NORTH PROVIDENCE – At the site of the one-time Centredale Bakery, 2009 Smith St., Shane Piche is set to open his next village venture as he seeks to revive this once-vibrant stretch near North Providence Town Hall.
Piche says the new Stella Sweets, named after one of his daughters, will serve up ice cream and desserts in a classic and classy ice cream parlor setting. Penny candy and novelties will round out the experience.
After Stella Sweets, Piche plans to demolish the burned old Mazey’s Restaurant space next door at 2017 Smith St. and replace it with a two-story building with a new breakfast restaurant, Ava’s Place, on the lower level. Ava’s Place will be named after his other daughter.
Piche and business partner Jeff Merlino opened the Centredale Revival Co. restaurant at the old Winkleman and Finkelstein’s (Winks and Finks) general store, 2025 Smith St., a year ago. He has a long-term goal of helping bring Centredale back to the busy center of eating and commerce that it once was.
Owners of the Hopscotch Room Village have made similar efforts on the Mineral Spring Avenue portion of Centredale.
Piche also has plans to soon open a classic pizza place, Pie Republic, at 1985 Smith St., at the Centredale roundabout, bringing his total number of businesses in a space of 400 feet on Smith Street to four.
Masala Indian Cuisine previously operated in the space now occupied by Stella Sweets across from Town Hall.
Ultimately, in addition to making a living, says Piche, he wants to be able to walk down Smith St. with his family in his hometown and be filled with happiness about where he lives. If someone else took the ball and ran with it before him on this one-way stretch, he told The North Providence Breeze, he wouldn’t have to.
Stella Sweets will have six marble-topped tables in its dining room, which opens onto the street with a large open window, as well as vintage decor and a storefront meant to inspire memories of yesteryear. Piche said he’s planning a grab-and-go case similar to Starbucks that will also have an enclosed case with more treats above it. Yacht Club sodas will be among the items sold at the shop.
The kitchen at Stella Sweets will be used to provide the current dessert menu at Centredale Revival, said Piche, from bread puddings to cheesecakes. He noted how Centredale Revival won “Best of Rhode Island” awards from readers of R.I. Monthly, including best new restaurant in the Blackstone Valley and best new restaurant statewide.
Piche said he sees Stella Sweets as the perfect spot for a parent to bring their child on a date. He said he still sees this area as a potential rival to Pawtuxet Village, only better due to how easy it is to get to. If and when traffic is changed to a two-way pattern and bus stops are moved off the main strip, he said the situation will get even better.
Piche, a member of the town’s Planning Board, says he’s constantly advocating with town officials to spruce up the area, and there was significant progress on that front last week as workers beautified the area for the upcoming Centredale Village Festival. He said he would love to see the hanging flower baskets seen on Broad Street from Pawtucket to Cumberland return to Smith Street.