Sweet Shop NYC brings vintage confections to the neighborhood
Upper East Side On a quiet stretch of East 73rd Street, there's a portal back to a simpler, sweeter time. The Sweet Shop NYC's small storefront is crammed from top to bottom with the treats you might remember from your childhood, or at least the childhood you wish you had lived: glass jars of soft peanut butter cups, double-dipped in rich, smooth milk chocolate; handmade marshmallows that are lighter than a cloud; wooden drawers filled with penny candy-yes, literally-such as hard butterscotch candies and peppermints. From the ceiling hangs a "candylier," a kitschy light fixture dripping with faux jawbreakers and an array of Technicolor crystals.
The Sweet Shop NYC is the creation of Kelly Jaime-AKA "The Candy Man"-and his wife Glyn, or "The Confectionista." The shop opened in October, but has really hit its stride over the last few weeks of warm temperatures. Because as much as the store is about celebrating great candies, it's also slinging some of the best ice cream in town, sourced from small-scale local producers such as Williamsburg's OddFellows, the Lower East Side's Il Laboratorio del Gelato and Long Island City's vegan Alchemy Creamery.
Glyn explained that after the couple relocated to the Upper East Side from downtown about a decade ago, they found themselves unable to satisfy their collective sweet tooth for frozen treats.
"In the evenings we would constantly ask each other: 'Where can we get good ice cream around here?'" she said. "When we discovered that the answer was 'nowhere,' we decided we had to do it ourselves."
Glyn, a graphic designer who conceived of the store's décor as well as its fun line of packaging-ice cream scoops are served in tiny Chinese takeout containers, and bulk candies come in small, hand-lettered brown paper coffee bean bags-said she'd always wanted to start her own ice cream shop. The love of dairy was ingrained in Kelly from a young age, too-as a child, he spent countless hours at Disneyland, where his grandmother was a buyer and merchandiser, sipping shakes and crunching on cones.
After researching and taste-testing handmade candies for more than two years prior to opening The Sweet Shop, Kelly possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of all things candy, which he puts to good use stocking the store. Marshmallows come from Brooklyn's historic JoMart Chocolates, as does the shop's signature candy bar, "The Candyman," a graham cracker layered with raspberry jelly and dipped in dark chocolate. In another nod to history, the shop offers soft marzipan from the Elk Candy Company, whose factory operated in Yorkville for over 70 years.
"We're trying to make what's old new again," Kelly said.