Eating ice cream isn’t just a summer season highlight; it’s practically a birthright. If you’re a ninth-generation, lifelong East Hampton resident like Tom Cooper, you’re not too far from that.
The Sweet Spot — specializing in pull-your-own soft serve — opened this Memorial Day weekend offering cool confections sure to please kids and adults alike. Whether you keep it classic with a good ol’ vanilla soft serve or venture for a cup full of cotton candy and bubblegum flavors, scooped sky high and loaded with every topping under the sun, the result is guaranteed to be the same: sheer, unadulterated joy.
For Hamptons residents, young and old, The Sweet Spot, located at 106 Newtown Lane, is the newest ice cream and frozen yogurt joint to grace the ever-bustling scene in downtown East Hampton, filling the void left by Scoop du Jour in 2020.
After purchasing the building, which had housed a dry-cleaning business for decades, Cooper has since erected a brand-new two-story structure on the property where his new mom-and-pop-style business will inhabit the first floor. Initially, his purchase was intended to provide housing for local teachers and coaches, a feat he was successful in accomplishing, as the second floor of Cooper’s building is designated for apartments.
“We bought the building four years ago,” he says. The owner and his wife, Maureen, are the parents of two multi-sports athletes: one son is a current student at East Hampton High School, the other is a graduate. Due to this closeness to the school activities, Cooper’s vantage point offered a front-row view of the burgeoning housing crisis on the East End. It’s not a secret the hamlet’s Main Street appearance has changed drastically over the last couple of decades. Gone are the little business like the Stride Right shoe store that once sold generations of kids their first Buster Browns; enter the glitzy, global brands like Prada.
“We saw the need for housing for our teachers and coaches, yes, but we also felt the need to try this whole new adventure out,” says Cooper. “There aren’t a lot of mom-and-pops left in this town. We want to try to bring that vibe back.”
A Family Affair
For more than two decades, the East Hampton resident has helmed Cooper Construction, working on nearly every aspect of renovation, new construction and remodeling of residences across the South Fork.
He’s excited for The Sweet Spot’s location, noting its close proximity to all three schools within the village, making it an easy, walkable destination for kids and teens, but without getting into the thick of the hectic downtown business district.
“A family place is what we wanted,” Cooper says. “And we wanted it to be easy for kids to come in. There were always candy shops growing up here,” he says of his beloved hometown. “We just really saw the need for creating a place where people could have fun and to have easy access to it.”
Set up as a self-serve operation, The Sweet Spot is open every day beginning at 11 a.m. Consistently serving at least 10 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt daily, plus two to three non-dairy sorbets, all dispensed out of five newly installed machines, expect flavors like cake batter, cookies and cream, mint, vanilla, peanut butter, cappuccino, strawberry, Dutch chocolate and sea-salted caramel pretzel. As for non-dairy options, they’re always offering lemon and pineapple.
Cooper and his team also do milkshakes, with nitro cold brew coffee on tap from local java haunt Jack’s. Dozens of different types of candy and chocolates are available — offered in both bulk and smaller pre-packaged formats — plus homemade chocolate chip and M&M cookies. Hand-made donut holes, baked onsite and dubbed “the spots,” will round out Cooper’s sweet menu, with folks able to spruce them up with different sauces, like traditional chocolate sauce and warm caramel, and whipped cream as well as candy and fresh fruit toppings.
As far as prices are concerned, since it’s a build-your-own bowl of ice cream situation the cost is based on the weight. According to Cooper, prices start at around $8 for the fro-yo, ice cream and spots bowls, while milkshakes and cold brew coffee drinks clock in at below that $10 range as well.
Upon entering The Sweet Spot, patrons are greeted by a large white table in the center of the room, stocked with a rainbow of packaged candies, like black and red licorice, fruit leather, sour watermelon rounds and gumballs. Straight back are the soft-serve machines complete with a wall dedicated to scoopable bulk candy and chocolate. Multi-colored lights shaped like ice cream cones illuminate the ceiling. To the left, a wall of windows looks out onto the street, adorned with a long counter set with sunny yellow and sky blue metal stools, perfect for people-watching while slurping down soft serve.
If that isn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, to the right is the subway tile-clad counter, where one can find a dozen or so additional topping options like crushed-up Oreos and fresh pineapple chunks to add to your fro-yo, milkshakes and cold brew coffee drinks. (Hey, like the kids say: You do you.)
“We’re going for two things here,” Cooper says of his new Sweet Spot. “We’re going to be really clean,” noting him and his team’s dedication to efficiency and quality, “and we’re going to have fun.”
In his ice cream dream, The Sweet Spot will naturally become a fun and lively meeting place for the whole community, with more to come in the future, like live music and other interesting and unique entertainment year-round.
“It’s exciting,” Cooper says. “I want this to be a welcoming place for all the people that live here and for all the people that visit here. If locals can enjoy the space, then the summer community will follow.”