The Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich
medium. two half-pound Gideon's Bakehouse chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream
size. 3024px x 4032px
by. Biggie from Deli Fresh Threads
location. Orlando, FL
Welcome to Ice Cream Social, the summer's socially distant group art show, featuring creators and makers from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of the greatest treat known to man. Each week through Labor Day, come chill with new artists as they discuss a wide range of topics spanning their personal journeys, art, pop culture, and, of course, ice cream! This week, we sit down for dessert with comic book creator and digital artist Marcelo Biott, creative director and brand manager of Deli Fresh Threads, Biggie, and jack-of-all-trades and ad agency veteran Wally Tautz.
Sandwiches can be had for
breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Biggie! Thank you so much for being a part of the first Ice Cream Social. You're the mastermind behind the genius apparel (and then some) brand, Deli Fresh Threads. How'd you get the ball rolling on that?
I am obsessed with sandwiches, however I didn’t want to open a sandwich shop. I used to have a clothing brand themed for my college and really enjoyed it. I had to close it when I realized people buy when your team is good (we went perfect 0-12). As time went on (married, kids, corporate job), I felt something was missing in my life. I realized there was an ingredient missing. I missed the creativity, that spark of joy. My wife asked me if I won the lotto what would I do, and I told her I was happiest when I ran my clothing brand and coming up with ideas, and having people wear them and the whole branding and marketing of it. So I started Deli Fresh Threads in January 2013.
I love a good origin story. Are you the primary designer for all your apparel, or do you have a team behind you executing your creation directions and vision?
I jokingly say I am a one-man deli shop, or its Me, Myself, and Biggie Bread (my mascot). All the ideas and vision are mine, however, I do use artists to help make my vision a reality. I doodle my ideas and then work with the designers to bring them to life.
You're a visionary with on-point art direction, from the local tees to the creation of the Biggie Bread mascot, down to the deli counter tickets on the official site. Do you have a particular design that's your favorite, or one that was especially satisfying?
Since they come from my mind, I love them all. Some ideas or concepts work better than others. I have stories and reasons for creating them, and even started a video series on my IGTV called BTS – Behind the Sandwich, to tell folks about the shirt and where the idea came from and who designed it. The most satisfying part is being able to work with some awesome designers who like my brand enough to be associated with it.
I'm glad you mentioned the BTS series. You've really branched out from a clothing brand to be a multimedia content creator. As the line has evolved, what challenges have you run into?
Since it is just me, it is hard to time-manage and do everything from folding and wrapping the shirts like sandwiches, and handwriting notes, and packing orders, to also creating content on social media and making videos. My family helps with camera work and making sure I do a better job of editing my blog posts. I love creating content and sharing information. If I can find relevant ways to stay on point with my brand, I am all about giving it a try. With all that being said, consistency is an issue. Trying to juggle it all. It's a great compliment when people think I do this full-time or have a team, when its all me. So I do my best and take advantage of free time to work on things and also be present as a dad and husband.
It's a great side hustle, to be sure. As a sandwich lover and former deli man myself, the care for, and cultivation of, the brand is evident. Personally, "Cuban" and "Fluffah Nuttah" are two designs – riffs on the Miami Dolphins and Boston Red Sox, respectively – that stand out immediately to me. Do you think of the sandwich slogan first, then backtrack into finding the right city/team to design it, or the other way around?
Yes, its a great passion project indeed. Cuban, Fluffah Nuttah, Italian Beef, and Cheesesteak was a series I created called Sandwich City Series. It was a way to merge two loves: sports and sandwiches. Each of these cities had a sports team and a sandwich that is associated with that city. You have great taste btw - because both of those designs are best sellers. For those, I thought of the best team that matched the sandwich with the team. Some cities don't have a well-known sandwich or their team isn't as popular. I get inspired in various ways; not every shirt idea comes the same.
Sports are a clear influence, but you've also got a lot of nerd culture in there, too, especially in the stickers section. GI Joe, comics, Super Mario, lucha libre! Do you have any specific homages lined up in the near future?
That is a great question. I love the ability of stickers and the flexibility they provide to try out ideas and see as possible shirt options. I would like to do more themed releases but I may hold off on that till next year.
Before moving onto dessert, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about sandwiches. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite sandwich is a sandwich that a food truck use to make and no longer exists. It was called a "ChiMoo." It was a chicken-and-steak sandwich with Asian slaw and mango barbeque sauce, topped with sweet potato fries nestled in Puerto Rican Pan Sobao.
Whoa. That sounds incredible. Any recommendations for visitors traveling through your hometown of Orlando, the base of Deli Fresh Threads?
