For four decades, Daisy’s offered a bit of sweet relief for Slavic Village neighbors of all ages throughout the sweltering summer months. Owners Ray and Daisy Pudelski ran the iconic walk-up ice cream shop at Fleet Avenue and E. 57th Street until 2015, when they decided to retire after more than 40 years in business.
But thanks to Anthony Trzaska of Sonny Day Development
, this story did not end there.
“I’ve been trying to help Ray and Daisy to retire and pass on the shop,” says Trzaska, who grew up in Slavic Village and has been working tirelessly to revive it. “When I’m trying to weave some new fabric into the existing, this is a very big, important piece. This is so aligned with my mission of putting a new spin on the Old World.”
In his search for an operator, Trzaska landed on Walter Hyde, a chef who earned fame in the world of barbecue (Fat Casual, for one), but whose talents run wider and deeper. Together, the pair have been working on a plan to “restart the engine” and usher in Daisy’s 2.0.
The 2,500-square-foot building is set up exclusively for walk-up service. Hyde will add picnic tables and umbrellas to a portion of the parking lot in front. As for his plans for the food, the chef says that neighbors should not expect to find a whole new operation.
“We’re going to do things the Ray and Daisy way,” he says. “This is not going to be Fat Casual with ice cream.”
In addition to the hard and soft-serve ice creams purchased from local producers, Hyde will introduce some new hot food items like Polish boys, chili dogs, slaw dogs and hamburgers made from fresh-ground beef. There will be pierogis from the Pierogi Lady, some kielbasa sandwiches, and french fries. Milk shakes and slushies will be on hand as well. And yes, Hyde will likely fire up the trailer-mounted smoker and do barbecue specials on weekends and other days.
Daisy’s had always been a seasonal operation, shutting down each year on Constitution Day in September. But Trzaska says that that date no longer is set in stone.
“The plan is to see how far we can extend the season,” he says.
When it opens later this month, Daisy’s will add a nice new lunch option to a neighborhood short on supply. Down the road, plans call for the removal of a vacant house abutting the rear of the building, which will create a large green space for future Slavic Village outdoor programming.
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