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Marleny Espinoza holding Victoria’s Helados most popular dessert, Mangonadas.(Photo credit: Melissa Azofeifa)

When Riverhead’s Cristobal Espinoza — a painter — was without a job last year, he wasn’t sure what to do until his 11-year-old daughter, Victoria, suggested he start making granizadas, or homemade shaved ices with fresh fruit syrups.

Last Saturday, Mr. Espinoza and his family opened Victoria’s Helado — named after his daughter — at 37 East Main Street in Riverhead. The location was previously the home of frozen yogurt shop, Sweet Tart, which closed earlier this year after eight years in business.

“I still don’t believe everything we’re living and achieved,” Mr. Espinoza said. “It’s a gift from God.”

The shop offers frozen yogurt with a variety of toppings, as well as acai bowls, smoothies and coffee. Other traditional Latin-American desserts, including mangonadas — mango flavored slushies with chili powder and salt — fresas con crema, aka strawberries and cream, as well as fresh fruit salads are also available. The store is currently open seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m.

Mr. Espinoza, his wife Marleny, their 19-year-old son, Henry, and Victoria help run the store. 

“It’s a joy and a blessing to be able to work with my family,” Mr. Espinoza said.

Marleny and Cristobal Espinoza, owners of Victoria’s Helados downtown Riverhead’s new frozen dessert shop. (Photo credit: Melissa Azofeifa)

The family plans to expand the menu to include other popular Latin American street foods like churros and elotes locos— corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise, spices and cheese — as well as Guatemalan coffee. They also want to offer healthy natural juices and shakes in the future. 

Once the weather warms up, the family also plans to open a seating area outside, Ms. Espinoza said.

Mr. and Ms. Espinoza are natives of Guatemala and have lived in the United States for just under two decades. They have been residents of Riverhead for about 18 years. They started the business by selling desserts to friends out of their home.

The family hopes to provide a welcoming space for the whole community to escape the stress of the outside world or their daily routines — and enjoy some desserts.

“We are so happy with the community, both Hispanic and American,” Ms. Espinoza said. “The Riverhead community has embraced us in a beautiful way.”

They hope that their story will serve as an example to other families chasing “the American dream,” and motivate them to start their own small businesses as well.

“Everything is possible,” Ms.Espinoza said. 

Victoria’s Helado is located at 37 East Main Street in Riverhead.