Sweet Charlie’s, a food chain known for its hand rolled frozen desserts, will be opening its first New York state location in the village of Mamaroneck by the end of the month.
The dessert shop, located at 362 Mamaroneck Ave., formerly a Sprint mobile store, received approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals on Dec. 8, 2017.
“We really wanted to try and break into the New York market,” said Steven Billig, CFO and co-founder of Sweet Charlie’s.
Brett Wien, franchise owner of the Mamaroneck location, said that after submitting his initial plans to the zoning board, he was told he would need to file for a special variance, because the shop’s location was in violation of Chapter 342-45 under the village code.
The code states that on Mamaroneck Avenue, no fast-food restaurant, carry-out or delicatessen can be within 200 feet of another fast-food restaurant, carry-out or delicatessen on the same side of the street.
To prevent any trouble down the line, during the village zoning board meeting on Dec. 7, 2017, the board made sure to clarify that under its code Sweet Charlie’s is defined as a fast-food restaurant.
The goal this time around was to avoid any controversy like the one that ensued in July 2016 when Ralph’s Italian Ice & Ice Cream first opened on East Boston Post Road and was initially misclassified as a retail chain.
The zoning board determined, after Ralph’s had opened, that it should have been identified as a fast-food restaurant, which led to several rounds of litigation, protests from neighborhood residents complaining of noise and safety issues, and, ultimately, the eventual closure of the Staten Island-based franchise.
To avoid any such confusion, Wien said that the acquisition of the variance delayed their opening by five weeks, but it wasn’t the end of the world for him.
Wien told the Review that the zoning board advised him at its Dec. 7 meeting to make sure he had all the correct permits in order to avoid a situation like Ralph’s.
Despite that, Wien still has plans to open the shop by the end of January, much to the anticipation of locals in the community.
Billig said they’ve been receiving emails daily of customers inquiring of Sweet Charlie’s presence in Mamaroneck.
“It’s like 15 degrees out, so that’s exciting to know that people will want to get ice cream when it’s that cold,” Billig said.
The shop will be open year-round from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., with outdoor dining locations in the spring and summer.
But what really has people screaming for Sweet Charlie’s ice cream is the unique way it’s made.
“We’re going to literally make the ice cream right in front of the [customers] in less than 90 seconds,” Wien said.
He describes the shop’s concept as something similar to Cold Stone Creamery, the difference being that Sweet Charlie’s makes the ice cream for each individual order.
And to do that, employees start with one of three liquid bases, either the premium ice cream, non-fat yogurt, or nada-moo, a vegan alternative. Using the counter, which is set at 15 degrees below zero, the base is converted into a sweet treat in front of the customer’s eyes.
The dessert is then flattened out and rolled into strips and placed in a cup and garnished with toppings.
“Everything is fresh and fun looking,” Wien said.
Sweet Charlie’s offers 10 different flavors of its desserts and 15 different toppings for a flat rate of $7.
“The product itself is amazing,” Wien said.
For customers with food allergies, Wien said the shop will also have a separate machine to make ice cream for customers with food allergies.
Kelly Wenstrup, a member of the zoning board, described this feature of the shop as, “a thing you can’t get somewhere else.”
She went on to say that Sweet Charlie’s would be “a wonderful addition if you come to Mamaroneck.”