Sully’s is going to have some competition this summer: Molly Moo’s opened for business on the day of the neighborhood’s big parade last month, again giving South Boston a real ice cream shop — and a new alternative to Sullivan’s, the beloved snack shop on Castle Island.
Molly Moo’s owner Mohamed Nahas watched the rapid transformation under way in Southie and knew he wanted to be part of it. The former shoe store owner opened Molly Moo’s near Wollaston Beach in Quincy three years ago, but sales were never strong enough to sustain the business much beyond summertime.
Nahas still makes his trademark ice cream cookie sandwiches and ice cream cake pops, as well as assorted baked treats. But he has expanded to menu to focus more on coffee, with a goal of turning Molly Moo’s into a year-round business. It’s the area’s first ice cream shop since the Boathouse closed several years ago.
Initially, Nahas had his eyes on a spot on East Broadway. But that deal fell through, and he ended up a few blocks away on L Street — still a busy location, but with much less walk-by traffic.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem. On one cold Sunday evening, he kept a brisk business going as neighbors lined up for the Red Barn coffee, rich servings of soft-serve, or one of nearly 30 flavors of Gifford’s ice cream. The tall glass windows that enclose his 1,000-square-foot shop offer a clear view of one of the fastest-changing sections in Boston’s fastest-changing neighborhood. A number of tired commercial properties along L — a gas station there, an auto body shop down the street — are being swept up in Southie’s high-end housing wave. And Nahas is well positioned to capitalize on that.
Right now, he often works as many as 16 hours each day, waking at 5 a.m. to get ready and closing down at night. But he’s not complaining.
“I never understood why you have these really cranky ice cream shop owners,” Nahas said. “I’m enjoying it. It’s always good when you’re providing people with something that makes them happy.”