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Ralph’s Ices to offer new tastes on Bell Blvd.

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Summertime on Bell Boulevard is about to get a whole lot tastier.

This week marks the grand opening of Bayside’s first Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices franchise, a chain well known for its bevy of unusual flavors of gourmet ices. The store will host a grand opening which includes free samples Friday.

The Bayside Ralph’s, on 41st Avenue between Bell Boulevard and 214th Place, will feature more than 80 flavors, owner Sandy Blane said, everything from the traditional lemon to bubble gum, cotton candy, cookies ‘n’ creme and peanut butter. The Bayside shop will be only the second Ralph’s franchise in Queens.

“We’ll have almost every flavor every day,” said Blane, 23, of Port Washington, L.I. “A whole family could come and get dessert for $7 or $8.”

Ralph’s, a Staten Island-based chain which began serving its ices in 1928, already has a popular location in Floral Park. Blane, who managed a Ralph’s franchise in Port Washington for two years before venturing out to Bayside, said he has been looking forward to starting up the business.

“It’s just fun,” he said. “It’s great dealing with the families and the kids.”

The store, which features a bright blue awning, will have two walk-up windows for customers to order either traditional water-based ices or creme-based ices, Blane said.

“It’s not your traditional ice cream,” he said.

The ices are different than ice cream, Blane said, because they are lighter and have fewer calories and less fat. Sugar-free varieties are also available.

The shop was scheduled to be open from noon to midnight between April and October, Blane said. In addition to ices, the Bayside Ralph’s will serve its own line of drinks, such as cappuccino and lattes, he said.

Bayside is considered an ideal location for a Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices shop, Blane said, because of a number of different factors.

Blane hopes to take advantage of pedestrian traffic from the community’s bars and restaurants as well as local families and those who come to the neighborhood for the nearby Long Island Rail Road stop.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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