By Seth Daniel
Richie’s Slush is a homegrown Everett treat that spread rapidly many years ago, but few outside of the city know that the slush grew out of a very popular grocery and sandwich shop on the Parkway.
Now, after many decades of having the food operation closed down, Rich Cardillo has purchased the shop from his sister, and plans to bring a bright and innovative food and slush shop to the long-time Parkway store.
“From this point on, I’m hoping sooner rather than later, I’m going to re-open the food store,” he said this week. “In January, I bought the store on the Parkway for $500,000 from my sister and I stripped it down to the studs and we’re doing everything new. We’re doing new gas lines, electrical and put in a full kitchen and we’re going to be open 12 months of the year. We’re going to bring back my father’s staple sandwiches with the cutlets and meatballs. We’re going to bring in some Spanish food with papusas and empanadas, and we’re going to introduce a new product called a respado. It’s like a Mexican snow cone, but it’s going to be a Richie’s Respado with fresh fruit and spices.
“The King is back,” he continued. “My father was the king of slush and I was the prince. When my father died, I became the king of slush and I’m back. That’s what we’re going to put on the wall.”
Cardillo said the company has a long history on the Parkway.
His father started the business in 1956, and he worked in there as a kid up until he was 20. Back then, it was as much a sandwich shop as a slush shop. At one point, his father set a slush cart outside and sold lemon slush.
“As I became a teen-ager, the slush took off and became the elephant of the business,” said Cardillo. “If became our main source of revenue. The groceries were eliminated and the sandwiches were upgraded.”
However, things changed when Cardillo was 19 and his father got sick. On July 2, 1983, Cardillo took over the operation, and it came so suddenly that he said he had to eliminate the food aspect and focus on the slush.
“That day I decided I could not handle the food and shut it down that night,” he said. “We haven’t served food in that store since 1983.”
Cardillo took the wholesale slush operation out of the store and relocated it down into the industrial area to the south. Then his sister and father began to run the little Parkway store in a retail venture while he handled the wholesale.
Now that has all come full circle, he said.
As the area changes, he said he wanted to respond and have a place for people in new apartments, hotels and at the casino to come to.
“This is definitely what the City of Everett is evolving into,” he said. “The Mayor is trying to clean things up a bit and change the look of things on the Parkway – like the tire stores and car dealerships…When the place is cleaned up more and bright and the casino is finished, people are going to want to get out and walk around. We want to be the kind of destination place they will come to when they’re out. We’re going to have all the old favorites with the slush and add the food and some new innovations too.”
Cardillo said he is motivated to add a diverse menu as the area is very dynamic with long time residents, and newcomers from the Caribbean and South America blending together with even newer professionals and Millennials that are moving in. A nod to the past, with a look to the future, he said, will hopefully be a recipe for success.
He said he hopes to open around Memorial Day, or shortly after in June.