. “We are so very thankful for everyone’s love and support. It means the world to me,” she wrote Berkeleyside by email on Friday. “As for me personally, for the immediate future my focus is to wind down Ici and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley’s popular Ici Ice Cream shop suddenly closed both of its locations Thursday, according to a goodbye post on Ici’s Instagram.

“After 12 amazing years / We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts / For the love, support and community / It’s been a wonderful ride / We wouldn’t have done it without you / With gratitude — au revoir!!!” reads the goodbye message, which is signed by “Mary and all that was Ici Ice Cream.”

Business owner Mary Canales — an alumna of Chez Panisse — opened the original Ici location in the Elmwood in 2006. The shop was well-known for its constant line of devoted fans who snaked out its door. In December, Canales opened a second location on University Avenue (at Shattuck) in downtown Berkeley.

The announcement took the community by surprise. As recently as Nov. 20, Ici was promoting its frozen Bûche de Noel cake on Instagram. The goodbye post prompted more than 170 comments in about three hours. Fans described the closure as “heartbreaking.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Ici’s main website still had no news of the shutdown.

Ici’s creative flavors, which included Earl Grey, candied Meyer lemon and honey lavender pistachio, among many others, earned hordes of devoted followers. All of Ici’s offerings were handmade from scratch using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Early Thursday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside about the apparent closure of the downtown location. A sign on the door of the shop said it would be closed through Dec. 1 for repairs.

Eater SF reported, however, that the original Ici was papered up, and calls to all of Ici’s phone lines went unanswered.” Eater broke the news of the closure.