Interview: Jen & Andy Satinsky of Weckerly's Ice Cream
October 7, 2013
The husband and wife duo make cool, artisinal flavors out in West Philly
About a year ago, people in West Philly/University City started seeing a sweet sight on certain afternoons: a table set up outside of the Green Line Cafe on Baltimore Avenue, with a smiley couple scooping out samples and little dishes of ice cream. Handmade in small batches, with flavors both traditional and fun, Jennifer and Andrew Satinsky comprise this up and coming business that's been keeping the neighborhood flush with scoops ever since. After the busy summer, we got a chance to ask the entreprenurial couple some questions about the growth of Weckerly's.
The Daily Meal: You two are a couple, right? How did you decide to go into business together?
Jen: I have always wanted to have an ice cream business. When I told Andy about my ambitions he was excited to support me. The more we talked about it the more the plan grew. I could not have done this without his help, and I am so glad we get to create together.
Andy: ...and yes, we are a couple and a married one at that. We are both very inspired by what Jen can do with food, ice cream in particular. It seemed like it would be a shame not to give it a go and build a fulfilling career together. Also, we wanted to conduct a social experiment and see what would happen if a married couple spent every waking hour within ten feet of each other.
"The simplicity and satisfying pop of trying black pepper ice cream for the first time is one of my fondest food memories."
Have frozen desserts always been your food passion? How did you arrive to the decision that ice cream would be what you build your business around?
Andy: Jen is the one whose food passion inspired the business. While she was still working as a pastry chef she would be making these crazy desserts, and all she would ever want to talk about was what ice cream she had just made or was going to make next. It was always eye opening to stop by the restaurant and try a few scoops of her ice cream specials. The simplicity and satisfying pop of trying black pepper ice cream for the first time is one of my fondest food memories.
Jen: Working as a pastry chef I learned many techniques. I love to bake and cook. Ice cream is different I am always excited to try new things. I think ice cream is comforting and innovative at the same time.
Where does the inspiration for your flavors come from? Any flavors you probably will never attempt? Were any flavors that you tried duds when you thought they'd be awesome?
Jen: I usually start with seasonal ingredients and try to showcase the flavor. I like to revisit classic flavor combinations and enhance them with new ideas. I will not make lobster ice cream, people have asked me to!
Andy: I have less say in the matter, but I second that. I once read an article about Il Laboratoria Gelato in New York. They are contracted by a lot of restaurant to make custom flavors. They have done foie gras, but said the only one they have refused is caviar because they would never be able to get the machines clean enough again. Lobster may have the same effect. If Weckerly's ever made sun-dried tomato ice cream I might have to dissolve the partnership.
Jen: We tried a mulled wine ice cream that I thought would be wonderful, but unfortunately not everyone liked it.
Andy: I wanted the mulled wine ice cream to work so bad, and in all honesty I thought it was pretty good, but it got panned for the most part. Rhubarb sorbet flopped this year, but an upgraded model is going to come back next year.
Where's one of your favorite places to eat in Philadelphia?
Andy: Mercer Cafe in Port Richmond for breakfast, Manakeesh in West Philly for a quick dinner, and Jong Ka Jib Soft Tofu House in East Oak Lane.
Jen L'Angelo in South Philly for a special occasion. I love so many of the little BYOBs, but I keep going back to L'Angelo. Santucci's is my favorite pizza, and you can't beat a good food truck. Yumtown and Don Memo's top my list.
Summer is over. Is it ever too cold for ice cream?
Jen: Its never too cold for ice cream! My Grandmother used to give my siblings and I ice cream every day. Winter ice cream flavors are some of the most creative flavors...beer, black pepper, bacon, so much fun!
Andy: No! I actually like ice cream best in the mid to late fall. It's not hot, so eating rich food is more enjoyable, but it's not so cold that you can't eat some ice cream outside. Plus, who doesn't like to be in a warm house eating ice cream and watching movies on a cold day - with that said, we deliver, especially on cold days.