In addition to being an ice-cream scooper, the current co-owner of the incredibly ubiquitous frozen treats chain Uncle Louie G’s turns out to be a baller. An interview between Uncle Louie G’s co-owner Dino Russo and Crain’s New York reveals that he rolls a Bentley with ice-cream-themed vanity plates (“LOUIE G”), and that while the recipe for the Birthday Cake Surprise flavor is top secret, he can tell you it took a year to develop and it’s a blend of five flavors. Also, Russo says his partner Joe is “a little slow in the head, so he finds the kids” to test new flavors.
The ice-cream and Italian-ice chain now has 50 locations total, up from 12 in 2009; most are planted throughout the outer boroughs, but some Uncle Louie G’s are in Florida and Georgia. Russo credits the chain’s rapid growth to a licensing agreement that’s made it easy for locations to open quickly inside bodegas and tiny storefronts. Indeed: If most Uncle Louie G’s locations had bathrooms, we’d be making the old Starbucks joke about other Uncle Louie G’s opening inside the bathrooms at those locations. As for the balding Louie G of the logo himself, fans may disappointed to learn the man does not actually exist. Or does he? “There might be an Uncle Louie G living in Italy,” Russo says, “but I don’t know. But I hope he don’t look like the picture.”
Movers & Shakers: Dino Russo [Crain’s New York]