Ghosts of Ici Ice Cream Haunt Berkeley Ice Cream Lovers


Photo of Ici ice cream by Ellie Bozmarova

This story is a fiction piece, and it was created from my imagination.

The Ice Cream Legend

A little over two years ago, Bay Area ice cream legend and tasty treat maker Ici closed its two locations abruptly, with little more than a, “Thanks for the mmrs.”

It was their right to end things abruptly, but still, it was like parents announcing a divorce and immediately splitting the house in half with a saw.

The ice cream wonderland was known for its daily rotating flavors like huckleberry, earl gray, and probably chocolate if I’m remembering right. Long lines of people wondering what it looks like to be waiting in line for ice cream wrapped around the block. The holy grail was the menu, placed outside, that informed folks what the flavors were that day.

“Aw man, they don’t have avocado mint tea leaf today!” Could be heard from across the street. As could, “Yyyyes! Swiss berry white chocolate xantham gum is in!”

The Mystery

Just after Ici closed in late 2018, reports of ghosts flooded Berkeley and Oakland PD. Neighborhood apps like NextDoor had entire threads trying to identify what flavors specific ghosts were. Yes—that’s right. The ghosts were of ice cream cones.

Chocolate-dipped crepe cone ghouls wandered the streets of College Ave as students leaving for winter break strolled the street for some last-minute shopping.

“The first time I saw one it was surreal.” Said one local resident. “It was delicious looking, yet horrifying, because it looked shimmery and see-through like a ghost.”

The Ghosts

An in-depth investigation revealed the location of the Ici owner.

“I don’t know anything about ghosts,” she said. “Also, running a business is the biggest hassle ever. Do you realize how much cream I had to look at every day?” Said the former business owner in a completely fictional quote.

“Every day is a vacation now. I don’t care if there are ghosts of ice cream or people or whatever. I’m no longer haunted.” She continued.

Based on ghost-contact tracing, it appears that the ghosts haunt former Ici fans who’d gone to the delicious mini-chain more than once per week.

“Nothing’s the same as Ici,” said one pale-looking ice cream lover. “I’ve tried them all. They’re just empty, empty, none of the high class care that went into Ici’s concoctions.”

Getting Free

For some, the ghosts suddenly disappeared when the individual found a new favorite ice cream chain. “For a while only Ben & Jerry’s did it for me.” Said a young Berkeley grad student. “Ashamed to say. Then I noticed right around when Ici closed a lot of specialty ice cream brands appeared.”

He tried one after the other. He used a hammer to open his Talenti containers, hop scotched through butterscotch after butterscotch, tried low-cal and gluten-free and vegan and cashew-based.

"It was a tough road. I mean, nothing’s like it. Remember the frozen yogurt craze? My heart beats for Ici."

But, he said, eventually he was able to see a specialist who could help him.

Taffeta Burlow is the Bay Area’s top fictional expert ice cream relationship therapist. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Vogue, National Geographic, The Independent, Vice, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, and so, so many others, making her an expert on this subject.

While Burlow was unavailable for comment—she is on a clandestine international speaking tour about our relationship with ice cream during the COVID-19 pandemic—a visit to her garbage yielded great results.

Pints, gallons, giant $5 Neapolitan tubs littered the dumpster by her home. It appears that Burlow’s tactics include therapies that force individuals to eat ice cream until they simply don’t want any ever again.

Getting sick of ice cream is an extremely rare occurrence because even teeny, tiny portions bring huge caloric and saturated fat blows to the eater.

One has to really commit to getting sick of ice cream, and immediately gaining twenty pounds like this reporter did freshman year on those G-D UC Berkeley meal points.

The grad student who visited Burlow said he was required to eat one gallon of ice cream a day.

“It’s like how people are drinking a gallon of water now, which is a questionable daily practice since everyone’s water needs are different, but I digress.” He said, his skin breaking out in pimples, but his eyes clear.

He struggled from day one, barely holding down half a gallon of his new favorite, Safeway’s brand of Moose Tracks. “I couldn’t keep affording the high quality stuff,” he said. “Had to downgrade.”

When do the ghosts disappear?

According to Burlow’s website, it takes about a year of intensive therapy with her. A hypnotist could probably get the job done faster, she writes, but honestly, don’t you want to keep eating ice cream for the whole year? Much as you want?

She makes a point.

The grad student said now that the ghosts are gone, he misses Ici less. Time passes, other businesses appear and disappear. Mysterious investors with lots of money open coffee and fast food spots that disappear overnight. Businesses that have never seen a single customer stay open for years. But that’s another article.

The Competition

Ice cream is a Bay Area staple. From Smitten to Tara’s. From Humphrey to CheeChee. To Pinkberry only succeeding in the suburbs and in airports and train stations.

Ice cream will go on. Folks with ghosts of Ici ice cream haunting them (remember those soft gingerbread ice cream sandwiches?—GAH!) have a solution, should they want one.

And for people who don’t know what Ici is, must be nice. Must be real nice.

John’s Ice Cream, another longtime local favorite with a magical business model of $1 ice cream, closed last December.

The owner is clearly psychic, because three months later they would’ve had to close anyway due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No $1 scoop ghosts have been reported. If anyone sees a cake batter flavored ghost, please inform this reporter.

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SF Bay Area (formerly OC) writer, mindfulness educator, and life coach. Passionate about public safety. Big fan of improv, funny lawn ornaments, and truthiness. IG: @bigsisterco |

Oakland, CA

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