Located on Girard Avenue, Marlei's Sweet Tooth is Philly's newest ice cream shop serving playful twists on signature flavors, making for a dessert experience that's far from boring.
Owner Jeriah Askew opened Marlei’s Sweet Tooth last July in honor of her now one–year–old daughter, Marlei. Her inspiration manifests itself fondly in the interior of the shop, with its bold teal and flamingo pink color scheme, whimsical illustrations of sundaes and popsicles, and high—top counters paired with brightly colored stools.
A swirl of sprinkles and plump flowers on the walls leads you down a flight of stairs to the Drizzle Lounge, a space dedicated for parties, celebrations, and special events. The decor encapsulates the look of a perfect childhood birthday party, giving an ambience that is charmingly nostalgic.
The ambience isn’t the only thing that’s sweet. Marlei’s offers 17 different ice cream flavors (three of them vegan), which can be mixed and matched to make your own decadent “dessert entrée.” Some of the many options include the Ice Cream Sammich, which comes with ice cream, fruit—stuffed waffles, drizzles of syrup, and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Candy fanatics can also go with the Marlei’s Sweet Tooth, a combination of four ice cream scoops in a sprinkle—rimmed mug, a cone, and a load of sweet treats.
We decided to start with the Nana Split: three scoops—we chose the Cotton Candy Cheesecake, Cookie Monster, and Chocolate Abundance—bananas, hot fudge, billows of soft whipped cream, and topped with seasonal berries.
The dessert creation came in a clear, boat—like container, so that we could see the striking blue hues of the Cotton Candy and Cookie Monster on each side of the scoop of deep Chocolate Abundance.
Although it was a sizeable portion, it didn’t take us long to be scooping up the last bits of ice cream a mere few minutes later. The dish was surprisingly refreshing—the combination of the fresh fruit and ice cream offered a balanced level of sweetness.
We then tried a classic double scoop on a less classic red velvet cone. Our ice cream flavor choices were the Strawberry Shortcake, a customer favorite, and the Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butta Baby made with oat milk. The Peanut Butta Baby was reminiscent of a rich peanut butter cookie, while not being cloying. The Strawberry Shortcake was phenomenal and gave a more creamy contrast to the smoothness of the Peanut Butta Baby flavor. The highlight, however, was the mix—ins. The Peanut Butta Baby was scattered with chocolate chips and cookie dough bites, and the Strawberry Shortcake was embedded with bits of cake. These additions were not only delicious on their own, but they added an interesting textural element to the ice cream scoops, making for a satisfying bite each time.
Jeriah was incredibly kind and attentive throughout the entire visit. When asked about her intention behind the menu items, she said her focus has always been about giving customers options, and sharing fun spins on traditional ice cream flavors—the kind that make kids ask, “Ooh, what’s that?”
Marlei’s Sweet Tooth is fun, it’s bold, and its unique dessert concoctions will make you want to come back for more.
TL;DR: Go to Marlei's Sweet Tooth for their whimsical and delicious dessert options.
Location: 433 West Girard Ave.
Hours: Closed Mondays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays