Fishtown screams for ice cream

Last week, neigh­bors in the East Kens­ing­ton and Fishtown com­munit­ies came to­geth­er to un­an­im­ously sup­port Little Baby's Ice Cream

Every­one’s fa­vor­ite frozen treat got a little bit more love last week when res­id­ents of Fishtown and East Kens­ing­ton voted un­an­im­ously in sup­port of Little Baby’s Ice Cream, which presen­ted a plan for a Frank­ford Av­en­ue shop dur­ing a Jan. 17 meet­ing.

The ses­sion rep­res­en­ted a com­bined zon­ing meet­ing of the Fishtown Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation and the East Kens­ing­ton Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation.

To open their shop, tent­at­ively set for May at 2311 Frank­ford Ave., Little Baby’s co-own­ers Pete An­gev­ine and Mar­tin Brown (along with co-own­er Jef­frey Ziga, who was not in at­tend­ance that even­ing) must ap­ply for a zon­ing vari­ance.

Be­cause of a zon­ing over­lay, called the North Delaware Av­en­ue Spe­cial Dis­trict Con­trols, which im­pacts Frank­ford Av­en­ue where the shop would do busi­ness, the own­ers need com­munity sup­port of the vari­ance. The over­lay doesn’t per­mit takeout food, such as hand­made ice cream, in that area of Frank­ford Av­en­ue.

The wn­ers are hav­ing the build­ing re­fur­bished by the same South Philly ar­chi­tect who helped bring life back to South Street, Joel Spivak.

“South Street needed a lot of im­prove­ments, it was all aban­doned, just like Frank­ford Av­en­ue is now,” Spivak said. “It’s really great that this is hap­pen­ing.”

Spivak, of course, thinks the ice-cream busi­ness will be a boost to the neigh­bor­hood’s re­viv­al. “This will be a great busi­ness in the middle of a dead block … it’s amaz­ing what’s go­ing on,” he said. 

The build­ing will be han­di­capped-ac­cess­ible as part of the work to re­store its splendor. Dur­ing last week’s meet­ing, res­id­ents shared no ma­jor is­sues, oth­er than some con­cern wheth­er pro­duc­tion equip­ment would cre­ate noise aud­ible out­side the store. 

The own­ers prom­ised that noise would not be a prob­lem.

An­gev­ine and Brown, who said they were pleas­antly sur­prised to earn the un­an­im­ous sup­port of their ven­ture, be­came part­ners after dis­cov­er­ing that they were mak­ing ice cream from their homes.

ldquo;We star­ted try­ing to come up with the crazy fla­vors that work — we wanted to see what was feas­ible,” Brown said.

“We like sur­prises,” An­gev­ine ad­ded.

The pair of­fi­cially launched their busi­ness last May at the Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest­iv­al. An­gev­ine touts their product as “small-batch, hand­made su­per-premi­um ice cream.”

Fishtown res­id­ent Nicki Monzo voted for ap­prov­al of the ice cream par­lor; she also made it known that her fa­vor­ite ice cream treat con­sists of mint chocol­ate chip and a pret­zel cone. 

Little Baby’s exot­ic fla­vors go bey­ond some­what tra­di­tion­al fla­vors like mint chocol­ate chip. Just the same, Monzo likes what she has heard about the busi­ness plan, sug­gest­ing it can mean only good things for the neigh­bor­hood.

ldquo;I think it’s a good idea.  It’s not like ice cream will bring in the wrong crowd or any­thing,” said Monzo. 

At the mo­ment, she ad­ded, there aren’t many places in Fishtown to get ice cream.

With plans for fla­vors like Birch Beer Vanilla Bean, Spiced Chocol­ate, Cof­fee Tof­fee and Eggnog, the shop own­ers hope to use dairy products from Cham­ber­s­burg. Their spe­cialty treat cur­rently is be­ing sold at se­lect mar­kets and at some mu­sic con­certs. But An­gev­ine and Brown are ex­pect­ing big things in the fu­ture. 

Little Baby’s Ice Cream also will of­fer milk­shakes, soda floats and ice cream sand­wiches on cook­ies freshly baked in the store. They’ll be open­ing next to a new pizza shop; An­gev­ine and Brown know the own­ers, they said, and the hope is that the two busi­nesses will feed off each oth­er and grow.

“We’re sep­ar­ate com­pan­ies with a lot of syn­ergy. We have a sim­il­ar spir­it,” An­gev­ine said. ••

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