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Tropics Ice Cream & Jerk (Formerly Islands Tropical Ice Cream, and York Castle), Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring


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'mdt said:

While many restaurants make some truly wonderful ice creams, where do you go to get a cone to go?

One of my favorites is the local Milwaukee Frozen Custard 'chain'. I really enjoyed the time I worked out in Chantilly and could frequent the place on an almost daily basis. Best flavor was malted milk ball!

Nobody has mentioned York Castle. Great tropical flavors

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I'm having dinner with a client at Austin Grill in Silver Spring of all places tonight (loooong story), and we're looking for a nice spot at which to have dessert. Ice cream specifically, if possible.

I know Del Ray has the Dreamery. Does SS have a similarly good - OK, I'll take decent - option? Thanks.

York Castle has interesting tropical flavors like soursop and guanabana, more common ones like pineapple and coconut and weird ones like Guiness.

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Stopped by York Castle for a milkshake a couple of weeks ago. They get the award for most unique flavors including Guinness and sour-sop. It's not cheap-about $5 for a milkshake, but well worth it or a once in a while treat on a weekend like this.

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York Castle is now serving up Caribbean food. There's no menu, per se, just a handwritten list of dishes that's posted daily. This weekend they were serving up oxtail, curry chicken, and jerk wings (all served with rice and peas). Oxtail was $6.99 and the others were $5.99.

I ordered the curry chicken. The portion was pretty small, but not bad considering the price. It was served in a small take out container with about two scoops of rice and beans, and half scoop of curry chicken, and a couple of curry chicken wings. The wings and rice were especially dry and a little bland. The curry chicken itself had decent flavour but didn't have much gravy with it. It could have used some scotch bonnet sauce on the side to kick up the heat a little.

It's worth going back there another time to give them another shot. It's not bad, but not good. If you've got the extra 10 minutes to run down the road to Tropicana or Negril, then I'd suggest the latter. I like having an option that is a couple of mins from my house if I'm really craving it.

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York Castle is now serving up Caribbean food. There's no menu, per se, just a handwritten list of dishes that's posted daily. This weekend they were serving up oxtail, curry chicken, and jerk wings (all served with rice and peas). Oxtail was $6.99 and the others were $5.99.

I ordered the curry chicken. The portion was pretty small, but not bad considering the price. It was served in a small take out container with about two scoops of rice and beans, and half scoop of curry chicken, and a couple of curry chicken wings. The wings and rice were especially dry and a little bland. The curry chicken itself had decent flavour but didn't have much gravy with it. It could have used some scotch bonnet sauce on the side to kick up the heat a little.

It's worth going back there another time to give them another shot. It's not bad, but not good. If you've got the extra 10 minutes to run down the road to Tropicana or Negril, then I'd suggest the latter. I like having an option that is a couple of mins from my house if I'm really craving it.

Not only is York Castle serving Caribbean food, it may be undergoing a name change to "Tropical Ice" in the next few months (*). The person I talked with implied that it would be more of a slow phase-in, rather than an overnight change. Same ownership, same product, but with expanded savory items (my impression is that they're just dabbling in savories right now, which is why I don't want to be too harsh in the next paragraph).

I had that Curry Chicken ($5.99) as well, and xcanuck describes it very accurately, right down to the impressively small styrofoam container. "It's not bad, but not good" is exactly what I thought of it, and yes, it desperately needs to be amped up with some habanero sauce. At least a portion of this dish was heated in the microwave (maybe only the rice and beans, because after the microwave treatment, it still took about five minutes for the dish to be finished). Mine came topped with some fried, sweet plantains as well. We'll see how things go, but at the moment, there's no doubting that for curry chicken in Silver Spring, Negril rules the (forgive me...) roost.

Cheers,

Rocks.

(*) They even have Tropical Ice advertisement-postcards by the door, saying "Formerly York Castle," and featuring an unfortunate logo: a smiling palm tree with hands and feet called "Tropi." It looks like a dancing raisin.

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I was picking up dinner at the local Jamacian joint around the corner and saw that they had pints of York Castle ice cream in their freezer for sale.

You're in Olney if I recall. I also saw pints for sale at a Caribbean market in Beltsville a couple months ago, in a little shopping center on Powder Mill Road just west of Route 1. And though I've never seen it, I think there's even a second York Castle right at that intersection where all the ice cream is made (can anyone confirm?)

Cheers,

Rocks.

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FWIW, I tried the chicken curry a second time. It didn't come with the wings or plantains but appeared to be freshly made and was much much much better than the first time. So it appears to be a bit of a crap shoot - are you getting freshly made food, or heated up leftovers. In the case of the rice and beans, it makes a huge difference. As Don mentioned, it's all in bad need of some good scotch bonnet sauce. Thankfully (for us), our trip last week resulted in a more Marie Sharps in the pantry, which will tide us over!

