The scoop on Emack & Bolio's

the counter at Emack and Bolio's

A new, happy place.

We love ourselves some ice cream at AOA. So we've been looking forward to the opening of "super premium" ice cream joint Emack and Bolio's in Albany's Delaware neighborhood. The A-Town outpost of the Boston-based operation opened today at 11 am. AOA rolled in at 11:07. Here's the scoop...

deep purple cowIt's good, maybe even very good. The ice cream flavors tend a little toward the wacky, a la Ben & Jerry's. We sampled two of them -- Caramel Moose Prints (butterscotch ice cream, caramel swirl, and peanut butter cups) and Deep Purple Cow (black raspberry ice cream, white and dark chocolate chips, blueberries). Both were smooth, creamy and dense, the flavors bright but not cloying. Without tasting side by side, we'd say the E&B is better than Ben & Jerry's.

We also tried a chocolate "Albany Egg" cream. This was no joke. E&B uses Fox's U-Bet syrup -- and the egg cream we had today was mixed perfectly. It was like tasting a little bit of Brooklyn upstate. The only downside: it came in a paper cup.

One more thing about the menu: there's a "doggie sundae," which is a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt with a dog biscuit on top. Otto, the AOA office dog, will be joining us on our next trip to sample.

The shop itself is kind of cool. The front is sort of your typical upscale ice cream place, but the back has kind of a coffee house thing going on, with a fire place and a tiny stage. (Live music is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday this week.) And there's free wi-fi.

So, what's with the name? We asked E&B founder Bob Rook, who was working the counter today in shades and a Ramone's t-shirt. He explained that they named their first ice cream joint, a basement after hours rock 'n roll ice cream club (doesn't everybody have one), after two homeless guys he represented pro bono back in the 1970s. The clients had asked Rook to name the place after them. They thought he was going to name the place Don and John's. Instead he used their last names, Emack and Bolio.

The Bottom Line

The ice cream at Emack and Bolio's is good. We'll be going back.

Find It

Emack & Bolio's
366 Delaware Avenue
Albany, NY 12209

Sun - Thur : 11 am - 10 pm
Fri and Sat: 11 am - 11pm

(518) 512-5100


Wow! I have been eating Emack and Bolio's ice cream for years: at our summer place on Cape Cod. that would be about two standard deviations to the right of Albany and Delaware Ave. I cant wait to pick it up here... the Carmel Moose prints is terrif... delisch.. what ever RR says...

HR-- we think the word you're looking for is YUM-O.

The ice cream is very good, but the prices are out of this world. I've had 4 different cones there by now (hey, it's been hot) and I can tell you the small cone is practically a kiddie cone and it was $3.50. For that you can go to the supermarket and get a whole pint of equally good Haagen Dazs. I think they need to size up those cones a bit to get repeat trade. Or maybe families are prepared to drop $20+ to take the kids out for ice cream (not to mention $2.50 for the dog's ice cream. I didn't notice the serving size, but maybe I should order the dog serving.) On the other hand, the ambiance is nice--the live music on week-ends, the outdoor seating (more pleasant than the now seedy eating area at Ben & Jerry's on Lark). I do hope this place is successful since it's another bright spot in the revitalized Delaware Ave. area, bringing in new people to get to know that neighborhood. And ice cream is a people pleaser--families, sophisticated foodies, and residents who can walk there. But there is a strange disjuncture hearing people cry over $4 gas, but seeing them blithely paying that and more for an ice cream cone.

I have a similar story to tell as Susie...

We went today to check it out. My wife had a "2 scoop" dish with sprinkles, and I had a "2 scoop" cone with sprinkles....

First, the portion size is RIDICULOUS. The "scoops" they use must be a melon-baller. Hers was much bigger than mine (even though they were supposedly the same). My cone (I got "Heaven" - vanilla, marshmallow and white chips) was indescribably small. Like kiddie-cone small. half the size of my wife's. When i asked the girl if this was a "2 scoop", she confirmed my order. Uggh.

Second---The order was 9 dollars and change. I know ice cream is beginning to get costly, but for what we got, it was obscene. There was an older couple (say, in their late 60's, 70's) who ordered 2 sundaes ahead of us, and their bill was 12 dollars and change. He was pretty upset at the price....

I know the prices are posted, but for what you get, it seemed very high.

The ice cream was OK, Id say good....but no better than other places, and probably not as good considering how little they gave us and how much they charge.

I dont know if we would be back. We dont live in the area, and we only went today because we were in the area.

I went twice over the last few days. I agree with what was said about the pricing.

The first night I got a single scoop cone and the ice cream was so loosely packed that I almost lost the whole tiny cone within the first few seconds. - Not such a big deal since it was the first night.

Went again later on this weekend, during a slow period in the day, and decided on a bowl instead of a cone thinking the portion size would be bigger. It was miserably small, and the ice cream was already melted and really soft. Unless I hear from other people that the ice cream sizes are increased, I will most likely not be back.

