Get our free newsletter
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy ice cream. And soon enough, you’ll be able to buy hand-scooped happiness from Ice Cream Jubilee’s second location in one of D.C.’s top nightlife destinations.
Owner Victoria Lai confirms that she’s expanding her business to 1407 T St. NW a little more than two years after Ice Cream Jubilee’s Navy Yard venue opened its doors on July 12, 2014—a date Lai seamlessly recalls as if it were a child’s birthday. If all goes well, she says, the new store should start serving customers in September.
It’ll share a space with sweets-purveyor BakeHouse, which closed in May. Owners Niall Cooper and Lindsey Morse will continue to run their wholesale bakery operation in the back, while Ice Cream Jubilee subleases the front. The shop will be somewhat smaller than the one adjacent to The Yards Park (less than 900 square feet, in Lai’s estimation) but patrons will be able to move in a line going the length of the store.
“I wanted to keep a lid on it because everyone wants ice cream in the summer and I hated to disappoint if we had announced too early,” Lai says. Local blog PoPville posted today about a permit seen at the store that had Lai’s name on it. She adds that Cherry Blossom Creative is designing the new venue.
The store will feature two large ice-cream cabinets that can hold about a dozen flavors each, whereas the current location has a large cabinet plus a smaller one that holds about half a dozen. Lai says 1407 T St. NW will have plenty of freezer storage to keep extra ice cream so supplies don’t run out. By the end of their first year at Navy Yard, Lai notes her team had learned it needed more space for “ready-to-scoop ice cream” since lines were growing, particularly on weekends. On top of mulling hot drinks during the winter as well as floats, she’s working on new sundae combinations.
“We’re going to see how we can push the envelope,” Lai explains. “The combining of textures and multiple flavors and variety in a sundae expands upon one of my favorite things with ice cream, which is creating a flavor arc. You start with something and then end with a full story.”
Though Lai had been approached by brokers courting her business, she says the 14th Street location and the chance to partner with BakeHouse won out. Based on surveys, “We found out that aside from the customers who are already within walking distance at The Yard, the people who love Ice Cream Jubilee are mostly walking distance from this new location—in Columbia Heights, Dupont, Logan, Woodley.”
Lai, who lives in Mount Pleasant, says she’ll split her time between the two locations to the extent possible, but notes that she’ll likely hang around 1407 T St. NW more when it first opens to help cultivate the same regular following she enjoys in Navy Yard.
“I think like many great passions, [ice cream is] simultaneously nostalgic and very present,” she says, recalling her upbringing in Houston, where her father—then a medical resident—would come home late at night and have ice cream with her and her sister. “Everyone has a happy memory about ice cream.”
Check out Ice Cream Jubilee’s current flavors here.