Hitting The Sweet Spot Since 1929
The Northport Sweet Shop on Main Street is one of the few places where you can really feel like a kid in a candy store.
Since 1929 the small, family-owned shop has served homemade ice cream, chocolates and hard candy classics to their loyal customer base in Northport.
Owner Pete Panarites, who graduated from Northport High School in 1959, took over the business his father George started when Panarites was just a teenager. Panarites, who later become the village’s mayor, said he has seen generations of families enter the 55 Main St. shop’s doors, including children who have grown to become grandparents over the almost six decades he’s been in the confectionary business.
Panarites, who was also a math teacher, said his loyal customer base spans from residents of Northport to visitors from Connecticut, who stop by the shop via baoat during day trips across the Long Island Sound.
The sweet spot to the shop’s success has been not only the charming and authentic 1930s atmosphere, but also the consistency of ingredients and product quality.
All ice cream served out of the shop is homemade, the owner said, adding that years of experimenting with different ingredients and vendors have led him to the perfect, wholesome ice cream formula.
The Sweet Shop offers their 16 flavors in simple cups, sugar or waffle cones, or in the form of outrageously delicious, decked-out sundaes. Hot (or should we say cool) favorites include the Buster Brown Fudge Nut Sundae, the Hot Fudge Sundae and of course, the traditional Banana Split.
Different times of the year dictate the Sweet Shop’s market, Panarites said. Over the summer, ice cream is king, while chocolate and candy sales soar over the winter and springtime. Around Easter, candy sales make up about 90 percent of the store’s profit, while in the summer at least 70 percent of income comes from ice cream sales, the owner said.
Just last week, Panarites said he made 80 gallons of ice cream inside his Main Street shop. In the springtime, Panarites and his sister, Georgia Pappias, make their famous homemade Easter bunnies and eggs, typically made of Nestle chocolate products.
Every year, the owner said, he gets requests from all over the country from customers who at one point in time fell in love with the Sweet Shop’s chocolate bunnies.
The shop goes beyond catering to the nearly-universal sweet spot. They also offer a small luncheonette menu, most famous for its hamburgers, BLT sandwiches and other triple-deck style edibles.
“The product really sells itself. My father always told me, ‘Don’t compromise on the quality,’ and that’s the key to success and service,” Panarites said.
The owner hopes to run the business for another 16 years, hoping to make it to a round 100. His niece, Marlene Niehaus, said she plans to help her uncle make that dream a reality.
“I’m very proud of my grandparents for starting the business and I want to keep that mom-and-pop shop feeling,” Niehaus said.
Northport Sweet Shop
55 Main St, Northport