Eat Ice Cream Like a Kid Again at Port Richmond’s Somerset Splits
Close out summer with ice cream tacos and Tastykake milkshakes at this Riverwards scoop shop.
For all the buzz of its neighbors Fishtown and Kensington, Port Richmond’s dining scene is just starting to emerge as a new food and drink destination in the Riverwards.
Along with stalwarts like Mercer Street’s Mercer Cafe and the fifth-generation original Tacconelli’s Pizza, new concepts are popping up: there’s chill, cozy gastropub Lunar Inn and its little sister, the Best of Philly-winning Tiny’s Bottle Shop (the perfect place to grab some rosé cider or funky natural wine on your way to crush some pierogies at Mom-Mom’s Kitchen in nearby Bridesburg), breakfast and lunch spot Hinge Cafe, and the new Tin Can bar, which is replacing erstwhile seafood spot Bait & Switch.
But what to do for dessert?
Enter Somerset Splits, which quietly opened last fall at 2600 Somerset Street, just down the block from Tacconelli’s. The cute, colorful scoop shop features a menu of frozen treats using Twinkies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and house-made waffle cones shaped like taco shells— the perfect way to celebrate the last weeks of summer before school and work start up again.
It’s owned by neighborhood residents Jay Bennett and Dee Thurner. Bennett, an accountant by trade, had a bit of a midlife crisis and took a break from numbers to work at the Little Baby’s flagship store on Frankford Avenue. That’s how he and Thurner got connected with the space at the corner of Somerset and Almond. It ended up being too small for Little Baby’s, but just the right size for the enterprising couple.
“I felt a little slighted that we didn’t have an ice cream shop in our neighborhood — something I knew and had fallen in love with it over two years working at Little Baby’s,” Bennett said. “I could see myself doing this forever. Even if I don’t get to retire, it’s so much fun for me that it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
View this post on Instagram
Must be fate that National Ice Cream Day fell on the hottest day of the year🔥Come in & cool off with a waffle bowl sundae lined with @nutella topped with Fruity Pebbles, hot fudge & fresh whipped cream! We’ll be here til 10PM tonight! #icecream #sundae #nutella #fruitypebbles #hotfudge #nationalicecreamday #philly #philadelphia #portrichmond #smallbusiness
Both Bennett and Thurner, a horticulturist, have day jobs in addition to running the shop, so they’ve put churning their own on hold for the time being. In the meantime, they’re sourcing scoops from Philly classic Bassett’s and remixing childhood favorites like Corn Flakes and Kandy Kakes into milkshake ingredients and sundae toppings, with the eventual goal of keeping at least two homemade flavors on the menu.
While Bennett tends towards the shop’s kid-friendly, junk food-inspired sundaes and specials, Thurner puts her spin on their frozen confections, too: a recent version of their ice cream taco featured a dark chocolate-dipped shell filled with lemon sorbet and topped with house-made local blueberry-jalapeno-mint jam, whipped cream, and fresh blueberries.
View this post on Instagram
“She likes the more refined sundaes we do, and I always come up with the junk food stuff,” Bennett said. “It’s all that stuff I love and grew up with. It’s kind of magical to me that Fruity Pebbles or a candy bar or Tastykakes can just take you back to that moment. We want to give that feeling to everybody.”
Hours at Somerset Splits are Sunday through Thursday from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Check out their menu below, and follow them on Instagram to get updates on new sundaes and specials.