The ice cream business is pretty cut-throat in downtown Jersey City. On one hand you have stalwarts like Torico’s, which has been in downtown Jersey City since 1968. Then you have newer shops like Cherry-Pick. Located at 305A Grove Street, Cherry-Pick sells “super-premium ice cream.” That’s a fancy way of saying they sell ice cream made with hormone-free milk and only use local/organic ingredients.
The shop itself is bright and cozy with limited indoor and outdoor seating. Each time I went the staff was very friendly and they let you sample to your heart’s content, which is good because in addition to your standard flavors like cookies and cream, vanilla, and peanut butter fudge — Cherry-Pick also offers some not-so-traditional flavors like green tea, chai, and S’moreo. (The S’moreo combines vanilla ice cream with chunks of Oreos, marshmallows, and chocolate swirl).
The small cup (which only accommodates 1 scoop/flavor) is somewhat pricey for its size at $3.50, so I’d recommend going with the medium at $4.25. The medium cup accommodates two scoops, but they were nice and let me fill it with three scoops/flavors. (The large cup costs $5.25 and accommodates 2+ scoops). They fill the cup tightly with ice cream, so your dollar goes pretty far. On my first visit, I had salted caramel chocolate pretzel, cake batter, and cookie dough. The cake batter and cookie dough were downright delicious. The salted caramel chocolate pretzel took awhile to grow on me, but ultimately I liked it. My particular combination of flavors made it difficult for my taste buds to go from sweet to sweet/salty/crunchy, so you may want to try the salted caramel chocolate pretzel on its own.
Now here’s what helps set Cherry Pick apart from the competition. In addition to ice cream, they also offer truffles, coffee, crepes, Belgian waffles, smoothies, and juices. So as my “chaser,” I had a dark sea salt caramel truffle, which combined salty and sweet in a very decadent way. On a separate visit, I had a strawberry, banana, whip cream crepe with a side of chai ice cream. (Every crepe comes with a free scoop of your choice). The crepe was refreshing and light, which was exactly what I was looking for. The strawberries and bananas tasted fresh and Cherry-Pick was not stingy when it came time to stuff my crepe. However, the chai ice cream was my favorite. It tasted just like a cold cup of chai. If you’ve never had chai, it combines tea, honey, milk, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.
The health nut side of me wants to go back and try one of their juices and lemonades, which I’m sure I’ll be doing before the month ends. Although they face stiff competition from nearby ice cream and yogurt shops, Cherry-Pick is an excellent addition to the scene, especially if you’re looking for more than just ice cream or yogurt.
Cherry-Pick | 305A Grove Street (btwn Wayne & Colombus) | www.cherrypickjc.com