LITHIA — It wasn’t enough for Kimberley Zinerco to work as an independent sales consultant for a home builder during the day and then own and operate FishHawk Pizza by night.
She wanted to bring another business to the community where she lives and works, so she started asking some of her New York style pizza customers with New York roots what else the area needed.
The answer was ice cream and Italian Ice, but not any brand would do for Zinerco, who was born in Queens and grew up on Long Island. It had to have a New York flair.
Enter Uncle Louie G Italian Ices and Ice Cream, a New-York based business that Zinerco and all of her friends grew up enjoying — including Enza Leo who is moving from the Big Apple to help run the dessert eatery.
Uncle Louie G Italian Ices and Ice Cream opened earlier in September at 15280 FishHawk Blvd., just a few doors down from FishHawk Pizza, after months of red tape from Hillsborough County pushed back the anticipated April opening.
Zinerco said the county thought her ice cream shop was going to have 75 seats, a number that required a second bathroom be installed. In reality the only thing the store has 75 of is ice cream and Italian Ice flavors (cream and water based).
"It was a nightmare, but we’re now open and I’m so excited," Zinerco said. "I’ve had so many people from New York who are so excited it makes them feel like they are back home. It reminds them of their childhood. That’s really the idea."
New Yorkers will appreciate how the shop serves their favorite treat in authentic "squeeze cups," and it might take them back to days of yore playing stickball, running through fire hydrants or just sitting on the stoop chatting. Floridians will get a taste of a brand whose only other location on the West Coast of Florida is in Naples.
Mix three ice cream flavors to create a custom milk shake, or ask for two scoops of gourmet goodness in a waffle cone. The ice cream is shipped from New York and is available in quarts or pints for take home. Gluten free options are available and coffee and espresso will be coming soon. Zinerco and Leo have the exclusive rights for Tampa Bay for the brand and plan to open future locations in Wesley Chapel and Hyde Park.
"It just tastes great," Zinerco said. "I think it will be a great hit."
FishHawk Pizza upgrades with flair
FishHawk Pizza is undergoing a bit of a makeover – on its walls and menu.
Thanks to 16-year-old FishHawk resident Matthew Conover, the New York style pizzeria now has a bit of a graffiti flare thanks to murals from Conover that span throughout the pizza place.
Diners also will find new televisions, new dishes and new homemade potato chips.
A secret menu is coming soon and so too are new table coverings.
The eatery also soon will post monthly polls for customers to vote on what craft beer they want on the menu. Further, due to new permits, customers will be able to buy beer or wine and take home a six pack or a bottle of their favorite wine.
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