It’s a weekday and people come dressed in business suits, in shorts, in paint-spattered work clothes. All want a sweet respite from the heat. A young man orders “cherry and whatever.” Lee laughs, “He’s always let me pick the whatever. I used to pick both flavors until he got hooked on cherry.” She hands him his sno cone. The next customer only has to specify what size he wants. Lee already knows the flavor. “We don’t always know people’s names, but we remember what they like.”
In business for 46 years, Aunt Stelle’s Sno Cone shop has always been a family-owned and operated business. When Stelle Williams retired, daughter Lee Albert and her husband Ed took over in the space that’s just two blocks from where she grew up. Their daughter Destiny worked there until she decided to teach physics at Bishop Lynch High School.
Shannon Wyatt has been coming to Aunt Stelle’s since he was a young boy. His favorite is the Pink Lady. “It’s the best,” he says, “I never get anything else.” Lee recommends people try the Pink Lady for the first time with their eyes closed. Though the color is red, the taste is of vanilla ice cream.
Ann Marie Ciofani says she always gets coconut and cinnamon, while her young charges Angel and Jade declare cherry and lemon-lime as their favorites, respectively. After a morning playing in the park, they were already in line before the 1 p.m. opening, and they sit under an elm tree to enjoy the icy goodness and watch each other’s tongues turn colors.
With 29 flavors to choose from, endless taste-bud-pleasing possibilities abound. Lee says the weirdest combination ever ordered was zoro, spearment and cinnamon. Yes, it’s zoro with only one r and spearment with two e’s – they’ve always played fast and loose with spelling here. An old photograph shows “kola,” while the current menu uses the more traditional c. Zoro tastes like licorice, and cinnamon brings to mind Red Hots candy.
While strawberry is the top seller, you might want to try something more exotic like tamarindo, sour apple, pina colada or bubble gum. Beatle tastes like SweeTarts and Rainbow is any three flavors, with lemon, lime and strawberry as the most requested combination. Lee and Ed buy the syrup extracts and then tweak them until they get the perfect flavor.
Aunt Stelle’s is at the corner of Marlborough and Clarendon and is open daily from 1 to 9 p.m. The season ends September 30. If you can’t hold on until they open again at the end of April, do what some regulars do. Grab several sno cones, take them home in a cooler and freeze them. When you’re complaining about the winter weather in January, you’ll have a tasty reminder that summer will soon be here.