P.S... The doggie sundae had more ice cream than my single scoop, and it was a little bigger as well. Plus it was a dollar cheaper!

I wonder if perhaps the employees aren't being taught a specific measurement for continuity. I worked a TCBY for awhile and there, we had to weigh each cup we scooped up to make sure it was the right size. I think a small had to be 5 ounces, a medium was 7, etc. It was a little bit of nuisance, but it did provide for complete regularity without discrepancies.

We apologize if some people feel that they have been "underscooped." The situation is being addressed, and customers should receive more consistent scoop sizes in the future. As for prices, we tried to be competitive. Our single scoop is $3.25, while B&J's charges $3.85 and Coldstone charges $3.24 + .49 per mix in. Food and delivery prices are know the story. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated as we settle into our new business. If you feel that you were "underscooped" during our 1st few days, give us a 2nd chance. We hope you'll be satisfied.

Ken Young & Amy Riddell

Disclaimer: I have not been to the Albany E&B's. I cannot comment on the sizes or the quality of the ice cream.

However... as a frequent visitor of Cape Cod, I am more than framiler with E&B and frankly I'm very surprised that there are complaints about size portions. The servings on the Cape are HUGE. I get a kids cone or a small because its just too much ice cream. (For the record: I am no faint of heart eater.) The ice cream is pretty rich too, so I find I wouldn't want as much of E&B's as opposed to let's say... Stewarts. (Don't worry birthday cake ice cream, you are still my one and only!) It's a real shame that it appears the Albany E&B isn't as generous with portions as their Cape Cod counterparts.

1st of all, let me thank all of you for making our 1st 4 days so successful. We really do strive to please our customers, and forums such as this one are a great way to give businesses feedback. OK, so I have to admit, opening our doors during the 1st big heat wave of the year was a bit crazy. We had all new scooper's, and instant lines. It's our job as owners to make sure that our scooper's are giving out consistently sized fair shares of ice cream, and apparently some skimpy scoops slipped by during our chaotic 1st few days. We pledge to not let this happen in the future. Our focus at the shop over the next few days is on scoop sizes. All scooper's will be working hard practicing the fine art of ice cream scooping. We are settling into a routine. We also apologize to the customer who received nearly melted ice cream. We are also fine tuning which flavors maintain the best consistency in which locations in the dip cases. During the next few weeks, the final details of the construction will be completed and our full line of coffee products will become available. We will continually fine tune the business until it is running as smoothly as possible. We are hoping to bring a bit of that Cape Cod feeling to us landlocked Eastern New Yorkers. Any feedback is greatly appreciated as our dream ice cream parlor hopefully becomes yours too!

Thanks for the comments, Ken. I posted above (as you responded to) and expressed my disappointment.

I dont have many vices, but ice cream is one of them. The ice cream at your establishment was very good, but the prices per quantity was off-putting. I had absolutely no problem with the price, as the 8-9 bucks is about on par with what we spend on Cold Stone or gelato.

However, the quantity was the problem. I am trying to post without any exaggeration, but my cone was easily half of a "Love it" at Cold Stone, which is usually my size. Coupled with that my wife got the "same" size, and hers was twice the size of mine (maybe a "Love it"), was a bit off-putting.

As I mentioned, I am a Latham-ite, and probably not your ideal client, based on distance. The restaurant is beautiful, and evident of a good amount of work (blue painters tape included) :-) If the portions however were consistently larger, I would make the trip, but not at status quo, unfortunately.

Congrats on the poster EllieB mentions, she sounds like the history of E&B is of "appropriate portions". I hope the Albany store is of the same scoop!

My boyfriend and I walked down to Emack & Bolio's this evening, and I have to say: I thought it was fantastic. Having read the scoop size discussion, we decided to order two scoops each. One scoop each of Peanut Butter Cup and Raspberry Truffle for me, while he ordered two of the Grasshopper. We also had a taste of Heaven and Key Lime.

I had read about the Heaven on the website and was pretty sure it was going to be my flavor when we arrived. After my sample however, I decided that it wasn't what I was looking for. Peanut Butter Cup is an old standby and E&B do it pretty well. It reminded me a little bit of the chocolate peanut butter Buckeye ice cream I have had in Ohio. Pretty good. But the Raspberry Truffle is delicious! The vanilla ice cream base is creamy and just sweet enough to not be overwhelming when peppered with mini chocolate raspberry truffles. As for the serving size, I found it to be generous and comparable to Ben and Jerry's (cup and cone). And for the quality of the ice cream, we will happily walk from our home (near Ben & Jerry's) to E & B's for our ice cream indulgences.

(I have to also say that the staff were super friendly!)

Wow...thats a GREAT report.

Sounds like management is being pro-active and making sure that these problems dont happen again.

Fantastic news...

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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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