Tapeh’s Water Ice brings a tasty east coast treat to Algiers

Water ice is a tasty dessert that’s big in the east, especially in Philadelphia. The finely granulated concoction is blended with flavor throughout and scoops and eats like ice cream. It melts slowly and makes for the perfect treat on a hot day.

by Marielle Songy
September 2, 2020

We all know that New Orleans is a snoball town. When it comes to a sweet, cold treat, a good New Orleans snoball can’t be beat. While that might be true, Tapeh’s Water Ice, in Algiers, is hoping to add another type of sugary cool-down to New Orleans’ culture.

Tapeh’s Water Ice, located at 1624 Newton St. in Algiers, is owned by former NFL player, Thomas Tapeh and economic developer, Derrick Martin.

Tapeh is originally from Monrovia, Liberia and grew up in Minnesota. He played for the Eagles and later the Vikings, before retiring in 2008. In 2012, Martin moved from Phoenix to New Orleans to work as an economic developer for the Landrieu administration.

Martin, the lead economic developer in Algiers, knew the needs of the community and that a business that provided jobs and affordable snacks would do well there. Tapeh and Martin met, by happenstance, at the airport, where Tapeh was going to care for his mother, who was fighting cancer, and Martin was heading to care for his mother, who was having heart surgery.

The two decided to collaborate and open a business that would not only help the people of Algiers, but introduce the people of New Orleans, and surrounding areas, to a unique confection.

What is water ice?

Water ice is a tasty dessert that’s big in the east, especially in Philadelphia. The finely granulated concoction is blended with flavor throughout and scoops and eats like ice cream. It melts slowly and makes for the perfect treat on a hot day. Tapeh’s uncle originally started making and selling water ice out of his house, and Tapeh and Martin had the idea to bring it to New Orleans and spread a bit of east coast culture to the Gulf south.

“New Orleans is full of so many different cultures,” Martin said. “We wanted to bring one more piece of culture here for people to try.”

In 2017, Tapeh and Martin bought the building, a former Church’s Chicken in great need of renovation, on Newton.

“It was important to us to fix up a neighborhood building,” Martin explained. “We spent most of 2018 renovating the entire building, from ceiling to floor, with the help of friends and family.”

In March of 2019, Tapeh’s Water Ice opened and success has been sweet ever since.

“All of our advertising has been word-of-mouth and people come from all over to try our water ice. People have even driven in from the Northshore, and other places along the Gulf Coast, to come see us,” Martin said.

It was important to Martin to provide jobs and affordable food options to the people of Algiers, so he employs students from the local high school and shows them the ins and outs of the business.

Martin said, “We employ students and people from the neighborhood. Of the 10 people who work here, 9 of them live in the neighborhood. When students get out of school at L.B. Landry, they walk over here and get to work. Working here teaches them how a business works and teaches them responsibility.”

Tapeh and Martin realized that water ice might be mostly a warm weather interest, and it was important to the men to provide more than just seasonal work. For this reason, Tapeh’s provides lunch items such as chicken and waffles, sandwiches, nachos, fries and Philly cheesesteak, which has been a big hit.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TapehsWaterIce (@tapehswaterice) on

“People especially love our Philly cheesesteaks, because that’s not something you can get everywhere in New Orleans,” Martin said.

What we ate

As for the water ice, there are 20 flavors to try including blueberry, lemon, strawberry lemonade, cotton candy and cherry.

I tried the cherry flavor and, as someone who had never had anything like this before, I was immediately hooked. It’s so much different than a New Orleans snowball. The flavor is evenly blended throughout the dessert and the taste is refreshing- I was a fan after my first bite. I like that it doesn’t melt quickly and get all soupy, like some other ice desserts.

Tapeh and Martin brought a little piece of the east coast to this corner of Algiers and your taste buds will thank you for indulging in Tapeh’s Water Ice.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TapehsWaterIce (@tapehswaterice) on

Price points:

Water Ice: $2.00-$8.00

Sandwiches/Po-boys: $4.99-$6.99

Other snacks: $1.99-$9.99

Tapeh's Waterice, LLC
Getting there
1624 Newton St, New Orleans, LA 70114, USA
Hours
Mon-Sat 12–6pm
Sun Closed
More Info

Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you. Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

More Local Stories

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

Queen Trini Lisa’s Ascension to New Orleans’ Caribbean Soul Food Throne

Lisa Nelson didn’t plan on being a chef. She didn’t anticipate becoming a queen either, but true to the most beloved of royalty, the people made her one.

The Farmers’ Market Co-op of East Liberty is open year-round

Every Saturday morning for the last 8 years, the Farmers Market Cooperative has been a mainstay in East Liberty. Get to know the families behind it.

Mardi Gras: Here’s your DIY guide to making a costume

Consider this your guide to sewing, gluing and glittering your way to Mardi Gras DIY costume glory.

Jerry's Records

Vinyl-Man’s Clubhouse: Shop Jerry’s record collection in Swissvale

“My mandate is to rescue records. I can buy records that you don’t want no more and find someone that does want them.”