To many New Yorkers, the Midwest is a region where dairy cows roam the streets, fields are devoid of cultural institutions like Times Square or the Barclays Center, and things like stars replace skylines and skyscrapers. While the middle of the country doesn't get a lot of credit from its East Coast counterparts, The Midwest, Wisconsin in particular, truly is a culinary epicenter for all things dairy. The West Village's 5oz Factory fills a necessary gap for Midwestern Cuisine in the snobbier Eastern parts of the country, where New Yorkers can finally enjoy the rich deliciousness that is Midwestern dairy.
Dan Schuman, born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin moved to New York nine years ago to pursue a career in the legal field. However, much to his dismay, nowhere in this gigantic metropolis was there a corner custard shop like he was used to from home. Shake Shack was the only thing that came close, but close was not enough.
"I wanted to do it my own way," Schuman said. "I wanted to bring the type of frozen desserts that I loved growing up and I want New York know how good this stuff can be."
In 2012, Schuman traveled the United States for a year, researching dairy texture and taste of frozen desserts, in order to hone in on what he believed to be the perfect Wisconsin Frozen Custard profile.
With his self-appointed diploma from the “Frozen Dessert Institute, Schuman, who had no prior restaurant experience, scouted out the location for 5oz Factory last year, teamed up with chef Angela Kuzma, and built a menu of melts and custards, a truly unique concept to New York City. The custard recipe was tested for over a year before it reached its final formulation. The result is a dense, creamy, rich, and lucious frozen dessert that leaves fans craving the sweet product even during Polar Vortex conditions.
Custard is served in 5 ounce portions, hence the name, and comes in vanilla, chocolate, and caramel flavors. Toppings range from M&Ms to sprinkles to brownies, and many more creative options,
The casual eatery fits in well on West Eighth Street, which is dotted with both sit down and counter service restaurants for NYU students and local neighbors to spend time chatting and enjoying local bites. 5oz Factory's melts range from the Vegetarian (sharp cheddar, swiss muenster and colby on brioche, $7.25) to the Smoked Turkey Lurkey (muenster, Dijon, balsamic dressing, hand-carved smoked turkey breast, spinach, avocado served on rye, $10.25) to the indulgent Figgy and Piggy Went to the City (brie and mascarpone, fig preserves, Principe Prosciutto di Parma and spinach on home-style brioche, $11.25). The melts are gooey and crispy, sweet and savory, combining perfect elements of your cheesy cravings to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. gluten-free options are also available.
All the dairy used in 5oz Factory's products is sourced from upstate Wisconsin, and Schuman has personally met with all of the cheesemakers himself to make sure he can get the best products (and at the best price point).
"A lot of Midwesterners come here," Schuman said. "People come here with a purpose. They love custard and haven't had real custard here. Also, a lot of people just love cheese."
Yes they do. Check out the cheesy melts and new Wisconsin cheese curds at 5oz Factory, 24 West 8th Street. Online ordering is also available, for those who want to gorge on melted mozzerella all the way in Midtown, or down on Canal Street.