After years spent scooping ice cream at various pop-ups around Los Angeles, offering pints in the freezer section of neighborhood shoppy shops, and serving as a dessert option at a few restaurants, 626 Hospitality Group finally has a permanent location in Arcadia. Taking over the longstanding Ace Frozen Yogurt space on East Duarte Street, 626 Ice Cream delivers the same LA-inspired flavors that fans have come to expect from the brand but in an all-new soft serve format.
Launched in 2020 by Amber Tan and Waldo Yan, 626 Hospitality Group is best known for autobiographical ice cream flavors that reflect their upbringing in the San Gabriel Valley and greater Los Angeles. Past creations have included burnt honey and barley, an homage to the complimentary tea served at Korean barbecue restaurants, and coconut pandan, a nod to the popular Vietnamese sweets purveyor Hien Khanh with locations in Little Saigon and Rosemead.
The shift from making ice cream to soft serve came about due to the 800-square-foot space that Tan and Yan settled on. The shop’s former owners, Il Yong “Jay” Chung and Soo In Lee, hoped Tan and Yan would continue utilizing the soft serve machines that served the business for more than two decades. “We are going to honor Jay and Soo’s wishes and the heritage of Ace Yogurt while being true to ourselves,” the duo shared in an Instagram post. Tan tells Eater that any future locations of 626 Ice Cream will likely serve ice cream only.
The opening flavor line-up, all made with whole milk from Driftwood Dairy in El Monte, includes lychee strawberry, black sugar vanilla made with Tahitian Gold beans, mango calamansi, malted chocolate, hojicha, and Yakult, a probiotic drink that Tan and Yan grew up consuming. Toppings include hawthorn flakes, chamoy, Tajin, sprinkles, Oreos, and more. Single servings are priced at $7.25, while a trio of toppings go for an additional $1.75. Tan says that the shop will introduce new flavors periodically, some with special toppings to pair with them.
626 Ice Cream will begin serving unsweetened cold brew teas and cold brew coffees in a few weeks, along with pre-packed ice cream pints for customers to take to-go or enjoy in the shop’s dozen or so seats.
626 Ice Cream, located at 160 E. Duarte Road, Ste. E, Arcadia, CA 91006, is open from noon to 11 p.m. on weekdays and noon to midnight on weekends. The shop is closed on Tuesdays.