Cowboy Cookie Dough Chris welcomed visitors Thursday at the press preview of the new, very pink Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco with the query: “What’s your favorite?” and everyone shared: Mint chip, pistachio, coffee, pralines and cream.
The completely renovated building at 1 Grant Ave., formerly an Armani store and a bank before that, has been transformed into a fantasy forum Willy Wonka would envy — with a gummy bear garden, rock candy cave and “signature” swimming pool filled with sprinkles.
Others are clamoring, too. Tickets, which cost $38 online, are sold out through October; a new batch, being released today, cover dates through mid-February, publicist Devan Pucci said.
After one of the pink-clad guides showed off a real vault with a pink-painted handle and called the museum a place where “flavors are mysteries, toppings are toys and sprinkles make the world go round,” patrons toured the rooms.
In one, Bubblegum Brandon scooped strawberry snap sundaes, featuring an exclusive BiRite flavor with crumbled ginger cookies. Another room had a carnival-style ring toss game, with whipped cream canisters instead of bottles.
In the “Make A Statement” room, folks answered “What do you scream for?” with colorful letter magnets on white walls.
Gigantic hanging cherries interspersed with clouds filled a room ideal for photo opps; so was the “ice cream truck pick” room, with its play-structure sized orange Push-Up bars and fetching wallpaper design showcasing Bomb Pops, Nutty Buddies and more.
Museum co-founder Manish Vora described the museum’s success in New York (where there was a wait list of 200,000 after 45 days): “We hit a nerve, we saw the enthusiasm, the joy. It was beyond our wildest imagination.”
The nearby rainbow room is exclusive to San Francisco. It was next to the unicorn room, where swirled soft-serve mini-cones made of “unicorn milk” were offered.
Co-founder Maryellis Bunn, the artistic and economic brainchild of the museum and self-proclaimed ice cream maniac whose favorite flavor is vanilla (for its purity), was on hand for the festivities.
“I have the most satisfying job,” she said.
The designer, originally from Southern California, says her first idea for the museum was the sprinkle pool. She thought of it because she lived near the ocean and always wanted to swim in a sea of sprinkles.
Noticing one patron wearing a necklace with Mickey Mouse, she said Walt Disney has inspired her. The influence is notable.
The visit to MOIC feels like a stop at one of the happiest places around, like a Disney park for the 21st century.
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