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Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry's Loeb and Nathan to open ice cream shop in Brentwood Country Mart

September 3, 2009 | 12:16 pm

Huckleberry

The owner of Brentwood Country Mart, known for his painstaking pursuit of tenants he thinks belong in his casual neighborhood hangout, has scored a coup in signing rising culinary stars Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb to run an ice cream parlor.

The couple opened the hit Huckleberry bakery in Santa Monica earlier this year. Loeb also owns Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen. Both restaurateurs grew up on the Westside, said Loeb, who has a nostalgic connection to the Country Mart.

"I must’ve gone to Reddi Chick 5,000 times," he said, referring to the mart's popular chicken stand. (He told Food GPS 6,000 times.)

The pair plan to open the shop in January, and will make small batches of ice cream daily. The shop has yet to be named, but "it should be fun," Loeb said. "The idea is to go back to from-scratch craftsmanship of making ice cream in eight to 12 flavors. We'll have ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, root beer floats --  all things ice cream."

Loeb promised he wouldn't get carried away making up exotic new flavors. "The idea is to use really good quality chocolate, strawberries and cream," he said. "Flavors will be old-fashioned but with imaginative twists."

Country Mart owner Jim Rosenfield bought the 60-year-old property on 26th Street in Santa Monica in 2003 and has been chasing his favorite retailers ever since. "Huckleberry is our kind of tenant," he said.

-- Roger Vincent

Photo of Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb by Ann Johansson / for The Times

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