The talk among folks in Emmaus over the past two weeks has been that ice cream could be replacing coffee on the Triangle. According Bill Kao, owner of , a restaurant and ice cream hot spot on the outskirts of Emmaus, the rumors are true.
Kao plans to open a second business location in downtown Emmaus at 332 Main Street, the storefront previously filled by the popular local coffee shop , which closed its doors for good on April 1, 2011. Kao expects to be up and running by June 1.
When Perk owner Jill Killo decided to shutdown the business, Kao recalls, she reached out to Kao since she was aware that he was researching retail space near the Triangle. Kao says he knew this was the opportunity he had been waiting for.
Kao’s goal is to offer a community gathering place like the Perk once offered. However, he said he is not trying to recreate the Perk.
“When Jill approached me about taking over her space, I was terrified. Perk is the place to be and be seen. Anyone taking over the space would have big shoes to fill,” Kao admitted.
Among the changes Kao envisions in making the Perk space his own, includes the addition of counter seating to the existing Perk layout. He believes it is important for his customers to be able to interact with the cooks and see where their food is being made.
Kao will be hiring additional staff for the downtown location, possibly 10 additional employees. In terms of décor, he says he hopes to continue the Penn State and Phillies theme seen at Countryside, and says he is open to accepting donations of PSU/Phillies paraphernalia to add to what he already has.
Now that the details are starting to fall into place, Kao says one of the big remaining questions about the new business remains, “What will the name be?” Although it’s still not definite, Kao says his first choice is the “Main St. Creamery.”
Kao believes an ice cream/café could be a good marriage both for his family and downtown Emmaus.
“We are trying to create our own legacy,” he says. “We hope the town will take us in.”
Kao will share more of his vision for his new downtown business on the Emmaus Patch tomorrow.