Alexander Avenue celebrates the long-awaited grand opening of Playa Gelato

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Malabi gelato with limited-time, color-changing spoons at Playa Gelato.
Photo ET Rodriguez

And Ceetay sushi restaurant celebrates 10 years in the South Bronx

“Eat, drink and be more than merry,” said DJ Menyu as he spun dance favorites on Alexander Avenue Saturday afternoon. People of all ages were out as Playa Gelato and Ceetay provided free food, free booze for adults and free gelato to the first 50 guests, with unlimited samples. There was a giant inflatable unicorn, a man-made beach and a kiddie pool complete with mini beach balls, plenty of seating and smiles abound.

The owner of Playa Gelato, Juan Vargas, a Puerto Rico native who resides in the South Bronx, has been wanting to open the cold-treat establishment since 2019 and when he was finally ready, COVID-19 struck and shuttered his plans.

But finally, on June 19, Playa Gelato was able to make its debut at 124 Alexander Ave., and on July 23, it celebrated its grand opening.

“I felt like the neighborhood needed something sweet,” said Vargas, who added about the name Playa Gelato, “[the beach] is something that people gravitate to — it’s festive, it’s tranquil, it’s whatever you want to make it.”

Playa Gelato has a rotation of 100 different flavors, serving 24 at a time. From your classic chocolate to your more adventurous Malabi, which consists of coconut gelato with rosewater and pistachios – a personal favorite.

“It reminds me of my childhood,” said Myriam Vidal of growing up in Mexico. “There was a candy I used to eat when I was a kid and it tastes juts like it.”

But all the flavors are magically delicious.

James Beaubrun told the Bronx Times that after indulging on the vegan coconut gelato while sitting in a lounge chair and eating the frosty goodness on a hot summer day, “I might run this one back.”

A dog enjoys Playa Gelato’s dog-friendly Woof-lato. Photo ET Rodriguez

Each serving of gelato comes complete with a teeny-tiny ice cream sugar cone on top and for the day, every purchase received a temperature sensitive color-changing spoon. They even offer a Woof-lato: a dog friendly dessert, which a cute little dachshund was licking away at in front of the shop.

At the same time, Ceetay, the first sushi restaurant in the South Bronx, which operates right across the street, was celebrating their 10-year anniversary.

For the occasion, they held a presser with SWAG bags; free sake, sparkling and white wine; and a never-ending supply of sushi. They had all different kinds of rolls available as well as their exclusive, brand-new sushi sandwich — the new menu item is delectable. It looks like a cucumber sandwich, and one eats it just as fancily: with a pinky up. The “bread” is made of sushi rice and the interior is avocado, spicy tuna and eel sauce. The whole thing is sandwiched between the thinnest pieces of green or pink soybean paper. And while this writer normally dislikes spring rolls due to their oiliness and wrapper-to-filling ratio, the ones at Ceetay are a winner.

Ceetay’s exclusive sushi sandwich, California roll and spring roll. Photo ET Rodriguez

“I told (the owner), ‘you need something new,’” said Tiffany Loria, owner and founder of NYC Food Photo.

Loria was on-hand handling press and has been marketing for the restaurant since day one. The new menu item did not disappoint and was such a fun change from the normal sushi offerings.

“The community has embraced us from the beginning,” said Ceetay owner, Amir Chayon. And judging by the turn-out and happy faces, they still do.

Reach ET Rodriguez at elbatamarar@gmail.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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