In the early months of 2010 Stephen DiMare was working in Montana for a winter at the Lodge at Big Sky and flew home to St. Augustine for a friend's wedding. On the flight he pitched his idea for a coffee shop to the (random) nice woman sitting next to him. She told him that what he needed in his coffee shop were ice pops, gourmet ice pops in the Mexican style. Stephen listened as she explained that paletas (Spanish for ice pops) could contain anything from cucumbers to fresh pineapple to jalapeños.
With his interest piqued, Stephen returned to Montana to finish the winter ski season. He bought a set of cheap plastic ice pop molds and spent his evenings trying different combinations of flavors (as there is nothing to do in Montana after dark) and let the guests at the hotel try them and give feedback. When he came back to St. Augustine in April he had enough money saved to buy some semi-industrial ice pop molds and pay first and last months' rent on a little retail space in downtown St. Augustine.
The slow economy had made available several spots in the busy tourist area that otherwise would have been out of the league of someone starting with so little. The shop opened for business on June 5 after lots of support from friends and family volunteering to paint and hauling freezers (up stairs, no less!). Despite a hilarious string of experiments and missteps trying to figure out larger-scale popsicle production, Stephen eventually succeeded in meeting demand (although many nights were spent sleeping on the floor at the shop).
The pops struck a chord with locals and tourists alike looking for an alternative treat to enjoy on those blazing summer days. The community came out in force to support one of their own on a new, if quaint, venture. Millions of ice pops later, the Hyppo expanded into a new space on a corner in downtown St. Augustine and continued to vend fresh pops to the downtown crowd. The pops are all now made on larger, much more efficient pieces of equipment that exist in the back of The Hyppo Cafe, a shop in midtown St. Augustine that brings the life and vibrancy of fresh foods to the genres of sandwiches, confections, and coffee. The Hyppo continues to delight customers with inventive combinations afforded by simple ingredients.
Entrepreneur Stephen DiMare began The Hyppo as a humble ice pop stand in historic downtown Saint Augustine in 2010. Seeking to combine local-in-season produce and herbs in delightful new ways. DiMare's pops became instantly popular with locals, students, and visitors alike. With unusual flavors like Cucumber Lemon Mint, Melon & Cracked Pepper, and Elvis (peanut butter, honey, and banana) it was only a matter of time before DiMare's culinary creativity leapfrogged the deep freezer into sandwiches, salads, and gourmet coffee drinks.
So why The Hyppo, you ask? Saint Augustine was named such because it was discovered on the day of the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo. So, when The Hyppo’s founder sat pondering a place for Saint Augustins to feast on the freshest local/fresh produce, it seemed only right to name it after our city's patron saint: or rather, a certain hungry animal that he happened to share a moniker with. The Hyppo’s flagship store sits on Hypolita Street, so they adopted a 'y' instead of an 'i' to make sure everyone knows they are 100% home-grown.