Christopher Aguiar, who plans to open an ice cream shop with a Mexican Flair, at Monday's Riverhead IDA meeting. Photo: Alek Lewis

Four would-to-be tenants for the ground floor space of Riverview Lofts presented their businesses to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, including a “selfie studio,” a Mexican restaurant, a new ice cream shop with a Mexican flair and a fitness studio.

The prospective tenants made their pitches and fielded questions from the IDA board of directors yesterday, ahead of a vote to accept the tenants by the board, which was delayed to a future meeting in order to clear up an outstanding legal question.

Jeannie Brady, the owner of American Muscle Studios on West Main Street, said she desires to move to a smaller space on East Main Street for the business for “a different composition.” The business provides personal training and pilates reformer, taught by herself and other trainers acting as independent contractors. She said the space will allow for better air conditioning in the summer months. She expects to fill the space by June.

Christopher Aguilar wants to start Paleteria Mexicandy, an ice cream shop he said will offer over 50 flavors, including some from Mexico “that we haven’t seen here.” The shop would also make fruit arrangements, smoothies and ice pops, all homemade and organic, he said. 

Aguilar said he works in construction, but has always enjoyed making snow cones for his friends and family. 

“I traveled to California and Nevada, Arizona, and this is where I saw this going on. So I decided it would be a hit. I brought it up here because it’d be the first of its kind, basically, in Long Island,” Aguilar said.

“I pretty much traveled to Mexico a couple times this year. I learned everything over there… All the equipment and the decoration will be exported from Mexico into here. It definitely won’t look anything like Snowflake and look more modern, more hip.” he said.

Aguilar said he expects the business to open in six months.

Alex and Dioniser Rodriguez want to start Long Island Selfie Studio in one of the spaces after visiting the Miami Selfie Museum in Florida. The business would have 25-30 rooms with different backdrops, props and lighting for people to take pictures. Patrons would pay per person for an hour in the space, the couple said.

Alex owns Quick Stop Deli on West Main Street and was previously a partner in a deli in Polish Town. Dioniser operates a home daycare business. She also has around 800,000 followers on the social media app TikTok.

The couple said that with all the tourists Riverhead is getting, and internet and social media “dominating the world right now,” they thought the business was a great idea. The business would appeal to younger members of the community and families, they said. 

“On the East End, there’s nothing like this where people just walk in and take pictures,” Alex said.

They said the space would also give up-and-coming photographers a place to take photos.

The husband and wife duo of Raúl de Jesús Dorado and Elizabeth Guevara are proposing a Mexican restaurant, Casa Dorado Deli Taqueria, to serve tacos, burritos and quesadillas using fresh ingredients. 

De Jesús Dorado was previously a partner in the De Jesus Deli Taqueria in Roanoke Plaza and Guevara worked in a restaurant, de Jesús Dorado said. He said the restaurant will focus on offering fast service, and do both takeout and sit-in dining in a family-friendly environment. He said the business would not sell alcohol. He said the business plans to be open in five to six months.

All the tenants of the property would be obligated to fulfill the requirements of their landlord, including an annual report outlining capital investments, payroll and the number of employees. The IDA, for purposes of a financial benefit agreement with Riverview Lofts developer Georgica Green Ventures, must consent to any tenants. 

Along with more than 12,000-square-feet of ground floor commercial space, the five-story Riverview Lofts, which is located on the corner of East Main Street and McDermott Avenue, also contains 116-units of workforce housing. The building currently houses one new business on the ground floor, Peconic County Brewery, located on the south end of the building facing the Peconic River, which opened February 2021.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]