A Taste of Essex Street Market: Luca and Bosco Ice Cream
A historic culinary destination on the Lower East Side, Essex Street Market is home to more than 20 independent merchants. Over the next few months, we will feature the characters that make up the bustling corner of Delancey and Essex Street.
What better way to celebrate the impending warmer days than with ice cream? Luca & Bosco Fine Crafted Ice Cream at Essex Street Market is serving up flavors to satisfy all tastes, from Drunk & Salty Caramel to Lemon Olive Oil. It's gluten-free too! Here's the story behind how these tasty flavors came to be.
Owner Name(s): Ruthie Vishlitzky & Catherine Oddenino
Business Name: Luca & Bosco Ice Cream
How long in market: Since Sept. 2013
Product sold: Fine crafted ice cream served in cups, cones, sundaes, and pints
Who started the business and why did they want to be in the market?
Founded by Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky, Luca & Bosco’s mission is to bring deliciousness to people’s lives one scoop at a time. Catherine and Ruthie started the company as a fun passion project that they worked on during nights and weekends in addition to their fulltime jobs. In the Spring of 2013 both Ruthie and Catherine left their prior “day jobs” to pursue the ice cream business fulltime. Essex Street Market, with its unique character, mix of vendors, history, and vibrancy, seemed like the perfect place to launch the fledgling business.
What is your favorite memory at Essex Street Market?
The day our ice cream cart arrived, after much anticipation, it was too big to fit through the doors (should have seen that coming!). Instead, it had to be wheeled in through the loading dock in the middle of the market. Our ice cream cart had quite a dramatic entrance as it made a big victory lap through the narrow walkways by all of our fellow vendors on her way to her future home!
What is Luca & Bosco's specialty?
Fine crafted, artisanal ice cream. We take a culinary approach to our ice cream, carefully crafting and tasting each small batch. People can taste the difference! We elevate the more common flavors such as milk chocolate, vanilla bean, and cinnamon, and create unique flavor creations like Honey Lavender, Drunk & Salty Caramel, Whiskey Fudge Rebellion, Peanut Crack, and goat cheese—the list goes on and on!
We’re typically serving up twelve flavors. While we keep some constants, we like to switch things up and change our lineup depending on what’s seasonal, what we’re craving, and what customers are requesting. We also try to always keep one sorbet in the mix for those who can’t have dairy.
We serve our ice cream in cups, cones, or pints to go. We’ve also devised a pretty intense line up of signature sundaes, so serious ice cream lovers should come prepared for a thorough indulgence when visiting the shop.
What is your favorite time of the week at the market, and why?
We love Saturday afternoons when the market is busiest and hopping with visitors. You can see people walk into the market (we have a great view of the doors) and start to make their plan of attack to taste as much as possible. It’s fun to feed a crowd that sees eating and tasting different food as an activity unto itself, and doesn’t shy from trying (and buying) more unusual flavors.
Our other favorite time is weekdays after school when really young kids come through the market. We love feeding these youngsters and seeing how they embrace all of our very unique and different flavors. Who said that kids are picky eaters? They love everything.
Do you source any products from within the market?
As we’re still producing our ice cream in an incubator kitchen (basically a shared commercial kitchen) and have little storage, we actually end up buying a bunch of our ingredients at the market. From basics like sugar to flavoring ingredients like goat cheese and bananas. We also source some of our toppings from Roni-Sue’s. Her buttercrunch topping makes a killer combo on top of our Drunk & Salty Caramel ice cream!
Are there any “fun facts” about your business that you want to share?
Our company name, as sophisticated as it may sound, is actually named after our sweet beloved dogs! Luca is Catherine’s white Maltese and Bosco is Ruthie’s Chocolate Lab. Their faces can now be seen on our pints. Some customers (mostly dog lovers) love learning this fact, while others seem disappointed after giving the name their best attempt at an Italian accent.
Stop by Luca and Bosco for a scoop or two! For more tantalizing ice cream photos—just in time for summer—check out their Instagram. Read our other Essex Street Market profiles and learn more about all of the market's offerings at the Essex Street Market website.