Soft serve ice cream store Taiyaki NYC will open a Harvard Square location in July, joining a growing number of chains setting up shop in the area.
Taiyaki NYC, which serves ice cream in fish-shaped waffles, gained fame on social media channels like Instagram and TikTok for its aesthetically-pleasing menu options. Its Harvard Square location will be the chain’s second store in Massachusetts.
Jimmy Chen, a co-founder of Taiyaki NYC, wrote in an email that the Harvard location will open at 6 Church St. — the former home of the clothing store Mint Julep, which has since moved to 43 Battle St. — in mid- to late July. The ice cream store will later be joined by the Dough Club, a sibling Japanese mochi doughnut store.
Taiyaki NYC will compete with the ice cream options currently available in the Square, which include Ben & Jerry’s, J.P. Licks, Milk Bar, Berryline, Lizzy’s, and Amorino Gelato.
Even before its official opening, some Harvard students said they will choose to frequent Taiyaki NYC over its other ice cream competitors.
Abiba Imam Dyuti ’24 said the store’s iconic waffle cone will be the deciding factor for her.
“The Taiyaki cone — I love it,” Dyuti said. “The Taiyaki cone itself is in this fish shape, but they also have this bear shape which is also cute.”
“It tastes really good,” she added.
Taiyaki NYC’s emblematic cones are an adaptation of a traditional Japanese treat. Filled with red bean paste, taiyaki — which translates to “baked fish” — are fish-shaped cakes served as street food. The ice cream shop also offers traditional Japanese teas like matcha and hōjicha as soft serve flavors.
Nicole J. Bugliosi ’24 said she likes Taiyaki NYC because of its unique ice cream.
“You can’t really get it anywhere else,” Bugliosi said. “It just makes it really fun.”
While Taiyaki NYC offers six soft serve flavors, Bugliosi said she does not plan on being adventurous.
“I'm kind of boring, so I always get vanilla,” she said. “But if you want to try more interesting flavors, they have them.”
Julian F. Schmitt ’22-’23 said if Taiyaki NYC is similarly priced to other ice cream spots around campus, he expects it to be “on the expensive side.” (Ice cream served in the fish-shaped waffle cone costs eight dollars at Taiyaki NYC’s Boston Seaport location.)
“I guess what you’re paying for [is] the experience as opposed to necessarily the ice cream,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt added “the price is a deterrent” for him from frequenting Taiyaki NYC, but he did not rule out visiting once.
“I would be excited to go in and look around and see what’s there,” he said.
While Cambridge faces freezing winters for a large part of the school year, students said that snow, rain, or shine, they will not be stopped from getting ice cream in the Square throughout the year.
“Ice cream is best when it’s cold,” Dyuti said. “It doesn’t matter what season it is and what temperature it is.”
“Sometimes you just want ice cream,” she added.
—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MHerszenhorn.