Ice cream shop adds to booming West Philly neighborhood

PHOTOS: YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mahogany Wise takes a lick of her ice cream as brother Jaylen Murray stands nearby at Little Baby's in West Philly.
PHOTOS: YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mahogany Wise takes a lick of her ice cream as brother Jaylen Murray stands nearby at Little Baby's in West Philly.
Posted: May 03, 2013

MOST PEOPLE think of ice cream as a treat, something to be enjoyed once in a while. But Cedar Park resident Morgan Andrews readily admits that he indulges a bit more often.

"I limit myself to once a day," Andrews reasoned.

The culprit is Little Baby's Ice Cream, the handmade premium ice-cream company, which opened a new location on Catharine Street near 49th less than two weeks ago. The company features an assortment of wild and daring flavors - including pizza and chocolate teriyaki - but also offers vegan and nondairy options. The new location is already receiving a warm reception.

"There's already been a few kind of regular-ish people that have come in," said co-owner Jeff Ziga. "They're just very excited to have an ice cream shop around there."

Ziga and his partners, Pete Angevine and Martin Brown, who opened their first location on Frankford Avenue in Kensington, chose to expand into Cedar Park after feeling it out last summer with their mobile operation - a customized tricycle. Sales of their wholesale products have also done well at nearby Mariposa Food Co-op.

"It just sort of became obvious that the reception from the people that lived out there was pretty good. We were fortunate enough there was a property available," said Ziga, who grew up in Havertown. "We liked the building and it was in the neighborhood we wanted to go to."

The neighborhood is buzzing with new development. Located across the street from Cedar Park, the shop is two doors down from Hibiscus, a vegetarian and smoothie eatery that opened last August, and a stone's throw from Dock Street Brewing Co. The area connects University City with the rest of West Philadelphia.

"I think it's a really diverse and growing area," said Angevine, a Temple grad. "It's diverse culturally, ethnically, in terms of age, income. And so, along with that, I think there's a pretty embedded openness people have in West Philadelphia because there's all sort of people living side by side.

"I think our products do require some openness because some of our flavors are uncommon or unusual."

Andrews, who came to the shop on its first day, said he appreciates the high-quality ingredients that allow him to indulge even with diabetes.

Andrews said he has also brought a friend with him each day since the opening, adding, "Ice cream is meant to be a social event."


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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