Savin Hill ice cream cafe scoops up wintertime fans

It may be winter in New England but it’s never too cold for ice cream. The new Savin Scoop offers just that plus coffee, pastries, WiFi and friendly chatter in its 107 Savin Hill Ave. spot. The concept of “Local Ice Cream, Local Gossip” displays both the shop’s sense of community and its notion to live, eat, work and play locally. “It’s becoming a little gathering place for people to come and hang out and talk,” says co-owner Joe Conway.

Lifelong Savin Hill resident Marta Carney frequents the Scoop for a good cup of coffee. “It really kind of revitalized the whole strip there,” she says. “It’s really the beginning of something nice there.”

A former Starbucks visitor, Carney likes the coffee and the atmosphere at the Scoop where neighbors come in to chat with each other and Conway, who can be found behind the counter every day, preparing the next tasty treat for a customer.

Conway, a resident of Boston for 20 years, graduated from Johnson & Wales University in his native Rhode Island. He’s no stranger to the food business: “It’s been in my blood for years.” In the 1990s on the North Shore, Conway owned a brewery and two Italian restaurants. “I’ve always wanted to open a coffee shop, ice cream type shop, but I never pursued it,” he says.

Savin Scoop opened its doors in November 2010. It may seem a strange time to open an ice cream shop, but business has been steady. The site of a former hair salon, the shop gets foot traffic from Savin Hill station and Cristo Rey Boston High School across the street.

“We didn’t need to sit and think about it. We knew we needed an ice cream shop,” Conway says of his and business partner Ken Osherow’s decision to establish the Scoop. “There’s really nothing for kids in the neighborhood.”

“It’s turning into a destination to come in rather than just walk by from the T,” he adds. “It does bring the neighborhood out.”

The Scoop’s menu includes ice cream, coffee, cappuccino, espresso, pastry, fruit, smoothies, milkshakes and other treats. For their coffee, Conway and Osherow wanted a smooth blend that wasn’t bitter and didn’t taste like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, he says. They ended up with a brew that the two owners and many customers very much enjoy and that is different from neighboring breakfast and lunch nook McKenna’s.

Though it’s a place a steady morning crowd visits for its first cup of java, ice cream is not surprisingly the biggest seller at the Scoop. Gram Central Station, the shop’s most popular flavor, is graham cracker ice cream with chocolate-covered bits of graham crackers mixed in. Conway makes homemade ice cream pies, a big seller during the holiday season, and ice cream pizza made with a fudge brownie “crust.” Sundaes, banana splits and ice cream by the pint are all available as well.

The Scoop has played host to school meetings, birthday parties and everyday coffee chats. Conway hopes to host more community meetings and encourages local advertisements as well.

“I do as much in the neighborhood as I possibly can. I think that’s important. I think that’s very important,” Conway notes. He also has applied for a permit for outdoor seating since the warmer months are on their way. A television will soon adorn the interior of the shop so customers may keep up with news outside of Savin Hill, too.

Savin Scoop is open 7a.m. - 7p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.