Michael “Mikey” Cole, founder and owner of “Mikey Likes It. Ice Cream” has brought about a new spin on the ice cream he churns. The popularity of his shop has stretched beyond Harlem and the Lower East Side in New York and has gained the attention of notable musicians such as Future, Kehlani, and Rico Nasty. It’s not just the shop’s atmosphere that keeps people coming back. It’s the pop culture influences that create a throwback type of vibe. Flavors such as Foxy Brown, 2 Live Crew, and this month’s flavor Eat to Heal, inspired by Dr. Sebi, gives ice cream lovers a chance to take a bite into culture.
In this interview, Mikey gives us a peek into his icy imagination and explains how he built the coldest ice cream shop in New York. Coming from the city where dreams are born every day, Mikey told the cold, sweet, one of a kind truth behind his.
Why out of all things ice cream?
Why not! Ice cream was given to me as a gift. My Aunt Lucy, rest her soul, left a vanilla ice cream recipe in a cookbook she was putting together from her culinary school experience. I decided to try making the ice cream and couldn’t on the first try. Kept working on it and after a lot of trial and error, I made a batch that I thought was the best. Ice Ice Baby was born.
Realizing that my aunt only wanted the best for me as a child, I decided to use this tool as a way to teach others her message and values that she instilled in me.
Ice cream from the heart, making memories and spreading happiness one scoop at a time.
What is your greatest achievement in this industry?
The greatest achievement is seeing the natural reaction of people when they experience Mikey’s.
The weather is getting warmer which means more business. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
You deal with pressure by slowing it down. This is not fast food. It’s quality. Keep it simple and slow it down. The best things come to those who wait.
What does a typical day look like?
Checking both shops. Developing flavors. Doing paperwork. Eating right. Making sure to spend time with the staff. I have also started adding time to work out my mind and body.
Why Harlem and The Lower East Side specifically?
Uptown and downtown. I’m from the Lower East Side/East Village, and I used to go to school in Harlem. I wanted to stay in touch with my youthful roots, and there’s no better way than to build and strengthen the community.
You’re taking a huge step in the community. What do you hope to gain?
I hope to gain a voice for the community by connecting values with the kids and people as a whole. Hopefully, kids and people understand that I am the lemonade stand 2.0 and that we can accomplish anything that we put our minds to.
What was the biggest motivation?
My motivation is looking at another person who can’t walk and see them making a way to not be stopped. There is no excuse for failure. We push each other to be the best.
Keep looking for ways to better yourself and work on things gradually. Making a habit a good one.
What’s your personal favorite on the menu ?
Always my Triple Vanilla because that’s the canvas for other things. But hands down my Southern Hospitality flavor, which is butter pecan on steroids pecan pie ice cream with praline pecans and pecan pie pieces. Delicious.
How long has the business operated, and do you plan on expanding?
The business has been operating for 6 years. 5 years as a storefront. Plans to expand are definitely in the works.
With everything that New York has to offer, Mikey Like It Ice Cream is definitely a stop to make. The flavors, decor, and atmosphere are nothing short of amazing. If you don’t catch Michael “Mikey” Cole upon arriving at either of his shops, his staff will greet you with welcoming arms, and you’ll leave with a smile on your face. What is being done at his shop is something that hasn’t been done before, and the world should know! Mikey Like it Ice Cream pays homage to late and great icons most don’t know about. His flavors match the icons they are inspired after. His cold creations definitely leave a lasting impression that keeps people coming back. This isn’t the end of his expansion. Like Mikey said, “Look out! We’re coming to a neighborhood near you.”
Check out “Mikey Likes It Ice Cream” locations in Harlem and East Village in New York.