Charlestonians take ice cream very seriously. Thanks to the stifling Lowcountry heat and humidity, it’s not rare to see someone on the street with ice cream in hand year round. As seasoned ice cream professionals, it is easy to be skeptical about new ice cream joints in town. That’s why when you hear that the newest ice cream place on the peninsula, Off Track, is good, that means it’s really good.
Tucked away off of King street on Beaufain, Off Track is hard to miss. With its historic exposed beams, bright white interior and pink neon ice cream light, the experience at Off Track is joyful before you even walk in.
Once you’re actually inside the store, the mood continues. Employees wearing glitter eyeshadow, waffle cones being made in house and bright rainbow sprinkles all hit you in an ice cream medley.
The store is rarely empty and throngs of people sit at each table, happily chatting and enjoying their confections. Off Track is one of the most unique ice cream shops I’ve ever been to. The employees easily chat with you and the store is full of conversations so that it feels like you’re just hanging out with friends.
According to their website, founders Marc and Alissa Zera started Off Track at home as a passion project to create ice cream that is made with natural, essential ingredients. Their ice cream base starts simply with cream, locally-raised milk, eggs and sugar. For vegans, they have seven flavors everyday made from a base of raw cashews, organic coconut cream, sunflower oil and cane sugar.
“Our philosophy on ice cream is different from other ice cream makers: we believe that ice cream should only be made from, and tastes best when it’s made from natural ingredients and stripped back of any and all inessential ingredients,” said Marc.
Marc is right when he says that ice cream tastes best with fewer ingredients. As an ice cream aficionado myself, I could not wait to try Off Track. My friend Aidan and I found ourselves there one Sunday night and quickly decided to split an ice cream flight as we wanted to try as many flavors as possible. Being young people, we do try to avoid dairy so we got half vegan and half original. Truly we could not tell a difference and were shocked by the creaminess of both. My personal favorite was the PB2 cup, as it has that perfect peanut butter-y taste and blend of sweet and salty.
Treat yourself to a scoop after class, or file in with your friends to split an ice cream flight: four mini scoops that are plenty for three people to split. With flavors like vegan deconstructed samoa, brown butter bourbon cake and vegan PB&J, the hardest part of going to Off Track is picking a flavor. Not feeling ice cream today? They also offer Springbok coffee, and delicious pastries from Macaroon Boutique on John St.
Off Track is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 p.m. on weekends. Be sure to step in for a cone and check out their instagram (@offtrackicecream) for the scoop on their unique and local flavors.