100 Flavors Inside, Pups and People Outside: Ralph’s Ices Brings the Heat to Chelsea

Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream is now a thing in Chelsea. | File photo by Scott Stiffler


A “Welcome to the Neighborhood” Q&A


Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices and Ice Cream

196 Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 21st & 22nd Sts.)

Open Sunday through Thursday, 11:30am-11pm & Friday/Saturday, 11:30am-11:30pm

To visit their website, Click Here

When they breezed into our part of town on Wednesday, June 12, Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices and Ice Cream did so with very little fanfare–and yet they still managed to attract a steady stream of customers from the get-go (due in no small part to glowing reviews months in advance of opening the Chelsea store, from those familiar with other locations in Manhattan and beyond). As for the Chelsea location at 196 Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 21st & 22nd Sts.): For a block that has its share of shuttered storefronts (we still mourn for the long-gone, mom-and-pop-run 7-Eleven), the sight of a line forming in front of a new business was as sweet as any one of Ralph’s many flavors and fixings. We noted the presence of this awesome source of “sundaes, shakes, smoothies, and soft serve” in a breif news item pubished just two days after their arrival (click here to read it). But like so many of their very cool offerings, that only left us hungry for more. So we said, “Welcome to the Neighborhood” with the below Q&A session–and emerged knowing a bit more about the products, the people behind them, and the pups that arrive to find they’ve been given a seat at the table (or at least some paw room on the front counter).

Scott Stiffler, for Chelsea Community News (CCNews): Tell us about this and other Manhattan locations.

Craig, for Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices and Ice Cream (Craig): Chelsea is our fourth Manhattan location. The other three are in the East Village (145 Avenue A), Gramercy (370 Second Ave.) and the Upper East Side (588 1st Ave.).

CCNews: Does the menu vary from store to store?

Craig: The Chelsea location has the most flavor choices of any of the Manhattan “Ralph’s.” In Chelsea, we have over 100 flavors to choose from! Everyone has their favorite. In addition, we have a menu of soft serve ice cream, sundaes, and shakes.

CCNews: Does the menu change throughout the year, as in, are there seasonal specials that come and go?

Craig: Yes we do have some seasonal flavors that are offered at various points of the season. The one that gets the most excitement is our Pumpkin Pie Creme Ice which comes out in October. It’s very popular.

The long, lean (but never mean) interior of Ralph’s Chelsea location. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

CCNews: Why choose Chelsea as a location, and why this particular spot on Seventh Ave.?

Craig: Chelsea needs a Ralph’s Ices. It’s that simple. We liked this specific space because the size allowed us to fit 100 flavors inside and the foot traffic on the block was busy.

CCNews: How many family members are involved in this family business and how to you distribute those duties across your many locations?

Craig: The three of us: Craig, Rich, and Andrew. We split the duties well and our abilities compliment each other very well to make a great team.

CCNews: How many locations do you have?

Craig: We have the four locations in Manhattan plus four other locations on Long Island.

CCNews: Just so we’re clear on this, what IS an Italian Ice? What are some of the most popular flavors, and unexpected/unusual ones?

File photo of the “Pup Cups” feature by Scott Stiffler

Craig: Our Italian Ice has two varieties: Water Ice and Creme Ice. The Water Ice is dairy-free and are classic ice flavors like Strawberry, Lemon, Cherry, Rainbow… plus many more. The Creme Ice is Italian Ice with dairy added which gives it a consistency more like sorbet.

CCNews: I had the “Arctic Shake” which was great. How is this different than a traditional milk shake?

Craig: An Artic Shake is made with creme ice topped with whipped cream and a topping related to the flavor.

CCNews: When did you introduce Pup Cups, and has it made you any new four-legged friends in Chelsea so far?

Craig: The evolution of the pup cup was natural. Our Manhattan customers would ask us for a cup of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for their 4-legged best friend. The pups loved it, the owners loved it and we loved how this included the whole family in the outing to Ralphs!

CCNews: In our previous reporting, we noted “Do you know of a young person looking for a summer job? ” Rich asked CCNews to let it be known that the Chelsea store is ready and willing to hire some locals! Stop by 196 Seventh Ave. for details.” Is there anything to add to that?

Craig: We are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working individuals who have a passion for customer service.

CCNews: THANKS for your time and please feel free to mention anything if the topic was not covered by the questions we asked.

Craig: We are SO EXCITED to be in this neighborhood and we hope to be day-improvers for our customers. Our Instagram is @ralphsicesmanhattan.

Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices and Ice Cream

196 Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 21st & 22nd Sts.)

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30am-11pm & Friday/Saturday, 11:30am-11:30pm

To Visit Their Website, Click Here

Ralph’s Chelsea location is open until 11pm Sun.-Thurs. and until 11:30pm Fri./Sat. | Photo by Scott Stiffler


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