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You're in Olney if I recall. I also saw pints for sale at a Caribbean market in Beltsville a couple months ago, in a little shopping center on Powder Mill Road just west of Route 1. And though I've never seen it, I think there's even a second York Castle right at that intersection where all the ice cream is made (can anyone confirm?)

Cheers,

Rocks.

I just saw a sign for York Castle Ice Cream on the window of a Jamaican place that sits on the corner of 6 & H NE.
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Yelp, usually (not always) reliable, reports this is closed although no individual Yelpers have. The phone gives a recording saying that it's "temporarily disconnected" which doesn't say a whole lot. A friend of mine wrote me and said a friend of his told him it had closed, so lots of third-hand information, but nothing super-strong - I'm waiting for any one of these, or someone else, to more strongly confirm that Tropical Ice Cream Cafe is indeed closed permanently; not just because they didn't pay a bill or something. Could someone from Tropical Ice Cream Cafe write and chime in with the story? I'll certainly miss you all if it's true, and hope you can relocate. Let us know? 

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I can't access the image or link that jdc posted, so maybe I'm repeating what he or she already reported, but there's a new ice cream place called Yummy in My Tummy in Wheaton that serves ice cream made by the daughter and grandson of the owners of Tropical Ice Cream, which did indeed close, at least for awhile. (Apparently the now retired owner of Tropical Ice Cream also helps with Yummy in My Tummy's ice cream from time to time.) I live between Tropical Ice Cream and Yummy in My Tummy, and there's been a lot of discussion on my neighborhood listserv about both places. One neighbor recently reported seeing a "Reopening Soon" sign in the window at Tropical Ice Cream, but I haven't seen that myself. Every time I've been to Yummy in My Tummy this summer it's been empty -- they need more customers! I'm pretty sure I've seen Jamaican food there as well.

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I can't access the image or link that jdc posted, so maybe I'm repeating what he or she already reported, but there's a new ice cream place called Yummy in My Tummy in Wheaton that serves ice cream made by the daughter and grandson of the owners of Tropical Ice Cream, which did indeed close, at least for awhile. (Apparently the now retired owner of Tropical Ice Cream also helps with Yummy in My Tummy's ice cream from time to time.) I live between Tropical Ice Cream and Yummy in My Tummy, and there's been a lot of discussion on my neighborhood listserv about both places. One neighbor recently reported seeing a "Reopening Soon" sign in the window at Tropical Ice Cream, but I haven't seen that myself. Every time I've been to Yummy in My Tummy this summer it's been empty -- they need more customers! I'm pretty sure I've seen Jamaican food there as well.

Sorry - I pulled it from a Facebook link from a group (though I thought I posted the direct image) - but it's the "reopening soon" sign. I've laid eyes on it myself, but couldn't pull over to take a snap, but I came across this one.

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Popped in last evening for some ice cream. All of the covers on the ice cream bins in the display say York Castle on them and they have their traditional flavors like lucuma, grapenut, mango, Guiness and more.

I had the coconut and it seemed to taste a bit different than before (I remember specs of coconut in the ice cream and there wasn't last night), but I could have been misremembering. The flavor was not overly sweet (good in my book!) and texture was light and creamy without being overly heavy (sometimes you just don't need the overly high butterfat ice cream taste and feel).

I'm glad it has returned to my neighborhood.

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A little more backstory on this from a neighborhood listserv (I haven't independently verified):

The previous owner sold it to the man who was actually making the ice cream all along and his niece is working in the store.

I like this post - it contains useful information, properly tagged as scuttlebutt and not necessarily fact. Well done!

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4 hours ago, DanielK said:

Sign spotted at the Rockville store - this confirms that they are again connected.

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But is the Silver Spring store still open? I haven't thought about this in awhile - I wrote them on Facebook, but if they're closed, they won't get back to me.

Boy, I really liked York Castle's flavors - their Irish Moss with Stout, their Wheat Germ, their Mint Chocolate Chip, their Soursop - I don't remember if they used corn syrup, and I never remember caring.

If anyone knows the names and open/closed status of both stores (preferably with websites), it would be much appreciated!

Gifford's was *the* Silver Spring ice-cream institution, but York Castle was certainly #2 in the pecking order.

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I'm 90% sure the Silver Spring location is open. Next time I drive by I'll try to confirm. It's listed as closed on Yelp, but there's a review from 5 months ago referencing their reopening. They also have an active Google listing (the kind that was the subject of much discussion WRT Drift).

