“Walk in and ask the guy behind the counter if he carries the flavor ‘Dulce de Leche con Brownie’ (say: DOOL-say de LE-chay con Brownie. It’s easy.) He will say no, and might laugh at you a little. Then you can make a sad face and walk out, or, EVEN BETTER, you can order something else to show you’re serious and because it all tastes wonderful and because we don’t want to be, you know, a nuisance. I recommend the Dulce de Leche (even without the brownie it’s incredible, though not transcendent).”
Turns out Riff’s no nuisance at all: He struck a deal with Raul D’Aloisio, who owns the shop with his brother Oscar, and if he can get 50 people to order dulce de leche con brownie, D’Aloisio will whip up a batch. “He told me, ‘I just came back from Buenos Aires, and the gelato in Buenos Aires is tremendously good,’” says D’Aloisio. “Well, I know that. I was born there. I said, ‘I don’t think people are gonna get it over here. They barely get dulce de leche.’ I have 32 spots in the freezer, so if I have to make a new flavor, I have to discontinue one.” But D’Aloisio says he admired Riff’s persistence, and when he found out Riff was a “political operator”—he’s a legislative aide for State Senator Tom Duane—he told his eager customer to get votes for the flavor. “This guy’s unbelievable,” he says. “I told him, ‘If you keep doing things this way, you’re gonna be mayor of New York City.’”
As of Monday, the visitor count was at 28, and with summer approaching, both men feel confident the goal will soon be reached. “The whole thing blows my mind. He’s gonna get to 50 in less than two weeks,” says D’Aloisio. “I’m gonna definitely e-mail him and say, ‘You got the 50. This weekend, come around.’ We’re gonna be all happy. All a happy family.”
*Full disclosure: We know Riff and received the e-mail. And experienced a sudden craving for gelato.