A cornerstone of the budding Riverside Village community, Sip Café started out as a coffee shop. But it got a sidecar of ice cream added last year, when Mike Duguay, owner of Mike's Ice Cream on Broadway, took over the twee café and added a freezer to the spare accessories of old-school desks. A Michigander who migrated south six years ago to open the Broadway store, Duguay recently relocated his ice-cream manufacturing operations to a warehouse behind Sip, where long-awaited chocolatier Olive & Sinclair is also planning to open.
At the downtown shop (208 Broadway), Duguay sells a selection of homemade and Purity brand ice creams. But at Sip it's all the house recipe, and the freshness stands out. A scoop of mocha almond chip was so satiny and creamy that when we polished off the crisp sugar cone we almost walked back in from the serene Riverside Village courtyard to order seconds--you know, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. But with self-control in check, we resolved to return another time to plow through the 16-to-18 rotating flavors, including peanut butter cookie, strawberry and rum raisin. (When we called Duguay later to ask what accounted for the unusually fresh textures and flavors, he explained that the nuts are so crunchy because they're fresh from The Peanut Shop in the Arcade downtown and the mocha comes from an extremely strong batch of Drew's Brews.)
Don't overlook the fact that blending an ice cream parlor and a coffee shop opens the door to concoctions such as Sip's butter pecan milk shake with two shots of espresso. Made with homemade ice cream and local Drew's Brews, the buttery buzz could become a signature taste of summer, in Riverside Village and beyond.
Sip Café serves coffee, pastries and ice cream 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.