Photo at left: Brittany Moreno, left, a pastry chef and MOMU co-owner, and Jocelyn Rivera, the new shop’s general manager, making ice cream, which along with cones and toppings, is made fresh daily at the Riverside Avenue business. At right: Unique ice cream flavors like honey and lavender-marshmallow are among the wide range on offer. / Photos by Gary Webster
Photo at left: Daniel Moreno and wife Brittany, owners of Kneads Bakery and Café on Riverside Avenue, formed MMM Hospitality group with Christian and Emily Muñoz, to open MOMU ice cream shop. At right: Modeling MOMU merchandise, including tee-shirts and hats, is Jasmine Hernandez.

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Have a hankering for lavender-marshmallow ice cream? How about elderberry rhubarb? Or do more traditional flavors like cookies-and-cream, hazelnut or s’mores appeal to your taste?

All of those flavors — and more — are available at MOMU ice cream shop, which opened Saturday at 575 Riverside Ave., the former site of Saugatuck Sweets.

MOMU’s ice cream, cones and toppings are crafted fresh on the premises every day, using as many ingredients as possible from places like the Westport Farmers Market and other local producers.

Welcoming customers to MOMU during the shop’s  “soft” opening Friday was co-owner Emily Muñoz, left.

The new ice cream shop is the venture of four very experienced restaurant professionals called MMM Hospitality, comprising Daniel Moreno and his wife Brittany, who also own Kneads Bakery and Café across the street from the ice cream shop, and Emily and Christian Muñoz. 

The two couples met at the Michelin star restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, N.Y., where they all worked. They have combined experience of more than 40 years in the restaurant business, Emily Muñoz said Friday, the day before the grand opening of their new ice cream business.

“We have ice cream menus for each season,” she said. “We allow the seasons to dictate the flavors … and what we find shopping from local farmers.”

The logo for MOMU, the ice cream shop that the MMM Hospitality Group plans to open at 575 Riverside Ave. in the spring.

That’s why the shop is featuring rhubarb ice cream now, and the owners look forward to creating new flavors with the arrival of spring and summer weather, along with classic ice cream flavors.

“We take a chef’s approach to ice cream,” said Daniel Moreno, a chef.

The Morenos opened Kneads in 2020 in a part of Saugatuck where some people said it would be hard to succeed because of a lack of parking and other factors, Moreno said. 

But the bakery has proved successful and he expects MOMU ice cream to do just as well. The busy spot alongside the river gets railroad station traffic passing through, and should appeal to patrons of The Whelk restaurant next door looking for ice cream after dinner and sweets-seeking kayak renters at Sea Kayak Connecticut, on the other side of MOMU.

The MMM Hospitality Group also recently signed a lease for a restaurant in Darien, Moreno said.  

The two couples working collectively benefits all the businesses they own, together or independently. Cookies made at Kneads are used in MOMU’s cookies-and-cream, for example, and there is even an ice cream flavor featuring Kneads bread, Emily Muñoz said. They have also designed a line of merchandise, including MOMU tee-shirts and hats. 

MOMU’s owners are excited about their new ice cream shop, and look forward to creating new flavors and welcoming new customers to enjoy the range of specialties on offer.

“If you make a good product, people will come,” Daniel Moreno said.

MOMU is open every day from noon to 10 p.m. Phone: 203-293-4717.

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Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman and has taught journalism at New York and Southern Connecticut State universities.