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Ice & Vice
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

The Grilling: Ice & Vice's Ken Lo

Time Out Market New York ice cream expert Ken Lo on kooky flavors, neighborhood haunts and one apartment horror story


“We got rejected from Smorgasburg three times,” admits Ice & Vice cofounder Ken Lo. But that didn’t stop him and partner Paul Kim from setting up a stand just down the street from the Williamsburg food bazaar and quickly gaining a fervent enough following to open a brick-and-mortar scoop shop on the Lower East Side. Typical of many small-business owners, Lo and Kim juggled other nine-to-fives before jumping headfirst into the sweet life: Lo worked in finance, while Kim was a chef on cruises. The duo met through mutual friends, and soon most of their free time was occupied whipping up ice cream. Those toothsome experiments paid off: Today, Ice & Vice has a downtown flagship, a Times Square stand and a spot inside Time Out Market in Dumbo—all serving wonderfully out-there flavors like the TV Dinner. Lucky for us, the creative concoctions keep on coming. If you need any taste testers, Ken, just give us a holler.

A lot of your mad-scientist ice creams reference NYC touchstones. Could you describe one of them?

Shade is an homage to the black-and-white cookie: It combines white and dark chocolate, but we decided to caramelize the white chocolate and smoke the dark chocolate for something extra. 

Have you tested out any ingredients that were just too weird? We tried to make a lox ice cream, and it didn’t play out that well—lox freezes rock-hard.

Speaking of weird, do you have any apartment horror stories? One time, I came out of the shower at 6am, and there was a naked man in my apartment.

Was it someone you knew? So, it turns out that it was one of my building neighbors who had sleepwalked into my apartment, and I didn’t have the doors locked that day. I ended up having to wake him up gently, and then he started screaming. He ended up leaving the building two days later.

Spooky! Describe your first apartment here. 
It was a fourth-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side, back when it was more affordable. In that area, there was no retail, really; this was before the Q train was built. The Upper East Side has this perception of being ritzy, but I found some down-to-earth people—very family-oriented. I felt like I was living in a small town.

Where are you based these days?
I live in East Harlem. I love how kids play out in the street during the summers there. People will come out and play bongos and sing along. They open the fire hydrants and have a barbecue right on the street.

Want to shock and tantalize your taste buds? Folks with a serious sweet tooth should look no further than Ice & Vice, which serves handcrafted small batches of unique concoctions, such as the Koala Chip (eucalyptus, black pepper and chocolate chips). For complete Time Out Market menus, more info an editors’ picks, head to


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