One thing many people may not know or realize, but in 2018, Orlando was named the sandwich capital of the U.S., according to Google data. There are some tasty places I can recommend since I actually did #SandwichEatUp events every months to share with other some of the amazing small sandwich shops in the area. To name a few: Pom Pom's Sandwicheria, Bad As's Sandwich, Beefy King, Stasios, Yellow Dog Eats, and many more.
That's awesome sandwich primer for the Orlando-bound! That said, have you ever ventured out of the heart of the Sunshine State for any Eat-Ups around the country?
I'd love to get to a point that I can do popups and #SandwichEatUps and tour the country.
It sounds like the logical leap forward. If you ever make to Jersey, New York City, or Long Island, we'll go places. As a sandwich master, what's your take on the hot dog? Is it a sandwich?
It will happen! Okay, for the popular hotdog question... So I am 100% with Eric Mittenthal, President of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. A hot dog is not a sandwich. They are great and hand-held but not sandwiches.
Hold up. National Hot Dog & Sausage Council? This is a thing? That exists?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: It does.)
Okay, so you're emphatically in the not-a-sandwich camp, so I won't bother asking about tacos. Finally moving into the sweetest part of our chat, ice cream sandwiches! Is a dessert sandwich an oxymoron, or are these valid sandwiches?
Sandwiches can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Dessert sandwiches are sweet and awesome. My favorite cookie is an Oreo. I also enjoy s'mores, and, of course, ice cream sandwiches.
There are a ton of different varieties of ice cream sandwich – the Chipwich, the Oreo ice cream sandwich, the classic chocolate chip cookie with any number of flavored ice creams smack in the middle. What's the best?
I have always been a Chipwich fan. However, I do enjoy making my own ice cream sandwiches. The key for making them at home is put the cookies in the freezer for a little bit to harden then up so when you push down on it, the cookie keeps its structural integrity and doesn't crumble.
You mentioned freezing the cookies before scooping ice cream onto them. Is that what you did for this astounding ice cream sandwich you made?
I love that you've used locally sourced cookies for this. (I also realize I've probably completely misused the term "locally sourced" here.) Klondike bar... is it a sandwich?
A Klondike bar is a square ice cream coated in chocolate. It's basically an ice cream bar without the popsicle stick. Not a sandwich.
So, no one's going to take the time to create and stage such a delectable ice cream sandwich, only to throw it away. How was it?
Usually, I eat a quarter cookie at a time. So I deconstructed it and ate the ice cream, cut the cookie up, and we ate it as a family.
As we close the freezer on this chat, I've just got a few quick either-ors for you. Sprinkles or jimmies?
I know them both [as a native of New Jersey] but I usually say sprinkles.
Rainbow or chocolate?
I love chocolate but when it comes to sprinkles, rainbow is the way to go.
Cup or cone?
I do both. I love the cone, but I hate having to eat it quickly. So, I put the coned ice cream into a cup and then break up the cone into the ice cream.
Sounds like a vote for "cup". Sherbet or sherbert?
The sherbet vs sherbert debate is not going how I had hoped. It's a shame to end this on such a downer. But in all seriousness, Biggie, thanks for taking the time to be a part of the OG Ice Cream Social. Stay cool.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
In 1978, Richard LaMotta first created the Chipwich when he tried to help a friend's struggling Englewood, NJ, ice cream parlor, The Sweet Tooth.
On May 1, 1982, LaMotta sent 60 vendors into Manhattan to sell his Chipwiches. All 25,000 sold within a few hours for $1 apiece. Sales peaked by mid-summer, toppling 200,000 sandwiches a day!
One anonymous competitor told the New York Times, "That’s the way it works. One guy comes up with a good idea, and everybody rips him off. It’s the American way."
New York City is also credited with the birth of Ice cream sandwiches in 1899. Street vendors sold blocks of ice cream between a few sheets of paper – "hokey pokeys" – and eventually, someone came along and swapped the paper out for cookies.
Pittsburgh's Jerry Newberg is sometimes credited as the creator of the traditional ice cream sandwich (vanilla ice cream between two chocolate cookies). He did sell them at Forbes Field, home of the Pirates and Steelers, and believes he invented it, but his grandson Matt admits, “We’re not sure he’s actually the inventor, but we call him that because we love him.”
Why didn’t the ice cream sandwich like the popsicle?
The popsicle had
a stick up its butt.
Biggie on Gideon's Bakehouse
The Chipwich disappeared from shelves in 2009, only to return in 2018.
Biggie is the creative director and owner of Deli Fresh Threads, one of the funnest apparel and pop culture brands on the web. Follow his latest releases, behind-the-scenes videos, mascot skits and more at Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. It's recommended you NOT do this on an empty stomach, though.