BY LUIS GRONDA
When it comes to getting ice cream in Queens, one of the first places that come to mind is Eddie’s Sweet Shop.
The Forest Hills-based ice cream shop has been a member of the community and the Borough since it opened in 1909, switching ownership four different times but still serving the same delicious ice cream that many have come to love.
Vito Citrano, the current owner of the shop, said they have maintained their longevity because they have kept all of the traditional flavors that people have come to know and love when they go to Eddie’s.
“Everything is the same as it was in the 1920s and 1930s,” said Citrano, whose father Giuseppe bought the store in 1968.
The shop offers about 20 different flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and rum raisin, and has stuck to more traditional flavors instead of experimental flavors that other ice cream stores offer. Citrano said they have added about eight to 10 flavors to the shop since becoming the owners.
All of the ice cream, including all of the toppings and syrups you can add to your purchase, is made on-premise, according to Citrano.
The store has been involved in the community that it calls home over the years as well.
One recent example of that is the store held an ice cream eating contest at St. Jude Children’s Hospital to raise money for the health facility. He said they raised about $1,000 during that event to pay for some of the hospital’s costs.
Another community event that they will be offering again this year is the Ultimate American ice cream flavor. In a 27-ounce cup, you get blueberry, strawberry and vanilla ice cream topped with red, white and blue whipped cream.
Proceeds from every purchase of that special made ice cream is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a service organization that offers programs for veterans who were injured while fighting in the military.
Citrano said the flavor was popular when they offered it last year and they will offer it again around July 4 this year.
As far as how Forest Hills has changed over the years, Citrano said it is still a beautiful neighborhood with terrific schools. He said his kids attended schools in the area, namely PS 101 and Russell Sage High School, and he has recommended it to his friends and customers.
Over the years, people have been in Eddie’s Sweet Shop for special moments in their lives.
Citrano said one couple videotaped their engagement at the store. A film crew was present pretending to shoot a video about the store itself and its history. But much to the surprise of the bride, the male was actually proposing to his future wife in their favorite ice cream store.
On the other end of the spectrum, customers have also visited the shop after attending a funeral to reminisce about the loved one they lost.
In either case, Citrano said he is honored that many people choose Eddie’s in times of happiness and sadness.
“It’s all very touching,” he said.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.