New Treat Shop Adds Eastern European Flavors to a Dessert, Ice Cream Menu
The Beverly Hills resident and his family recently opened Splitz ‘N’ Blitz, which sells ice cream, custard, sodas, candy and a variety of desserts, on East Merrill in Birmingham. The shop is located in the space formerly occupied by Sweet Thing, a candy store, and is next door to the restaurant 220 Merrill.
JOHN "IVAN" ZARYCKYJ
Splitz ‘N Blitz also carries back-in-the-day candies like Chuckles and Boston Baked Beans (peanuts in a candy shell) and desserts like strawberry shortcake and a “fudge brownie delight.” There are also hot dogs and chili dogs; Zaryckyj plans to add to the hot food menu when the weather cools.
Zaryckyj, who grew up in southwest Detroit and graduated from Chadsey High School and Wayne State University — he is “straight from the hood” in his telling — traces his love of the treats business to a Dairy Queen on Michigan Avenue near his boyhood home, where he began working at age 11.
However, Zaryckyj had a number of different careers before Splitz ‘N Blitz, including asphalt and concrete paving (he started as a teenage “grunt” and later owned a small company), cellular tower construction and servicing, and a short stint with Dairy Queen’s corporate office.
Check Out This Week's Birmingham City News
The drive to work, to stay busy, is part of who he is, Zaryckyj said. “I was the kind that, on Saturday, I always showed up” for a paving job as a youth, while his peers might’ve been partying the night before or spending Saturday at the beach.
Zaryckyj’s wife, Natalia, an executive at an auto parts manufacturer, is his partner in Splitz ‘N Blitz and their children, daughters Tassia and Lesia and son John, help out there.
Zaryckyj planned for his shop off and on for years, scouting locations and making deals that later fell through. “We were just looking for the right spot,” he said.
The shop officially opened on July 21 and marked its first full day in business on a recent Tuesday. “Hopefully, before it ends up I’ll have multiple locations,” Zaryckyj said.
“We drive by all the time and we’re like, ‘Oh, we should go in,’ ” Stephanie Carroll said.
Splitz ‘N Blitz carries a small selection of toys, and Zaryckyj plans to add another product line that, along with ice cream, desserts and candy, will also appeal to kids: comic books.
“To me, it all falls together,” he said. “Everything kids like.”
Splitz ‘N Blitz, at 230 East Merrill, Birmingham, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
230 East Merrill