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Interview with a Local: Mohan Kumar of OddFellows Ice Cream

OddFellows Ice Cream Co. is a Brooklyn-based, family-owned and operated small business founded by husband-and-wife team Mohan and Holiday Kumar and Chef Sam Mason. They opened their flagship location in June 2013 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And it’s often the favorite stop for attendees on our Williamsburg Bites Brooklyn Food Tour and Sunday Funday Williamsburg Tour, so we wanted to dig deeper to share their story.

Every scoop of their ice cream is made from scratch in the Williamsburg kitchen. According to the website, “We strive to create the highest quality and freshest ice cream available, pasteurizing our ice cream base in-house to concoct the most distinctive and scrumptious flavors ranging from inventive renditions of the classics to the delectably unconventional. Our milk, eggs, and cream are sourced from local farms and, whenever possible, we use all-natural ingredients.”

In Brooklyn, they offer 14 different flavors, and because they produce their super-premium ice cream in small batches, the flavors rotate regularly and often times throughout the day!

We spoke with one of the founders (and friend of Like A Local) Mohan Kumar. We even got the scoop (get it?!) on a secret popup opening later this month! 

How did you come to open OddFellows? 

I had known Sam {Chef, Sam Mason} since living on Clinton Street in the Lower East Side back in 2003/2004, when Sam was a pastry chef at WD-50. So, when we started talking about this idea, we had known each other for about 8 years. The idea really started when Holiday (Mohan’s wife) was pregnant, and Sam brought over pretzel ice cream for her. She loved it and know I was trying to start a business, so she suggested talking to Sam about ice cream. So I sat down with Sam at Lady Jay’s one night and he was all in.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your background? 

I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. I went to school at the University of Michican. I moved to New York City after graduating in 2002 and I’ve been here ever since. I worked in real estate finance for 10 years leading up to opening OddFellows. 

What do you love about owning OddFellows?

It’s creative and it’s a happy thing. People always come in with a smile and they’re always in a good mood. That’s a great business to be in.

I know you now have a second location in the East Village, and you did some popups in Australia and elsewhere last summer. What’s on tap for this summer?

We’ve got a really cool popup coming to Soho. It’s a secret now, but should open by June 21.

Chef makes some pretty incredible flavors. What has been your favorite?

My all time favorite is hard to choose. I pick a different flavor every week in all honesty. But a few that stick out: prosciutto melon, saffron passionfruit, miso peanut butter and vanilla bean.

Can you tell us about any new flavors he’s currently working on or new menu items

We are going big on soft serve. It’s part of the popup in Soho!

As you know, we are all about local … can you share a few of your favorites places in NYC (or Brooklyn, Queens, etc)?

Wave Hill (public gardens in Riverdale, Bronx), Pickle Guys on the Lower East Side, Samurai Mama (Williamsburg), Cafe Dante (West Village), Brooklyn Bowl, Montana’s Trail House (Bushwick), Mister Dips (Williamsburg) and Three Diamond Door (Bushwick)

Wow, that’s a great list! Last question. Can you share a favorite NYC moment?

I’d say going to Coney Island and watching Daft Punk at the baseball stadium. It’s where I first saw Holiday (my wife) – I didn’t talk speak with her there it only saw her and knew I wanted to meet her. And it was one of the best concerts of my life.

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