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56 minutes ago, dracisk said:

I'm 90% sure the Silver Spring location is open. Next time I drive by I'll try to confirm. It's listed as closed on Yelp, but there's a review from 5 months ago referencing their reopening. They also have an active Google listing (the kind that was the subject of much discussion WRT Drift).

I've seen the store with a light on recently, but I can stop and check sometime in the next few days.

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11 hours ago, DonRocks said:

If anyone knows the names and open/closed status of both stores (preferably with websites), it would be much appreciated!

Gifford's was *the* Silver Spring ice-cream institution, but York Castle was certainly #2 in the pecking order.

This picture was taken from INSIDE the Rockville store last night, so I hope that's enough confirmation that it's open. And I was in the Rockville store just a couple of months ago, and that sign wasn't there, so it's obviously a new status.

The original Gifford's recipes are still being served at York Castle, Swiss Chocolate and all, so you get the best of both worlds. They still have the soursop, the other Caribbean fruit flavors, the fresh mint chocolate chip, seasonal fruits, etc.

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They also have a sibling shop in Wheaton (on Georgia across from the Safeway, additional parking in the rear) called Yummy in My Tummy.

On 8/21/2015 at 3:43 PM, dracisk said:

There's a new ice cream place called Yummy in My Tummy in Wheaton that serves ice cream made by the daughter and grandson of the owners of Tropical Ice Cream, which did indeed close, at least for awhile. (Apparently the now retired owner of Tropical Ice Cream also helps with Yummy in My Tummy's ice cream from time to time.) I live between Tropical Ice Cream and Yummy in My Tummy, and there's been a lot of discussion on my neighborhood listserv about both places. One neighbor recently reported seeing a "Reopening Soon" sign in the window at Tropical Ice Cream, but I haven't seen that myself. Every time I've been to Yummy in My Tummy this summer it's been empty -- they need more customers! I'm pretty sure I've seen Jamaican food there as well.

[Yummy in My Tummy does have Jamaican food.]

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On 7/15/2016 at 10:41 AM, jdc said:

I've seen the store with a light on recently, but I can stop and check sometime in the next few days.

I drove by today and there was an "open" sign in the window. I'm going with "open".

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Any reports from Islands Tropical Ice Cream (which I believe is the proper name)? Assuming the ice cream is good if it's still coming down from York Castle, but interested to find out if the savory food is any good. I've been craving Jamaican for ages and this is just down the road from home. 

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6 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Hmm ... so which side of the page do I believe?

Screenshot 2017-04-27 at 11.38.23 AM.png

Ha. I think Google's data on the right just hasn't gotten up to speed on the places. I believe Tropical Ice Cream Cafe was the old, now shuttered business (that was supposed to sell Gifford's recipe York Castle ice cream but reneged long ago). Islands Tropical Ice Cream is the current spot with legit York Castle ties. 

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Went this evening after a family bbq -- great. Hadn't been since it was confirmed this was the real deal recipe and it's as good as it always was. I got mango (ice cream, not sorbet), delicious and not cloyingly sweet. Very rich, milk fatty ice cream with a natural mango sweetness - not too much. Made better by going with a cousin back in town who joined me on many York Castle evenings as kids. Tonight we took our kids. 

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On 8/21/2015 at 3:43 PM, dracisk said:

I can't access the image or link that jdc posted, so maybe I'm repeating what he or she already reported, but there's a new ice cream place called Yummy in My Tummy in Wheaton that serves ice cream made by the daughter and grandson of the owners of Tropical Ice Cream, which did indeed close, at least for awhile. (Apparently the now retired owner of Tropical Ice Cream also helps with Yummy in My Tummy's ice cream from time to time.) I live between Tropical Ice Cream and Yummy in My Tummy, and there's been a lot of discussion on my neighborhood listserv about both places. One neighbor recently reported seeing a "Reopening Soon" sign in the window at Tropical Ice Cream, but I haven't seen that myself. Every time I've been to Yummy in My Tummy this summer it's been empty -- they need more customers! I'm pretty sure I've seen Jamaican food there as well.

I meant to start a thread for Yummy in My Tummy and I never did -- sorry! The store was related to Tropical Ice Cream, which is why I'd mentioned it a couple of times previously in this thread. At any rate, I tried to go to Yummy in My Tummy yesterday and they were closed with a for lease sign in the window. But Tropical Ice Cream was open!

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On 6/5/2020 at 4:16 PM, dracisk said:

According to my neighborhood listserv Tropical Ice Cream was unable to get a COVID-19 small business loan and is in danger of closing permanently. There's a GoFundMe campaign if anyone is inclined to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-tropical-ice-cream. As of this writing they've raised almost $10,000 of their $15,000 goal!

They've now raised almost $34,000.

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