Last week, Sweet Rose Creamery's sphere of influence didn't go past the 405. Though it recently paired an outlet on Pico Boulevard to its original Brentwood Country Mart location, the small-batch ice cream and sorbet shop was in spirit decidedly Westside.
But this weekend, with a soft opening for its third outlet, on Beverly Boulevard in Mid-City, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan's ice cream shop made its eastern encroachment official - and some of the neighbors just happen to be the competition.
Standing in front of the new café-style location on Sunday, Shiho Yoshikawa, Sweet Rose's executive chef and a co-owner, was well aware that she was a mere five blocks, a short walk or a moment's drive, from Milk, the longtime ice cream supplier to the Mid-City neighborhood.
"I think we are a little bit different than what Milk does," Yoshikawa says. "I'm not saying they're not a huge competition, but... "
She left it there, declining to fire the opening shot in what's sure to be a cold (treats) war between neighborhood ice cream shops. (Milk did not respond to interview requests.)
Andrea Sung, Sweet Rose's general manager, tried to play down the impending super-dairy rivalry. "It's a friendly competition," she says, noting their rivals have a menu that includes soups, sandwiches and a couple entrees. "We're not going to be bringing out roast chicken anytime soon."
But roast chicken ice cream? Not beyond the realm of possibility for a store that has gained fame for its PB&J soft serve.
For now, though, the Beverly Sweet Rose, which offers the budding chain's first café seating (the Brentwood location has several bar stools), will limit its offerings to the staples: coffee, ice cream (but not soft serve), sorbet and pastries.
The latter - the pastries will be baked daily at Milo & Olive - adds another neighborhood pastry venue to the nearby bakeries lining Fairfax Avenue. And the ice creams, with rotating flavors such as yam swirl with salty sesame brittle, malted chocolate with hazelnut praline and myriad nondairy options such as tangerine sorbet, will help Sweet Rose expand both its influence and its reputation.
For coffee lovers, there will be affogatos, the classic Italian dessert that's essentially an ice cream float with espresso. In Sweet Rose's case, the coffee is single-origin from Caffe Luxxe.
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"From here, we can keep expanding the menu," Sung says. "It's a blank slate for us."
Sweet Rose Creamery's new location at 7565 Beverly Blvd. officially opens Jan. 22.