Claremont business gives customers real taste of snow
As Claremont descends into summer, a new dessert shop is offering a refreshingly unique way to beat the heat.
Snow Station, located at the site of the former Pie Street at 1 N. Indian Hill Blvd., has opened just as temperatures begin to rise. The shop isn’t your run-of-the-mill ice cream joint, according to Ray Malik, who owns the shop with business partner Syed Rizvi.
“It’s not close to anything that we have here,” Mr. Malik, who also owned Pie Street, said. “It’s not yogurt, it’s not ice cream and it’s not Hawaiian shaved ice. It’s a whole new concept.”
It is “shaved snow,” a light and fluffy concoction that looks and feels like actual fallen snow. Mr. Malik touts it as a healthier, low-calorie and more vegan-friendly alternative to the usual cold dessert fare.
“We have about eight flavors that are 100 percent vegan,” Mr. Malik said.
All flavors, from green apple to horchata, range from 53 to 142 calories at the smallest size.
“You don’t feel guilty after eating our dessert,” Mr. Malik said. “You don’t have that guilt in you, like ‘Oh my god, what have I done.’”
The cups come in three different sizes: mini, baby and hungry. Plates are also available for dine-in only, and include such classics as banana split and strawberry shortcake.
Some of the specialty concoctions, Mr. Malik noted, come from ideas brought forth by regular Snow Station customers, including “Brandon’s Breakfast,” which is topped with fruity pebbles, granola and bananas, and “Choc-O-Razz,” which is an eye-popping blend of chocolate and raspberry snow.
The Snow Station concept started in 2012, with the first location opening in Orange County. The Claremont location, Mr. Malik notes, is the first Snow Station in the Inland Valley.
The product is kept in unbelievably frigid temperatures, as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to keep its snowy texture. The freezers have two layers of doors to keep the cold from escaping.
“It’s like the glaciers in Alaska,” Mr. Malik said.
From there, the snow is placed in special shaving machines from Japan that quickly sprinkles the snow into the waiting cup. Next come the toppings, which include gummy worms, Oreos and chocolate chips.
If the customer is wanting a little more flavor in their cup, drizzles such as white chocolate, caramel and strawberry are also available to top things off. The result is a light, creamy and fluffy creation that is easy to eat without the residual guilt. “It melts in your mouth,” Mr. Malik said.
Mr. Malik said he abandoned the concept of Pie Street after sales weren’t up to what he initially envisioned.
“Business ethics say, if after the first six months you don’t see a forward progress, you better take your losses now than wait to take bigger losses later,” he said.
Mr. Malik also owns Tikka, a fast-casual Indian restaurant next door. With the opening of Snow Station, Mr. Malik essentially has all based covered—lunch or dinner at Tikka and a mini cup from Snow Station for dessert.
“This concept is new and more refreshing, and a new idea always works better, compared to an old idea with a new twist,” Mr. Malik said. “So we decided it was better for us to update ourselves and get people familiarized with this concept.”
Mr. Malik acknowledged that the location could be considered difficult to reach by some. To that end, he recommends parking on Santa Fe Street, just below the railroad tracks, for better access to his shop.
It’s safe to say Snow Station is a winning concept. According to Mr. Malik, their grand opening weekend on April 2 and April 3 netted 1,700 people—900 on the first day and 800 on the second day. Some flavors, like horchata, did better than Mr. Malik expected and quickly sold out.
Mr. Malik, who also owns a Snow Station location in Mission Viejo, plans to break into the LA market, and ahs preliminary plans to open locations in Downtown LA, Westwood and Calabasas already in the works.
Even when temperatures begin to cool and the seasons change, Mr. Malik is confident Snow Station will make a lasting impression in Claremont.
“This is more a summer product than anything else,” he said. “But obviously, anyone with a sweet tooth doesn’t care about the weather.”
Snow Station is located at 1 Indian Hill Blvd., Unit 105 in Claremont. Call them at (909) 962-8090 or visit their website at www.snow-station.com.