Frozen in Time
At the Ice Creamsmith, the 13 rotating flavors are freshly made, but the shop has otherwise barely changed since opening its doors 40 years ago this month. “There are comics on the wall that are probably older than I am,” says second-generation owner Sarah Mabel-Skillin, who has sweet memories of growing up in the Dorchester parlor. “My brother and I would sit on the freezer and watch my dad decorate the cakes, and every so often he would give us a little squirt of frosting.”
Her dad, David Mabel, started the business with a neighbor after being laid off from a PR job; the partner soon left, and her mom, Robyn, traded her teaching job to work in the shop full-time too. Sarah started scooping as a teen. “My husband Chris and I met working here in high school. He was the one who always thought it would be great to take over the shop. I thought he was crazy.” But the idea started to appeal once they had a family of their own, and the couple bought the business in 2014.
Over the years, the cash-only shop has added a few new offerings, notably ice cream cupcakes and brownie-bottomed ice cream pizzas. But the basic recipe for 14 percent butterfat ice cream hasn’t changed—though to celebrate turning 40, they are mixing things up with a yearlong flavor contest, making single batches of customers’ winning ideas, including a seven-layer bar variety that sold out in five hours. The best flavors may make the rotation, but Sarah’s go-to scoop remains an oldie but a goodie. “My all-time ultimate favorite flavor is peach, which we make every August,” she says. “I think it’s the most delicious thing around.”
The Ice Creamsmith, 2295 Dorchester Ave., Boston (617-296-8567) theicecreamsmith.com