Tristan and Sofia Pelletier didn’t take long making their choices at the Tuck Shop counter recently. Tristan, 7, got his favorite, vanilla, while Sofia, 12, went with her go-to flavor, superman. When asked what their favorite part of the Tuck Shop is — besides the obvious, of course — both happy customers were quick to say the ice cream sign at the top of the building, which has stayed the same since a remodel.
The Tuck Shop has been a staple on Shelter Island since 1980, when it was opened by Bill and Pat Sulahian. The name came from Pat, who had taught in Germany, traveled in Europe and liked the name of sellers of snacks in England. When Ms. Sulahian first opened the Tuck Shop she sold candy as well.
In 2019, John Sieni bought the beloved Island summer spot and gave it a full makeover.
Business is good, with many restrictions for the coronavirus dropping and more people coming to the Island, discovering the sweet spot on Menantic Road.
Emma Teodoru, 18, and Jane Richards, 17, who graduated from Shelter Island High School last month, were working behind the counter one day when the Reporter dropped by. Ms. Richards said it still feels “weird” working in the Tuck Shop after the remodeling, since it had stayed the same for so many years.
Along with the physical changes, there have been some new additions to the menu. A greater variety of frozen yogurt, which was offered last year, is being served, with vegan mango and strawberry as two of the newest flavors. There’s also more items in the freezer for take-away, such as hand-packed pints as well as many more selections of ice cream cakes.
While working at the Tuck Shop may seem simple, there are some challenging aspects of the job. Ms. Teodoru said the most difficult part is at night when the staff shifts from three to two employees. It can sometimes be “very overwhelming,” she said, with only two employees as large groups come in and announce their orders all at once.
Although at times the job can be stressful, Ms. Richards said interesting orders can break the cycle. Some of the combinations people ask for are “different,” such as “superman with marshmallows.” She also said some customers have asked for an “every-flavor milkshake.” Ms. Teodoru added that recently she served a customer who requested every single topping on top of one large sundae. She put all of the sauces they offer along with a small amount of every topping on top.
At times they’ve received large orders, such as Ms. Teodoru’s mother, who ordered $150 worth of ice cream to serve 15 to 20 people. Both girls said this was by far the biggest order they had seen.
Ms. Teodoru said her favorite part of working at the Tuck Shop are the customers she serves. People are friendly and happy to be there, asking them questions about flavors and first-timers asking about the shop in general. Ms. Richards agreed, adding that they rarely have had a rude customer.
The Reporter ordered a wafer cone with dulce de leche, which Ms. Richards scooped perfectly and served with a smile. The ice cream was cool, creamy, with swirls of flavor wrapped in every scoop.
The Tuck Shop serves coffee, hot or iced, and there’s a menu of signature sundaes, each one named for a Shelter Island place — a favorite is the Mashomack S’mores Sundae.
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day during the summer, customers can now sit inside or outside.