April is a super significant month for Ryan and Geri-Martha O’Hara. It’s the month they married, and a year later the month they first launched their Big Spoon Creamery ice cream cart at Pepper Place Market. It’s the month they launched the Big Spoon truck the next year, a storefront in Avondale the year after that, and welcomed a baby boy in 2018. But now winter is about to become a notable time of year too when they open a new storefront in Edgewood in the former Sprout & Pour spot. They are aiming for to start serving up their artisan ice cream seven days a week there by late December or early January. Here’s what they had to say about it.
Why Homewood? And what will the location feature?
Ryan: When we started our food truck, we always knew we had a large customer base in Homewood and Over the Mountain. We already have a lot of people who are travelling from Homewood, Hoover and Vestavia, so we are excited to provide a space that’s more convenient for those folks. This location will have a lot of similar elements to what we have in Avondale, but it will have a lot more seating. We will have built-in booths and tables and chairs. All the ice cream will still be produced in Avondale, but we will make the waffle cones fresh in Homewood.
What will be in the menu around the holidays?
Ryan: We do a Georgia Nell Pecan Pie Ice Cream. Georgia Nell was my grandmother, and she was well known for around her church and community for her pies. She actually passed away last Thanksgiving, so this will the first year doing it without her. We do a Bourbon-Eggnog and a Peppermint Schatziatella. We are about to release a Pumpkin Cheesecake with a new spin on it this year.
Is there anything on your menu people might not know about?
Geri-Martha: We also offer pies and specialty cakes for holidays. We do a Caramel Apple Pie and Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and people can pick up pints of ice cream. For Christmas we do a Georgia Nell’s Pecan Pie with ice cream on it, caramel sauce and chocolate sauce and then we freeze it. We take orders that time of year through our website.
We make this really beautiful Couveture hot chocolate. We don’t add any sugar to it. It’s just this great French chocolate with some Barber’s Dairy milk and a little bit of cream, and we make homemade marshmallows to go on top and we torch them. It’s a decadent, over the top hot chocolate, and people go nuts over it. We also do a vegan one. That’s really my hope is for children to have taste this amazing chocolate and realize it’s better than something filled with sugar, or this is great peach sorbet because it has real peaches in it and not peach flavoring.
How did Big Spoon come to be?
Ryan: We met in 2010 when we were both working at Bottega. She was a pastry chef and I was a line cook. The whole time we were dating and engaged we had this dream of opening an ice cream shop. She was passionate as a pastry chef, and I spent my summers at my grandmother Georgia Nell’s house. After every meal we would have ice cream, often we’d make it hand churned. The name Big Spoon comes from those summers at my grandmother’s house when I’d always go for the biggest spoon in the drawer for my ice cream.
Three months into married life, we were seeing all this renaissance of food culture blowing up in Birmingham, but no one was doing anything that interesting with desserts outside Steel City Pops. We were seeing these artisan ice cream shops in larger cities. Someone was going to do it in Birmingham, and it needed to be us. We made it in our house and sold it in our driveway. It was a glorified ice cream stand, and we weren’t expecting much. We had a line down our driveway, and fortuitously an editor from Southern Living ended up showing up and writing an article on us. We found a commercial kitchen and our ice cream cart, and we in April 2015 we left our jobs and did events around town.
Can you talk some about your design aesthetic?
Ryan: We feel like a big part of who we are is branding and aesthetics, so we wanted to have a beautiful food truck. Bessie our food truck is award-winning. She won an ADDY award a few years ago for her design we created with Telegraph. We were going for a modern version of a classic ice cream shop. There’s some throwback elements with our aprons and our shirts and bandanas, but we try to update it with modern aesthetic.
Big Spoon Creamery will be open Sunday- Thursday 12-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 12-10 p.m.