You couldn’t ask for better weather on Saturday, May 18, the day that Chillato gelateria chose to celebrate its ribbon cutting Grand Opening. The only “pouring” was those people that couldn’t wait for the actual celebration. Owners Maria Chee, John Zefi, Tony Lui and Linda Lui open the doors too soon, customers ignoring the celebratory balloons.
The counters began to fill with friends, family and those who got the message about being able to sample the gelato, a 10% weekend discount and free raffle tickets that would win a free pint of anyone of the freshly made gelatos or sorbets. There were certainly enough to choose from including a few new creations.
In addition sample cups were being passed out by their friendly staff. In Italy one might have a breakfast treat of a brioche with gelato sandwiched in. Maria and Tony decided to acquaint the public to the same. Why not? If it were coffee gelato, you would be having an equivalent of iced coffee and cake…so to speak.
Photo op as the invited attendees made their way to the bottom of the entrance steps to pose and snip. Aside from the four owners, Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, Senator John Lui, Greater Flushing Executive Director John Cloe, and Whitestone Merchants Association board members, Blanca Rodriguez, Nicholas Aragonesi and George Isaakidis filled the lower steps while members of the owners’ family filled the top ones.
After the ribbon was cut, the speeches erupted. John Lui said, “What a great business Chillato is! It’s about making people happy. I think there’s going to be a lot of happiness emanating from this corner of 154th and 17th Avenue. I intend to be a regular customer. This is certainly something we need in the neighborhood.”
“Thank you for inviting me today,” said Braunstein. “This is a great occasion. It’s good to see small businesses opening in our community as well as the Whitestone Merchants Association. The small business is the backbone of our community.”
Next up was Aragonesi. “We want to congratulate you on your Grand Opening. Thank you for becoming a member of the association. If you need us we’re always here for you.”
Maria made the last speech thanking everyone for their support. “We could not have found a better neighborhood to open a gelateria. I plan to stay here forever!” Marie promised to keep surprising customers with new flavors.
Back inside more tasting of donuts and brioche with gelato. Aside from the owners, four other employees were needed to happily please the party. Constant purchasing kept Chillato quite busy finding out that S’mores, Deep Dark Chocolate and Sugar Rush were even more popular than the Almond Roca, Ferraro Rocher and Nocciola (Hazelnut).
A few hours later, the horde thinned out. But alas, apparently someone let the cat out of the bag and the members of Christy’s Gymnastic Team stormed in with their coaches. Who spilled the beans? Is it a coincidence that Maria’s daughters 10 year old Madelyn Chee-Zefi and 13-year-old Chloe are members of the team?
Just in case you didn’t get the info, Chillato is located at 17-16 154th Street. Phone number: 718-489-1750.