Talking Shop: An hour for ice cream? Sure

Liquid nitrogen confections at Creamistry, which opened recently in Irvine, are apparently worth the wait.

September 23, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Owner Jay Yim, 33, right, of Yorba Linda poses for a portrait at Creamistry in Irvine on Thursday. Creamistry is the first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop in Orange County.
Owner Jay Yim, 33, right, of Yorba Linda poses for a portrait… (KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

In a classic episode of "The Office," Steve Carell's Michael Scott told his underling, played by John Krasinski, "It's never too late for ice cream, Jim."

And if the scene at Creamistry in Irvine on Thursday was any indication, it's never too early either.

A pair of friends arrived scouring for dessert at 11 a.m. no less. Ignoring the advice of mothers everywhere, they chortled, lunch could wait.

But the rendezvous wasn't meant to be, as evidenced by "Awws" and a particularly loud "Oh, no!"

The electricity was out — a death sentence for Orange County's first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor.

Some sweet-toothed customers lingered, praying fervently to the power gods, while others left amid promises to return. The lights blinked on before 1 p.m., and within minutes, it was business — and long lines — as usual.

Owner Jay Yim said the community's reaction is the same every day — overwhelming.


Creamistry, a blend of the words creamery and chemistry, celebrated its soft opening Sept. 11 so Jay and his wife, Katie, and their staff could practice. When they went in at noon, the plan was to invite passersby to sample their frozen fare.

That wasn't to be, though.

Thirty minutes after the doors opened, nearly 40 people spilled onto the sidewalk. The queue continued to grow, and the last guest was served at midnight, said Jay, whose team, donning aprons and goggles, had prepared an estimated 1,000 scoops before closing.

"On Day One, we didn't expect such a big line, so we ran out of nitrogen," he said. "The second day, we ran out of products. It's a good problem to have."

Despite the help of 20 employees — a number that is expected to grow in the coming days — the Yorba Linda-based couple worked 60 hours straight for the first few days.

In the week since, Creamistry has received ample flak online with visitors griping about the one-hour-plus wait. However, foodies continue to flock to the Crossroads shopping center seemingly undeterred by these warnings. At last count, the number of daily confections served stood at 700 — with the Yims settling into a more manageable routine than the first-day frenzy.

"Every six-ounce cup is individually made for you — that's why it takes time," Jay, 33, said. "We have all six mixers running open to close, and we are putting ice cream on the counter and calling people's names every minute. That's as fast as we can go."

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