LIVERMORE -- Those hot summer days Livermore is known for are about to get a whole lot cooler.
CREAM, the popular Berkeley-based homemade ice cream and cookie confectioner, has signed a lease to move into the downtown area, right next door to the Livermore Cinemas at 2375 Railroad Ave. The parlor is tentatively scheduled to open in March, becoming the seventh CREAM location in the Bay Area.
"We're very excited to come to Livermore," said co-founder Jimmy Shamieh. "We think it will be a great fit."
CREAM -- standing for the Wu-Tang Clan musical group-inspired "Cookies Rule Everything Around Me" -- specializes in gourmet ice cream sandwiches priced at less than $3.
The CREAM story began about 25 years ago when Jimmy's children began experimenting with novel ways to use the homemade cookies their mother Wafa was famous for in the neighborhood, sandwiching in chocolate bars, marshmallows, peanut butter and finally, homemade ice cream.
"The kids loved it instantly," Shamieh said. "Everybody wanted to come to the house for postgame snacks. We knew it was a hit, and it became a staple in our house."
The Shamiehs opened the first CREAM location in Berkeley in 2010 with a menu boasting homemade ice cream in dozens of unique flavors, ice cream "tacos," a variety of fresh-baked cookies (even several vegan and gluten-free options), milkshakes and malts. CREAM has since added other family-owned franchises in Walnut Creek, Palo Alto and Davis. Two others are set to open in San Jose and San Mateo later this year.
"The demand has been overwhelming," Shamieh said. "We're hoping to bring our good ingredients to larger communities."
News of the latest CREAM shop opening just in time for summer should help fill a sweet-tooth void left for Livermorians when the Nestle Toll House Café on First Street closed in October.
"What better way to beat the heat than with the classic ice cream sandwich?" Shamieh said.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.