San Francisco

'Humphry Slocombe' Now Open At The Hive

Oaklanders looking to indulge a sweet tooth and beat the heat have a new option; San Francisco-based ice creamery Humphry Slocombe is now scooping at 2335 Broadway, operating out of a converted shipping container at The Hive.

Visitors can choose from six new flavors each month; exotic blends like Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge, brulee fig and creme fraiche are on offer, as are familiar mixes, such as peanut butter fudge ripple and tres leches.

The company’s go-tos include Black Sesame, Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, and their signature flavor, “Secret Breakfast.”

“That’s the ice cream that made me cash in my 401k,” said co-founder Sean Vahey, who worked in hospitality before switching to Humphry Slocombe full time in 2008 after co-founder Jake Godby served him a homemade batch of bourbon-infused ice cream.

The company is known for intriguing experimentation with flavor. “We make ice cream for us,” said Vahey. “Ice cream for adults.”

Co-founder Sean Vahey serves up Secret Breakfast. | photo: Cirrus Wood/Hoodline

The shop is the first East Bay location for the company, a move Vahey described as “uncharted territory.”

“We were a little nervous about the move to Oakland,” said Vahey, “but everyone has just been so amazing.”

Humphry Slocombe shares The Hive with Red Bay Coffee, Drake’s Dealership, Calavera, and Firebrand Bread. Like neighbor Red Bay Coffee, it operates out of a converted shipping container.

Converting containers to businesses and residences has enjoyed some traction in recent years. In addition to a lower construction cost, repurposing old containers prevents waste.

“This adds fifteen years to the container’s life,” said Amie Bailey, Humphry Slocombe’s head of business. Bailey was pleased the company could work with the Laney College carpentry program to refit the interior as a commercial kitchen after initial conversion work by Urban Bloc.

Humphry Slocombe's trademark double-headed calf. | photo: Cirrus Wood/Hoodline

The ice creamery networks with local businesses and cultural institutions to create seasonal menus, ensure ethical business practices, and source ingredients locally. All of Humphry Slocombe’s dairy comes from Strauss Family Creamery in Petaluma.

“We’ve actually met the cows that make our milk,” said Vahey.

The company strives to bring balance to all aspects of business, including hiring practices. “We’re focusing on hiring within the East Bay community,” said Bailey.

To boost diversity, Humphry Slocombe has talked with the Hire Trans campaign and also advertises all jobs with Wardrobe for Opportunity. “We’re trying to tap into under-served and under-represented populations,” Bailey said.

While handing out free scoops during its August 27th opening at the Hive, they asked customers to donate a dollar to Project Open Hand, a food distribution service for the elderly and disabled. The ice creamery raised $1000 in a single day.

To promote local businesses, Humphry Slocombe is partnering with and creating tribute flavors to Drakes, Oaklandish, Oaktown Spice Shop, the Oakland Museum of California, and Feelmore. While customers can still buy standard flavors at Bay Area grocery stores, tribute flavors will only be available at The Hive.

Humphry Slocombe is located inside The Hive (2335 Broadway) and is open from 1pm to 11pm Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and from 12–10 PM on Sunday. 


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