Denny’s Ice Cream Shop has hit a rocky road.
Hurricane Sandy melted away any dreams of preserving the beloved Surf Avenue soft-serve spot famous for its rich, silky banana-pistachio swirl, according to Dick Zigun, the store’s owner and unofficial mayor of Coney Island.
“There’s no more Denny’s Ice Cream,” Zigun explained, saying that he couldn’t afford to replace the $50,000 in equipment damaged in the Oct. 29 storm surge. “We are out of the ice cream business.”
Zigun bought the frozen treat vendor that has been selling funnel cake and original ice cream flavors since 1978 a year ago with plans of converting most of the building into an extension of his Coney Island USA museum, which is right next door at the corner of W. 12th Street and Surf Avenue.
The Mermaid Parade founder said he soon realized that the ice cream shop came with a loyal customer base willing to continue forking over cash for its exotic trademark combo — fans that helped Zigun pay the mortgage on the property.
“People like the ice cream, and wanted to keep buying it,” said Zigun. “I’m as much of a fan of banana-pistachio ice cream as anybody else. I’m going to miss it.”
Zigun said he’ll push ahead with his original plans and is considering turning part of the space into an indoor paintball arena this summer.
He does plan to rent out the space — possibly to another ice cream vendor.
“Hopefully, there will be ice cream there someday, hopefully banana-pistachio twist,” said Zigun.
In the meantime, fans of the thick, luscious Coney Island ice cream flavor will have to trek to Williams Candy at the corner of Surf Avenue and Schweikerts Walk — which remains open and serving ice cream.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderma