Sweet Cooie’s opens in Congress Park as a tribute to one mom and in support of all women

It’s a very sweet story, and it’s made all the more sweet because it ends in an ice cream shop.

A cotton candy-trimmed waffle cone at Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
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Inside Sweet Cooie’s, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

When Paul Tamburello was growing up, his little sister had a penchant for nicknames. You already know his father’s nickname. It’s the same as Tamburello’s ice cream shop: Little Man.

His mother’s nickname was Cooie, which is because, he explains, “when you were a kid and you came home and got wrapped in her arms it just drove you to this audible cooing.”

It’s a very sweet story as it is, and it’s made all the more sweet because it ends in an ice cream shop.

Photos of owner Paul Tamburello's mother, who was nicknamed Cooie, hang on the wall inside Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
Photos of owner Paul Tamburello’s mother, who was nicknamed Cooie, hang on the wall inside Sweet Cooie’s. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

And just as Little Man puts a portion of the money from every scoop it sells into its charitable Scoop for Scoop fund, Sweet Cooie’s has a cause bigger than ice cream.

When Tamburello’s mother was nearing the end of her life, he asked her if she was afraid to die. She told him, “No, sweetie, it’s my next great adventure.”

“Our purpose here is really about women and empowerment,” Tamburello said. “… Our purpose here is to support women’s next great adventure.”

And so Sweet Cooie’s own contributions to the Scoop for Scoop fund will go to organizations supporting women around the world.

A cotton candy-trimmed waffle cone at Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
A cotton candy-trimmed waffle cone. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Among the signature or unusual items on the menu are Scottish caramels, waffle cones trimmed with cotton candy and the Gooey Cooie, an ice cream sandwich made with a brioche bun.

A Gooey Cooie at Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
A Gooey Cooie made with salted Oreo ice cream. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

They also make all of their chocolate in-house.

Truffles at Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
(Ashley Dean/Denverite)

The ice cream menu won’t be identical to the one at Little Man, though there will be plenty of overlap (including the highly popular salted Oreo ice cream).

Sweet Cooie’s will focus more on its sorbets, which Cooie loved, and they’ll have sherbets, which aren’t on the menu at all at Little Man.

Right now, ice cream flavors at Sweet Cooie’s that you won’t find at Little Man include the mint julep caramel, the holy cannoli and the bananas foster.

Owner Paul Tamburello speaks at the soft opening of Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
Owner Paul Tamburello speaks at the soft opening of Sweet Cooie’s. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

If you’re thinking the interior of Sweet Cooie’s looks like the inside of a Tiffany’s box, you’re not off-base. Tamburello — who, by the way, grew up just a few blocks from his new shop — said that in decorating the space, they “really wanted to create a little jewel box.”

Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
(Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Sweet Cooie’s officially opens today, Valentine’s Day, at 3506 E. 12th Ave.

And they’ll be celebrating love for the whole month. Denver-metro area children can submit a Valentine to their mother or parent explaining what ice cream flavor he or she would be and why. The winner will get a free ice cream treat for everyone in their family (up to six people), and if the flavor chosen isn’t already on the menu at the shop, it will be added for one month.

Submission forms can be downloaded at sweetcooies.com and submitted by email or dropped off at the shop until Feb. 28. The winner will be announced March 3.

Sweet Cooie's, 3506 E. 12th Ave. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
(Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.