One of Long Island’s longest-running confectionery shows has entered its third act. Following the death last year of its second owner, Patrick Quinn, Emile’s Candies has been taken over by Jackie and Michael Brown. Could there be a better surname for a chocolatier?
Emile’s was founded in 1953 by Emile Wageknecht, a German confectioner who had worked at New York City’s legendary Schrafft’s restaurant. Robert Wageknecht took over for his father and hired Patrick Quinn in 1980, when he was still in high school. In 1994, Quinn purchased the store.
Jackie Brown said she had been talking to Quinn about buying Emile’s before he died in April at the age of 52; with his family’s help, the sale was concluded late last year.
Brown had been buying candy at Emile’s since she was a child. “My mother grew up in Oceanside, and she had grown up at Emile’s,” she recalled. After graduating college, Brown worked in Manhattan for the Swiss-based luxury chocolatier Teuscher before embarking on a career in real estate sales. “In the back of my mind,” she said, “I always thought about buying that shop.”
Along with Schwartz Candies in Carle Place and Lazar’s Chocolate in Great Neck and Greenvale, Emile’s is one of the last of Long Island’s old-fashioned chocolate makers. (Itgen’s in Valley Stream, The Sweet Shop in Hicksville, Henry’s Confectionery in Glen Cove and Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen are among a handful of local ice cream parlors that also make chocolates.)
Brown intends to beef up Emile’s corporate sales and develop a website that can handle internet sales. There’s equipment that needs updating, floors and ceilings to replace. But that’s about the extent of the changes she envisions. “We bought the recipes and we’ve kept the cook.” Teodoro Bermudes has been in charge of making Emile’s creams, caramels, clusters, marshmallows, fudges and truffles for more than 12 years. Which makes him a relative newcomer next to veteran saleswomen Carol Chalavoutis (21 years) and Henrietta Cuomo (35 years).
“We’re keeping the candy, keeping the people, keeping the charm,” Brown said. “Why wouldn’t we?”
Emile's Candies, 229 Merrick Rd., Oceanside, 516-766-4402, emilescandy.net