By Diane Ako
On a hot Sunday afternoon, my family and I decided to check out what's new in Chinatown. As parents of a young child, Claus and I hardly ever get out to old haunts anymore.
We parked and wandered the streets, looking at hip stores like Fighting Eel and Roberta Oakes, and peeking in the storefronts of all the cool food joints like Manifest and Lucky Belly. Sure, some of these places have been around for years. I admit, we live in the proverbial cave.
We stumbled upon a doorway with a big ice cream cone picture on it. It was at child's eye level and of course, someone in our party asked us to stop.
I love ice cream, so I gave in right away. It was a new store called Wing Ice Cream Parlor. The adults ordered cones. Olivia had a rainbow shaved ice.
The store opened in February, and owner Miller Royer told me that while it was difficult in the beginning due to the low-traffic location of 1145 Maunakea Street, it's finally picking up due to word of mouth. Royer is a chef who tells me he spent time in the Connecticut kitchen of Soul de Cuba among other cooking stints, before deciding that he wanted to flex his entrepreneurial wings.
Oh, the store isn't called Wing for that reason. It's called Wing because that's his Chinese middle name.
He sells commercial ice creams, but supplements the menu with his own homemade and unique flavors like Pizza and Prez-i-dent Bush (a pretzel flavor). I tried and cannot recommend the pizza, sorry.
He also does same for his shaved ice flavors.
Royer is half Chinese, half German. His mother works at a produce shop literally around the corner, which is where he gets the fresh fruit for his homemade ice creams. Just as he was telling me this, a Chinese lady walked in and handed him a tupperware lunch in a plastic bag.
"That's my mom," he said sheepishly. The days are gone when my mother could cook and then hand me lunch like that, and I was touched at the small and common interchange.
My family and I all finished up our snacks in the cool of the ice cream shop- the only ice cream shop in Chinatown, he points out. Like so many Asians, I am lactose-intolerant. Ironic, a little, to open a dairy shop in the middle of Chinatown, but Royer has thought of that too.
On a shelf near the cash wrap, he has a box of lactose pills marked for sale at 25 cents each.
1145 Maunakea St