A couple of Philadelphia transplants and a friend have opened Chilly-Philly, selling Philadelphia water ice, at 454 Knollwood St., in the small strip center behind Arby’s and just off Stratford Road.
Frank and Wendy Robinson opened the shop May 15 with their friend and partner Andrea Maine.
The Robinsons are originally from Philadelphia but have been in Winston-Salem 11 years, ever since they moved here to take jobs at Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church. Frank Robinson is now senior pastor at Messiah Community Christian Church. Wendy Robinson and Maine both work for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
The opening of Chilly-Philly was indirectly related to the coronavirus pandemic. “The whole idea came about from my wife being homesick,” Frank Robinson said.
“We hadn’t been home in over 16 months due to COVID,” Wendy Robinson said.
But they had taken a shorter trip last year to Virginia Beach with Maine, where they found a shop selling the ice. Maine fell in love with it, too, and soon they were talking about opening a shop.
Chilly-Philly expects to operate year-round. It also may add milkshakes and other items in the future.
Frank Robinson said he has set aside Tuesdays, when the shop is normally closed, to host parties for groups. The owners also are planning ways to give back to the community, such as by filling empty water-ice containers with school supplies for teachers this fall.
In addition to water ice, Chilly-Philly sells ice cream and warm soft pretzels, a staple of Philadelphia food carts.
The ice they are using comes from the Philadelphia Water Ice Factory in Philadelphia. The shop sells 12 flavors of Philadelphia water ice — which is water, sugar and frozen all frozen together. This is also what the majority of people call Italian ice, unless maybe you live in Philly. “But if you know Philadelphians, you know we like to put our name on everything we can,” Frank Robinson said with a laugh. “But outside of Philadelphia, it’s Italian ice.”
The ice is served slightly warmer than ice cream so it is soft and smooth.
Flavors include watermelon, strawberry lemonade, mango, chocolate and banana berry. The ice is sold in three sizes at $2, $3 and $5.
Chilly-Philly also sells 12 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, including orange blossom, butter pecan, cookies & cream, superman, banana pudding and strawberry cheesecake. The ice cream also is sold in three sizes, for $2.50, $3.50 and $5.50.
Chilly-Philly also sells combos, what they call the Chilly-Philly special. One scoop of each water ice and ice cream costs $5; a cup filled with two scoops of each sells for $7.
Additional toppings include gummy bears, M&Ms, crushed butterfingers and Skittles.
Frank Robinson said that people can have a lot of fun mixing and matching the various flavors of ice and ice cream. “You can get so many combinations — it’s just how far you want to take it.”