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Ryemarkable Christine Vita Santorelli

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Many of us know you are the owner of Longford's, but what is your background?

I grew up in Port Chester, NY, and started scooping ice cream in 1994. The Rye location of Longford’s opened in 1995 while I was a student at Rye Country Day School, where I graduated from in 1996. I became manager of the Rye location in 1996 while I simultaneously attended Manhattanville College as a Marketing major. On September 15th of 1999, I purchased the store! By 2003, I had bought and was running the second location of Longford’s in Larchmont until 2008. I reopened the Larchmont location from 2018 through 2021.

When I wasn’t at Longford’s, I was also a figure skating instructor in the community. I taught at Rye Playland, Hommocks, Westchester skating academy, and Boys and Girls club in Greenwich, Connecticut.

What do you love most about what you do?

What I love the most about what I do is connecting with the community, families and kids. Ice cream brings joy and comfort to everyone, so I love being able to connect with all the different people that come through our door every day! It’s a fun and exciting atmosphere between the staff and the customers, and I love being a part of it! And being able to be that spot for people to come enjoy family, friends, and great ice cream!

Operating a small seasonal business in Westchester Country has its own pros and cons. It’s definitely expensive! But we serve a super premium product. The demand is incredibly high all throughout the year, so it's a lot of long hours for both me and my staff. There’s a lot to juggle between competition, keeping up with trends and social media, and just overall high demand all the time - but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

What's the biggest challenge you face?

Besides working through the Covid-19 pandemic, I would say the biggest challenge is finding balance between business and family. Frankie and I have two children (Luciana, 7 and Dante, 4). Being a mom, wife, and business owner are all super time consuming roles on their own - nevertheless doing all 3 at once! It’s definitely a lot to juggle but it’s all stuff I’m lucky to be able to do!

What's the biggest thing that surprises you?

How much I get done in a day!

In what ways do you give back to the community?

Longford’s sponsors a ton of local events, programs, sport teams and activities, so there's a lot of wheels turning at all times!

If you could have had an alternative career, what would it have been?

I would’ve otherwise been interested in selling real estate!

Today is Valentine's Day! Would you share how you met your husband?

I met Frankie at Al Dente in the Fall of 2010. He was always just the cute guy who ran the pizzeria across the street, but I never expected we’d end up married one day! It really is a fairy-tale love story, like something straight out of a rom-com. Pizza shop boy and ice cream scooping girl-next-door fall in love… the rest is history!

We got engaged in December of 2013 and married on December 6th, 2014. We had to choose this date as we couldn’t get married during peak ice cream season! It turned out to be 60 degrees the day of the wedding and pouring rain! But as they always say, a soggy knot is harder to untie!

This all would never have happened if our businesses weren’t right across the street from each other! It was definitely fate.

Frankie is from Yonkers and graduated from Iona Prep in 1998. He became the owner of Al Dente Pizzeria in 2009, but was also part of the food industry previously so was very familiar with the hustle and the dedication that it took. His brother owns Tredici North in Purchase as well as Tredici Social in Bronxville - so the family has a great history of being some of the best Italian-cuisine in Westchester County!

Al Dente is a full service restaurant and offers take out and delivery (online ordering available). You can pair up with Longford's Ice cream and we'll cater your next special occasion or corporate event. Some of my personal favorites from Al Dente are the Chicken scarpariello, a buffalo chicken slice, or anything with vodka sauce on it! The grandma pie with chicken is also so delicious.

So RYE-mantic! Tell us about your wedding!

Our wedding was at the Marina del Rey in Bronx, NY, with about 300 guests (24 of them were Frankie’s groomsmen!!) I like attention, the bigger the better. Frankie’s the opposite. Our wedding is definitely one of my favorite days together/one of the best days of my life. One word: AWESOME. Frankie would agree. I planned every. single. detail. - besides the food. That was Frankie’s one job:) Everyone had such a great time - and LOVED the food:).

At our wedding, Frankie’s best man speech: "Raise your glasses, “Who doesn’t love pizza and ice cream!”

What is your life like now?

Frankie and I both come from large families. We are used to loudness, chaos, family dinners, and traveling with a minimum of 20 people. We try to travel twice a year and Aruba is by far our FAVORITE spot!! In May we usually go with a minimum of 40 family members. We always try to go again at the end of the summer with family and friends.

What's it like working across the street from each other?

We’re super lucky to be able to work so close to each other. It was, and always will be, very important to us to build different relationships with the same customers, which is something not many couples get to experience! Our customers truly feel like an extension of our family and we are so grateful for each and everyone of them. They’ve been there from the start and have seen our businesses, our relationship and our FAMILY grow over the past 10 years, and we are so blessed to have the best customers in the world!

It’s also fun to be in the same industry as each other/be able to partner with each other on different things. Beyond how it benefits our businesses, it’s also just really nice to have someone who understands what running a business in the food industry, never mind in the same town, never mind on the same STREET, with the same clientele is like. We really have built a great community on Purchase street and beyond. At the end of long days we like to tease each other about who had a busier day in sales - pizza and ice cream on them!

Do have any funny memories together?

  1. Frankie is more of a private person. When we first started dating, if anyone in the pizzeria asked him about us dating, he’d tell them he was my twin brother to avoid the conversation!!

  2. He brought me over a pizza to try and woo me. Unfortunately, it was a Nutella pizza, and I’m completely allergic to nuts!!

  3. Another funny tidbit: Our wedding favors were ice cream scoopers and pizza cutters!

Do you guys eat pizza & ice cream all of the time?

We do not eat pizza and ice cream all the time - but definitely love to indulge every now and then! The kids eat it more than we do.

What are some fun facts about your family?

  • Before kids our go to date night was the movies. We love going out to dinner, mini vacations, and spending time with friends!

  • We have introduced our kids to skating and skiing this year

  • Frankie loves watching new series, he’s a huge Walking Dead fan. I, on the other hand, can watch Friends over and over and still laugh every single time.

  • I am at the store 7 days a week unless I'm on vacation before I had kids and now with kids! My kids are involved in sports, dance, skating, swim etc.

Overall, life together with 2 businesses and 2 young kids can be best described in one word; chaotic! But we both wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re very blessed and have nothing but love for each other, our kids, and our businesses. Come by and get a heart shaped pizza and cake for Valentine’s day!!

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