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Mar 28, 2003 04:39 PM

Go to Be-Speckled Trout for shakes, candy, and antiques!

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A few months ago I noted a few rave reviews about Be-Speckled Trout at 422 Hudson at St. Luke's Place. I just went for the first time last night, and I encourage everyone to go--as posted before, the vanilla malted shake was delicious, mixed with not only a strong pellet-like malt from Wisconsin, but with a vanilla sauce homemade by the owner, Craig. He also kept slipping me all these samples of candy, including malt balls and something called 'Wisconsin fairy candy' which was a large-ish cube of a honeycomb-y, maltball candy covered in chocolate.

Craig is carrying on a soda fountain family tradition (his grandfather had one in Wisconsin, and he's installed a lot of his grandfather's original stained glass, etc.), and he seemed kind of disappointed he doesn't get much business. I was there at around 7pm and stayed for an hour and was the only customer.

There are all types of fountain treats available including root beer floats, egg creams, sundaes, and lime rickeys. Plus, there is a very large collection of interesting by-the-pound candy and homemade chocolates, and generally the atmosphere just rocks, with the spinning stools at the counter, hamilton beach mixer, and lovely details everywhere.

Be-Speckled Trout doubles as a general store, so one half of the shop has a bunch of antiques for sale, including a lot of fly fishing memorabilia, the owner's other hobby. There's even a drawer of small early 20th century toys from a burned down toy factory in Akron, Ohio.

If anyone writes for a publication this would be a great place to review. It's really eccentric and genuine, and the owner seems cool.

I urge you to go soon, who knows how long it'll be there...

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  1. yeah, I've seen the posts too - but THIS ONE KICKED MY ASS! GREAT write-up. I'm convinced - gonna make it a point check out next week... THANKS!

    1. it is a special place but I am concerned that those of us who have reported on the generosity on samples might be creating an unfair expectation to those who follow up on our recommendation. People should go and enjoy what is there without considering the possibility of free samples as the norm.


      5 Replies
      1. re: wrayb

        Everyone seems to love this place, so I decided to check it out on a weekday around lunchtime. Sorry, but I was disappointed. I ordered a chocolate malt and it tasted, well, like chocolate syrup. I was pretty disappointed. I've had better at chain restaurants like Johnny Rockets. Of course, the owner was not there and I got no free samples. So yes, don't expect free samples.

        Other items might be better. Also, the place really didn't have that soda fountain feel for me. It felt more like I was eating inside a store. The counter was really cramped and the lady behind the counter seemed too busy to really give a damn about the chocolate malt.

        I probably will not return. Just my experience and opinion.

        1. re: Gattaca

          yes, the lady in there is a little surly and does not make the fountain drinks with much enthusiasm, i'd suggest you poke your head inside and skip it if 'craig' is not in there. i also agree its precious and cutesy, but often there is some magic to be found in quirky places, see others like SHOPSINS or the newer ANTIQUE CAFE on 8th avenue in chelsea for more takes on this.

          last time i got a pretzel with my vanilla egg cream and even better had a nice chat, but that lady remained silent.

          1. re: mrnyc

            I agree--the problem is this woman, who was there when I stopped by and was EXTREMELY unfriendly and unaccomodating. I wish they'd list the soda fountain offerings somewhere (I ordered an ice cream cone, and she couldn't scoop the ice cream because it was too hard! somehow, this was made to sound like my fault) and the counter didn't look like a comfortable place to sit. The stores is wonderfully "done" however, with all kinds of neat stuff to look at. We got licorice and chocolate-covered raisins and they were great. I'd stop by again for candy on a nice day, but I don't see myself going back to sit at the counter.

          2. re: Gattaca

            I had a similar experience. The woman was in a hurry and the shake tasted more like a really cold and thin chocolate milk.

            Gem Spa is better.

            1. re: Hazel

              I urge you to try Bespeckled again - the owner,Craig,is a soda fountain MASTER...nobody in NYC will go further for pleasure and perfection...his authentic Egg Creams are pure nostalgic heaven...right down to the proper temp of the seltzer. If the owner has briefly stepped out mid-day he is almost always there eves 7 days.

        2. i went this morning at 8:45 to have a coffee and console a bawling friend. the grumpy old lady kicked us out at 9 am because she had to go to the bank...

          1. My understanding is that the Be-Speckled Trout closed some time ago almost a year ago. I've tried calling there but the phone number is no longer valid. A new place opened up on 125 Chambers Street (between W. Broadway and Church Streets). Its called the SODA SHOP and the woman who opened it up said that the guy who owned the Trout helped her open and even gave her some of the things from his shop.

            1 Reply
            1. re: billyboy

              You know, I was wondering if they were related--Soda Shop definitely has a similar look, and when I read about it in New York Magazine I thought I'd heard the name Craig before in relation to egg creams, etc...

            2. oh ok--the sign on the storefront proclaimed it 'candy store' and there seemed to be a lot of 'outdoorsy' memorabilia in the store. wonder who owns this place now?