For Yale students, the beginning of September is all about shopping. There are courses to compare and futons to buy. And after next week, there will be one more item to add to the list: ice cream.
Ashley’s will open at 280 York St., the former location of the Whimsels crepe shop. The parlor will feature all homemade ice cream, including coffee-flavored specialties such as coffee oreo and expresso ground. Seasonal flavors, including candy cane and pumpkin, will rotate through the selection, while a variety of sorbets and sherbets will be permanently on the menu.
Ashley’s is no stranger to the Yale community. The establishment previously held residence on York Street, but closed in the spring of 1999 and was eventually replaced by Whimsels. Store owner and operator Joseph Amentrano said he is excited Ashley’s is returning to New Haven after a three-year absence.
“New Haven is where our roots are,” Amentrano said in a press release. “Yale University has been tremendously helpful in facilitating my return and I look forward to serving the Yale community as well as all the others who know us or will discover us.”
Previous statewide reception of the ice cream shop had been overwhelmingly positive. New Haven Advocate readers voted the ice cream parlor the “best ice cream in New Haven,” while Connecticut Magazine readers voted Ashley’s the “best ice cream in the state.”
Although Whimsels was unsuccessful in attracting enough customers to remain open, Vice President of New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander said that he thinks Ashley’s will be popular among Yale and New Haven community members.
“This location gets ample traffic to support an establishment with a good product,” Alexander said. “Student focus groups indicated that ice cream is a good addition to the Broadway merchandise mix.”
Kayla Nelson ’03 said she thinks Ashley’s will be a better addition to a college community than Whimsels was.
“Whimsels was a poor idea to have on a college campus because what college student walks home and thinks, ‘Hey, an overpriced crepe is what I’m craving,'” Nelson said. “I’m sure an ice cream parlor will do well if it can compete with the moose tracks ice cream at Yorkside.”
Despite its previous popularity, Ashley’s will still have to compete for student business with the numerous other food establishments in the Broadway shopping district. For one Yale student, whether she frequents Ashley’s depends on its selection of flavors.
“I’ll check out Ashley’s if they have mint chocolate chip ice cream,” Nelson said.