The much-needed soft serve addition to the area opened on May 28 on the ever-bustling 30th Avenue, offering customers $2 cones in honor of their grand opening, which was met with lines that went down the block, according to Marvel’s marketing manager, Gabrielle Gonzalez.
“We had a stronger than expected turnout,” Gonzalez said. “We had a super long line down the block — I thought I saw at least 50 people in line waiting. I know that the whole day was busy and never really slowed down, so it was quite well received by the neighborhood and even a couple days after that, we also had quite long lines as well, which was exciting.”
Marvel seems to have already made quite the impression on residents since it opened and, given the soft serve shop’s history as a staple in Long Island, it’s not surprising.
The first Marvel Frozen Dairy made its debut in 1951 in Lido Beach on Lido Boulevard under the Papageorge family as a custard shop. In 1986, the Kastafouros family bought the store and expanded the menu by adding more soft serve flavors and other frozen treats to the menu.
Most recently, John Fragioudakis bought the shop in 2013 and expanded with a second shop that opened on the boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island, in the summer of 2020.
Fragioudakis’ brother-in-law, who is the owner of The Grand, originally owned the space where Marvel is currently. It used to be an event space for the restaurant before Marvel acquired the location.
With a long tradition in Greek families owning Marvel and the recent expansion of their vegan flavors, it seemed only fitting to expand to Astoria.
“We’re very much a family-owned business and it just worked out that we were able to use that space for our store and I know Astoria well from his restaurant so we’re really excited to open there,” Gonzalez said.
The soft serve spot has quite a variety of flavors from classics like chocolate and vanilla, strawberry, pistachio, peanut butter, dulce de leche, coffee, chocolate mint and frozen yogurt flavors in peanut butter and banana. Customers can even get a swirl when two flavors are in the same machine.
As far as vegan options, flavors such as birthday cake, mango, raspberry and a mango and birthday cake twist are available.
Marvel also makes cakes for special events and has frozen treats like chipwiches, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and slushies.
Overall, Marvel hopes to bring more than just delicious treats to the neighborhood and become another family favorite in the area like their other shops.
“We hope to make Marvel a staple in the lively Astoria neighborhood as we have done so for the past 71 years in Long Beach,” Fragioudakis said. “By serving our delicious, soft-serve ice cream and frozen treats, we aim to bring joy and provide a community gathering space.”