Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman said Monday he has acquired a stake in artisan ice cream maker L.A. Creamery, with plans to build a wholesale business that will tap into the growing demand for exotic flavors.
L.A. Creamery ice creams are also now available for sale online in pre-packaged six-packs, such as “The Boozy Package,” which features flavors like Chimay Beer and Tennessee Whiskey, along with less alcoholic signature flavors, like salted caramel and honeycomb or banana chocolate chunk.
Majority ownership in L.A. Creamery is still held “on paper” by founders Brad Saltzman, chief "guestologist," and Stephen Bikoff, chief creative officer. However, Saltzman said, “Adam is really running the show. We defer to him and his creativity and brilliance.”
Fleischman said he would work with the founders to grow the ice cream company’s distribution through a variety of retail channels — as well as creating new flavors. “I really see the potential for a new school of ice cream,” he said. “There are just not a lot of competitors out there doing things like this.”
Fleischman, for example, has created four new flavors for the brand:
• Porc Phat is made with Spanish Iberico lardo, sweet Asian pears, hazelnuts and pure mint gel.
• Moonshine and Caramel Corn is made with Original Moonshine, a corn whiskey, and caramel corn.
• Absinthe is made with real absinthe and was created for Umami Burger’s new Anaheim, Calif., location, which uses the ice cream in a root beer float.
• Mezcal is made with premium Mezcal and orange liqueur.
L.A. Creamery flavors have long been served at the Umami Burger chain, as well as Fleischman’s pizza concept 800 Degrees, and a host of other high-end hotels and restaurants across Los Angeles.
L.A. Creamery uses organic dairy from Straus Family Farms and has no artificial ingredients.
The ice cream maker had retail outlets in two Los Angeles-area malls that lasted less than a year — in part, Saltzman said, because the company was given misleading information about the shopping center traffic. He also noted that ice cream is also too seasonal to invest in retail locations, though he said the company is open to licensing, as well as retail partnerships that would allow a restaurant to bring in an L.A. Creamery-branded gelato bar, for example.
Fleischman, however, was more open to the idea of an L.A. Creamery outlet. “We might sneak one in somewhere,” he said. “Don’t be surprised.”