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FRATS PARTY

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As bright red and yellow balloons hovered outside at the grand opening of Frats Ices in Park Slope on July 9, so too did Brooklynites, young and old, trying to get a peek at the goods.

"Interesting," noted one passerby.

"Looks good," said another while staring at the bundles of dough.

What they were eyeing was Frats Ices’ signature dish - fried ravioli (pictured). Known as "frats," they are pre-cooked and rolled in a breadcrumb mixture or ground biscotti crumbs - depending on the flavor - and then deep-fried.

For $4.99, customers get a container of six frats accompanied by their choice of sauces. Frats’ flavors include: traditional cheese, meat, chicken or seafood and can be dipped in vodka, marinara or cheddar cheese sauces.

For dessert, Frats Ices offers cheesecake or chocolate frats served with chocolate, strawberry, caramel, blueberry or cherry dipping sauces.

"A customer once called our frats, ’pockets of pleasure,’" said Larry Vivola, co-owner of Frats Ices with his brother Christian. "And I thought, ’OK, that works for me.’"

While the concept of fried ravioli did not begin here, pasta has been a part of the Vivola family for decades. In 1978, Ray Vivola, Larry and Chris’ father, opened Fratelli Ravioli, a homemade pasta shop, in Carroll Gardens. Since then, Fratelli stores have sprouted throughout the tri-state area.

"We started selling fried ravioli in bulk out of the back of our store in Staten Island," said Larry. "The public demand was so amazing that we decided to sell them hot to the public."

Along with the fried ravioli, Park Slope’s Frats Ices also sells homemade Italian ices, ice cream and spumoni, a combination of Italian ices and cream, with a fraction of the fat and calories in ice cream and gelato according to the Vivola family. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, pistachio, red raspberry and mango, among others.

Said Larry, "We have a saying here that ’F-R-A-Ts’ stands for Fratelli Ravioli’s Awesome Treats."

Frats Ices, 169 Seventh Ave. at First Street in Park Slope accepts cash only. Frats: $4.99 for six with dipping sauce. Ices: $2-$2.50. Frats is open daily from 11 am to 11 pm. For more information, call (718) 369-2850 or visit www.fratsices.com.

- Chiara V. Cowan
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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