When walking into City Center Ice Cream the aromas of freshly made waffle cones consume the shop. All products are fresh and homemade, including the ice cream, waffle cones, smoothies and ice cream cakes.
City Center Ice Cream first opened in November of 2015 under the management and ownership of Young and Jay Choi. The couple moved from Seoul, South Korea, almost 20 years ago and has a son, 35, and daughter, 29.
Their first venture was Sushi Yama, which they ran for a year before joining the Maggie Moo’s franchise for 10 years. When Maggie Moo’s pulled its area of operations to southern Florida, the Chois decided to run an ice cream business of their own.
We had ten years experience by then,” Young says. “Our City Center landlord helped us with using the City Center name and making our logo.”
The Chois each perform different duties for the shop, where they have found success due to hard work.
The shop offers 25 flavors, including sherbets and frozen yogurt. Jay’s favorite flavor is pistachio. The ice cream is made in-store every few days (setting them apart from other ice cream shops) and daily during peak season. The most popular flavors are birthday cake and cotton candy, and depending on the order size, a customer is allowed three toppings on top of or mixed in the ice cream. There are four sizes for individual ice cream orders along with the quart and pint size.
City Center Ice Cream promises “Happiness in every scoop,” from chocolate and vanilla to flavors such as green tea, cinnamon bun and brownie batter. The sherbet flavors consist of mango and raspberry, and for frozen yogurt, flavors include red velvet, forest berry and chocolate fudge. There are also combination recommendations of any three mix-ins. Selections include: strawberry freefall, strawberry ice cream with strawberries; Oreo cookies and fudge; or banana swings, consisting of banana ice cream with walnuts, bananas and caramel.
There is also the healthier option of a made-to-order smoothie prepared with fresh fruit and ice cream or sherbet. Favorite flavors include pineapple and strawberry banana.
City Center Ice Cream also creates and sells cakes: classic, delightful or premium, each served as small, medium or large. Classic flavors include the ice cream pizza, a cake that looks like a pizza but is made of ice cream and candy or “cotton candy dream” with yellow cake and cotton candy ice cream, mixed with M&Ms. More sophisticated or premium cake options include pecan flower and waffle parade, featuring freshly-made waffle cones. Jay is the sole cake decorator in the shop.
Along with the Chois, City Center Ice Cream employs seven helpers who delight in creating ice cream treats.
When Jay is not working, he likes to go deep-sea fishing. Last year he caught a 28-pound, 5-ounce blueline tilefish for which he received a Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Citation.
“The season opened again May 1,” Jay says. “I am excited to be doing my favorite hobby.”
Frequent visitors can grab a punch card, which gives the cardholder a discount after 10 visits and specials with discounts are often available to customers.
TO THE POINT:
City Center Ice Cream
Contacts: Young and Jay Choi, owners
Address: 707 Mariners Row #106,
Newport News, VA 23606