Ellicottville has always been a town of opportunity. Those who recognize and embrace opportunities can go far, but it takes more than just being in the right place at the right time. It takes hard work, sacrifice and unrelenting determination to truly succeed. No one knows this better than Dina DiPasquale and Kimberly Reading - owners of Dina’s and Mud, Sweat n’ Gears, respectively. Given their history within the town, it’s safe to say that when these two women set their eyes on a prize, some impressive work is about to happen.
Enter the Tee Bar With a Twist; a collaboration between Reading and DiPasquale that recently opened in the heart of Ellicottville just a few weeks ago. Specializing in ice cream and “toggery”, the shop will have a little something for everyone looking to add a little something extra to their Ellicottville experience. As previously mentioned, it has ice cream - a summertime staple no matter where you are. As for the toggery, we will get to that momentarily.
Back to the ice cream. Close your eyes and focus on the idea of cool, refreshing ultra-rich forzen custard served up in a homemade waffle cone topped with sprinkles. "The difference between reulgar soft serve ice cream and frozen custard is the additional ingredient of pasteurized egg yolk that gives frozen custard its dense and creamy texture," Reading explained. "The frozen custard also allows us to offer fun novelties such as ice cream cookie sandwiches made with Dina’s delicious cookies, hot fudge brownie sundaes and ice cream tacos.” And if somehow that’s not enough for you, they will also be serving premium ice cream and sherbet in a variety of flavors - all of which can be dipped, dotted and sprinkled with a variety of melt-in-your-mouth garnishes from their toppings bar.
Toggery. What is toggery you ask? Think Ellicottville themed tee shirts, hats, hoodies, and other souvenirs. Everything you could want to showcase your local pride. According to Reading, the inspiration came from a small business she and DiPasquale found when their families were vacationing out west. It was small, quirky and most importantly their kids absolutely loved it. “The store was always busy, and our kids wanted to go there every day after skiing. After all, ice cream is fun, nostalgic, refreshing and crowd pleasing. We were quick to agree that Ellicottville could accommodate a similar storefront,” Reading said. “All of our merchandise will be Ellicottville themed … merchandise like you don't see anywhere else. Ellicottville love will eventually be found on t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, hats, stickers, baby apparel, pint glasses, tote bags and just about anything else the name Ellicottville can be placed upon. Inventory will change on a regular basis.”
Like almost everything in life, timing truly is everything. So when Katy’s Cafe decided to move from 8 Washington Street to a larger location, Dina and Kim decided to make their idea a reality. In a mere six weeks, with the help of contractors Bart Frank and Joe Koch, plumber Dominic Yantomasi, and Aldrich Painting, The Tee Bar was just about ready to open. Patra Lowes provided the finishing touches with a sign design that Pierce Steel from Olean, NY made into a tangible reality.
The restoration of the building turned into a labor of love in many regards. “We paid close attention to the internal culture of the space,” Reading explained. “Our mission was to create an inviting environment that would engage customers and sell itself. The vibe is distinctively 1970’s … it’s bright, fun and full of personality. The plan was not to be ordinary so we included furniture, fixtures and games in order to lure customers to sit, relax and enjoy the space.”
Not only was the idea for The Tee Bar a joint effort, but the naming of the shop was as well. They wanted to have a name that spoke to the concept of selling shirts as well as serving ice cream, which is where “With a Twist” comes into play. “And, Ellicottville is a ski town,” Reading commented. “If you’ve been around long enough, you remember riding t-bars at both Holiday Valley and HoliMont. Clever, right?”
A clever play on words indeed.
Because Ellicottville is a renowned ski town, one would wonder how a shop that specializes in ice cream plans to thrive in the winter months. DiPasquale and Reading are not the least bit concerned. They plan to operate year round and already have plans for a specialized hot chocolate bar and mountain waffles.
Check out the social action of The Tee Bar on Instagram and Facebook @theteebar. Kim and Dina also encourage you to share your fun Tee Bar photos or videos to either of the social platforms.
There’s still plenty of summer left, so the next time you’re in Ellicottville, stop by The Tee Bar and check out the new shop in town.