Irene Manzaire is surrounded by her staff, Butch McDaniels, left, Alan Ogren, right, and Sarah Paamarelli, as a cream cheese from MyChew frozen desserts is dropped into an ice cream machine in the market on Wednesday. She said the ice cream scooping machines are failing, causing a cream cheese shortage that has rippled through her entire neighborhood.
Imagine sitting down to your favorite slice of meat pie, and wondering if your famous cheese dipping sauce might be sold out for the day.
That’s what Irene Manzaire’s neighbors are feeling after a truck carrying pallets of butter, cheese and cream showed up at her shop on Summer Street and caused the store to close, preventing customers from piling in to sample her popular cream cheese cheesecake.
The New York City dessert chain employs 20 people, including several who bake the cream cheese and brown sugar-coated treats with Manzaire’s help.
And while Manzaire was hurt by the empty shelves in the shop – she’s locked in a competitive market – she wasn’t complaining about the butter shortages.
“I’m more upset about losing sales and customers than I am losing cream cheese,” she said.
“People are upset about the cream cheese shortage,” Manzaire’s longtime customer, Jason Ebenthal, said after getting a taste.
He was leading a tour of the shop with his wife and mother.
Hanaya Eggimacoy, who is visiting New York from Chicago, said she had heard about Manzaire’s store closing, and worried that the NoLIta shop would be the end of NoLIta as she knew it.
“I’m from Chicago and when they stop selling Chicago in New York City we need to get something local,” she said.
Eggimacoy was not only a customer of Manzaire’s, but a chief cook at the House of Daring in Chicago. The government put a stop to that store in 2008 due to illegal immigration, she said.
“I was bummed about that,” Eggimacoy said.
She got over the loss and started shopping at Manzaire’s New York location when her trip to the city last weekend was posted on social media.
Eggimacoy praised Manzaire for how much she plays a part in her life.
“She was a big part of my adolescence, and I’m glad that we were able to say goodbye,” she said.
Although Manzaire had a note on the store’s door this week warning customers of the cream cheese shortage, the lines outside on Wednesday stayed busy throughout the day.
Manzaire said she’s not worried about the effect the shortages have on her business.
“It’s been hard enough,” she said. “There’s been so much going on in the world, I think people are trying to keep things as simple as possible.”