Neighborhood eyesore transforms into the sweetest spot in Wilmington!
When local business owners Mark Landis and Joseph Petroulis saw a run down, derelict building for sale on the corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets, they saw opportunity where others saw blight! As real estate investors, they were looking at the building as a multi unit rental. It was big and long and could house many apartments, or so they thought. As it turns out this property lost its commercial usage and could only house one family (not multiple families) because it sat unused for so long, a victim to the City of Wilmington’s ordinance on properties that sit vacant for over a year.
Like any good entrepreneurs worth their salt, they had a vision for something else on that corner… Joey O’s Ice Cream and Water Ice! The first step was to get the local people to support the business. Landis and Petroulis presented their plans to the local residents and the West Side Neighborhood Association and promised to run Joey O’s in a responsible way that would be uplifting to the people of the neighborhood. The next step was to go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and get a variance to operate a business at the location. Thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from the neighborhood and the Association the board granted the variance for Joey O’s to open as a food establishment, starting with a walk up window service like Rita’s Water Ice or the traditional custard stand.
Today the formerly run-down property is now an oasis of food and fun! A steady stream of customers arrive to pick from the 16 different flavors of Richman’s hand dipped ice cream, 18 flavors of Philadelphia style water ice or a smooth creamy soft serve ice cream cone. Others come to Joey O’s for their famous hot dogs, pizza, funnel cakes and other tasty treats on their menu. With plans to add new menu items like steaks and subs AND to open inside seating area later this year, you can be assured that there will be lots of great times at Joey O’s!
Feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive with many expressing appreciation, not just for the friendly service but also for the positive the impact the restaurant has had in the community.
Local resident named Courtney said, “I live up the hill on Harrison and when I saw this place I thought that this was the greatest idea for Wilmington Delaware, knowing we are filled with children who love sweets and are within walking distance.”. Many people just come and stare at the building in awe and say, “Wow, I can’t believe this is so nice! And it’s in my neighborhood!”
Other local residents are excited to hear that next year Joey O’s will have outside seating on the side lot next to their building. “It will give folks a nice place to sit down and relax to enjoy the many delicious items at Joey O’s.”, says Landis.
Joey O’s is open seven days a week and provides employment for around a dozen people. Visit www.JoeyOs.com to see their menu online and be sure to sign up for money-saving special offers and coupons. The restaurant is located at 1232 W. 4th St. in Wilmington.