By Bobby Panza
When we last left Aoommie and Leo Cutone, proprietors of Mochi Dolci, the boba tea and mochi donut shop at 222 West 79th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, in January, 2023, they were being sued by an ice cream company called Mochidoki, with stores on the Upper East Side and in SoHo, for trademark infringement.
“MOCHI DOLCI is nearly identical to our client’s MOCHIDOKI, sharing a nearly identical spelling,” argued Mochidoki’s attorney, as reported at the time in the Rag. “What if we want to open on the UWS?” he added. “It could be confusing.”
“DOLCI and DOKI do not share nearly identical spelling,” countered Mochi Dolci’s lawyer. “Two of the five letters in DOLCI are not contained in DOKI. The two words do not share a common language. MOCHI DOLCI is two words where MOCHIDOKI is one. The pronunciation of the two words is distinctly different.”
Leo explained how Mochi Dolci got its name. He is Italian and Aoommie is Asian. The family decided to combine the word “Mochi,” which means “sweets” in Japanese, and Dolci, which translates to “sweets” in Italian.
In the end, it turned out okie-dokie for Mochi Dolci, because Mochidoki, “sometime in February, apparently dropped the lawsuit,” Leo told WSR in an email. “They never served the papers.”
Meanwhile, Mochi Dolci is thriving. The Cutones, who live around the corner from the shop with their three children, ages 15 and, twins, 12, have created a homey neighborhood hangout. “It’s like a corner store, easy to come in after school, have some snacks, chit-chat with friends, and then do homework,” said Aoommie sitting down with the Rag in her establishment. Born in Thailand, she said it was a family decision to open the shop, showcasing the mochi donuts and boba tea they love so much. Their daughter Valentina designed the logo.
When it comes to the mochi donuts, Aoommie mentioned that Leo has been tinkering with the recipe to create a one-of-a-kind batter that’s light and fluffy. Her favorite is Nutella, and this reporter can say from experience that the cookies and cream, chocolate, strawberry, pandam, and black sesame are also delicious. (I need to try the cotton candy next.)
In the back of the shop, there’s a light purple phone booth that is actually a portal to the Mochi Dolci speakeasy. Pull back the door and an entryway leads to a lovely back room with skylighting and a full bar and dinner menu. Mochi Dolci has been hosting comedy and jazz shows in their speakeasy. They also recently staged a drag show. Aoommie said that during live events parents often bring their kids who “all hang out together in the front, and we keep an eye on them.” There are trivia nights on Tuesdays, too, and the space is also available for kids’ parties with make-your-own donuts and karaoke,” she added. A children’s book club is currently in the works as well.
For hours of operation and other details, check the website.
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