A Philly favorite now available in city

Frank and Wendy Robinson, left, and Andrea Maine have opened an authentic Philadelphia water ice shop here in town.

A Philly favorite now available in city
June 10
11:35 2021

Everyone knows that the city of Philadelphia is known for their delicious cheesesteaks. What many people outside the city fail to realize is Philly is known for another delicious treat. Water ice is a Philly staple and now the people of Winston-Salem can join in on the craze at Chilly Philly.

Chilly Philly is a frozen treat shop located at 454 Knollwood St. that sells not only ice cream, but also water ice. Water ice is made with water, sugar and fruit juices, mixed together before being frozen. It’s served above its freezing temperature, which gives it its consistency. Chilly Philly was the idea of Philadelphia natives Frank and Wendy Robinson and their friend Andrea Maine.  

Frank Robinson is a pastor at Messiah Community Christian Church and Maine is a member of the church. The three friends would routinely travel and on one of those trips, Maine was introduced to water ice and immediately loved it, she said. Last year, the pandemic hit, which halted most travel, meaning they could not get their authentic water ice.

“We hadn’t been home in 16 months, where we normally go home three or four times a year. And in Philadelphia it’s been a thing on the first day of Spring the water ice places give free small water ices to kick off the Spring,” said Wendy Robinson. “I saw all of my friends on Facebook posting and I was so homesick, because we hadn’t been there, and I called her (Maine) and said we should open a water ice shop and she said let’s go.”

One would assume that this was a plan that began to take root a year ago, but on the contrary, this idea just came to the group on the first day of Spring in 2021, which was March 20. They researched and began hunting for a location.  The trio worked hard and put everything together in less than two months to have their grand opening on May 15.

“We just wanted to find a place, because we had the same idea of somewhere families could come and things could feel relaxed,” Mrs. Robinson stated. “If they want to sit and eat, if they want to hang outside, or they could grab and go, that’s what we were looking for, so where we were going to be positioned was important.”

According to Mrs. Robinson, the group did not have a business plan, just an idea they felt would work. They had a setback along the way when they encountered racism from one of the building owners where they were looking to rent, but did not let that deter them from their goal. In the end, they found a bigger and better location.

They were not surprised at how quickly everything came together for them. Once they zeroed in on their goal, each person contributed to the final product.

“I think we were just determined to do it and she (Robinson) is a researcher and I learned so much from Wendy, because she knows how to research and compare,” said Maine. “She taught me patience and even though we did this thing in less than two months, I was patient.

“Even though we got let down a couple times, because we looked at a couple of buildings and like she said, we were discriminated against, but we didn’t give up. We knew this is what we wanted to do, we wanted to bring this Philadelphia water ice to Winston-Salem and the reception has been phenomenal.”

They were able to locate a distributor from Philadelphia that makes authentic water ice. Luckily enough for them, the distributor has a location in Greensboro where they could purchase it. The trio wanted to get their product straight from Philadelphia, because even the water can alter the taste and consistency of the product.

“Every single person that we have bumped into since the 15th that comes through here from Philly, New Jersey or Delaware, they say ‘this is what I’ve been missing,’” said Mrs. Robinson about the shop.  

“It’s blown our mind how many people who have never had it, and then literally we have people who come in every single day,” Mr. Robinson added.  

Their product is gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut- and peanut oil-free and tree nut-free and some are fat-free as well. This would be a great option for those individuals who are vegan. So far, they have had a great response from those who know what water ice is, along with those who are trying it for the first time.

The shop not only is a business, but is also a ministry, Pastor Robinson said. “This has to be an opportunity where we touch lives and change lives, so that’s our goal as well,” he continued.

As a way to reach out to the community, the shop will allow another business owner to set up inside of the shop to sell their items or advertise their services. The trio felt this was a good way to give back and help another entrepreneur.  

The shop is open Wednesday to Saturday, from 12 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m.. The shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. You can find Chilly Philly on social media at Chilly Philly NC or call 336-608-4068 for more information.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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