Dasher & Crank, a chef-driven craft ice-cream shop, has quietly opened a few blocks south of Coyo Taco and Panther Coffee in Wynwood.
The light-pink storefront, outfitted with sleek white and blond-wood furnishings and a glowing neon ice-cream cone sign, debuted in December 2017 during Art Basel, when the shop scooped on weekend afternoons and evenings. The store soft-opened this month and now offers ice cream every day from 2 to 10 p.m.
The brains behind the operation are Miami restaurateurs Daniel Levine and Ryan Elias, along with chef Thomas McCarthy, a 20-year pastry veteran. The concept revolves around a rotating lineup of 18 flavors, from raspberry-wasabi to mint with activated charcoal.
"There aren't many ice-cream shops that have a local focus like us," Levine says. "We team up with a bunch of different restaurants and brands to create many of our flavors."
Take, for instance, Dasher & Crank's Chicken and Waffles flavor, which mixes chunks of chicken and waffle from Wynwood's Kush. Then there's Coffee and Cinnamon Rolls, which uses Knaus Berry Farm's rolls and Per'la's java, and the Fat Elvis, blended with peanut butter, banana, and Miami Smokers bacon. The shop also offers up to six vegan flavors, including chocolate chipotle and raspberry chocolate rum.
"We've got different degrees of quirkiness," McCarthy says, who spent years as executive pastry chef at Philadelphia's Morimoto. "But we offer a wonderful vanilla too. Over the years, I've built up a lexicon of flavors, and having the chance to just focus on ice cream now has been really liberating."
Other popular flavors are JoJo Tea's Earl Grey with chocolate chips; strawberry, cream cheese, and guava jelly; and ube macapuno, a blend of Filipino purple yam and coconut. Prices start at $5.
"Many people have no idea who we are or what we're doing," Elias says. "Then we take them through all the flavors, and they try profiles they've never had in their life. The idea of offering samples gives people the comfort to open up to new flavors."
There's no telling how long one of Dasher & Crank's 18 flavors will last. Some, such as Your Basic Vanilla and the Chocolate Crank, will stick around indefinitely. But others, like Coffee and Cinnamon Rolls and the Fat Elvis, might be retired soon.
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"I want to switch them constantly," McCarthy says. "It's also about what's available and seasonal. But some are very popular, so we'll hold them in place."
In addition to creating unique in-store flavors, the trio looks forward to offering customized varieties for local restaurants and cafés, as well as offering late-night ice cream-themed events and boozy flavors.
"There's a lot of potential here," Elias says. "We'll be throwing children's birthdays at 11 a.m. and then flipping the space to host a liquor sponsor at 11 p.m. We've got a playful design that fits right in with families, but our more mature flavors attract a more adult crowd too."