This time of year always includes a few “firsts” that mark the beginning of the summer. First trip down the shore. First day going barefoot. And of course, the first ice cream of the summer.
Now that Memorial Day has passed, ice cream shops all around Baristaville are gearing up for the summer season, serving up frozen treats aplenty.
Ask anyone in the Montclair area where the best ice cream is and you will get two answers: Applegate Farm and Holsten’s. Both hold a place in the hearts of most Montclairians. While there is also some debate about which is better, suffice it to say that each holds its own particular charms.
616 Grove Street, Montclair, NJ, 07043
With its bright red colored barns and life sized cow statue, Applegate serves up delicious ice cream in an outdoor family atmosphere. On a recent Tuesday, a Montclair mom and her son and daughter were there to sample the flavor of the month, Frozen Hot Chocolate. Her son was excited for the whipped cream, different colored sprinkles and cherry on top. Even on this Tuesday, almost all spaces in the parking lot were taken. Carlie McStay of Clifton who works the serving window at Applegate says, “Memorial Day marks our start to the season. We start our summer hours. It was a big weekend for us. The parking lot was full and people even began parking out along Grove Street. A lot of families.” According to McStay, Grand Central Station is a flavor favorite, containing Chocolate Covered Graham crackers.
1063 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ
Known for its homemade ice cream and chocolates, Holsten’s is a Bloomfield favorite that attracts patrons from all over the area. With counter as well as booth seating, the restaurant evokes days of yore. Famous for its role in the final episode of “The Sopranos,” Holsten’s nevertheless doesn’t flaunt its brushes with fame and instead remains an honest to goodness great place to go for meals and dessert. Anne Marie Clementi of Glen Ridge frequents Holsten’s and highlights some of its best attributes, “It’s been here since I was a little girl. The ice cream and chocolate is not mass-produced, not franchised. It’s local. I always get my Easter basket candy here. They use the old metal molds for the chocolates.” Her son Paul Travisano echoes her sentiments, “When I come back from college, Holsten’s is the first place to go! We used to go here after baseball games. We grew up at this place.” The coffee chip ice cream is a mother and son favorite.
49 Church Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042
Just down the street from Red Mango on Church Street, Gelato Giuliana offers an amazing selection of gelato flavors. With funky ceiling lights and glowing tulip lamps, this store offers as much ambiance as taste. There are a variety of chocolates to accompany your gelato selection, and the gelato is also available to take home. Come here for a bit of sophistication and rich, delicious taste.
340 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ
Coco of Millburn is a nice option for those seeking healthy frozen treats as well as smoothies, soups and sandwiches. Gelato flavors are unique including Ginger Snap and Hazelnut Biscotti. Smoothies are all natural with no sugar added. Boosts can be added as well. Frozen yogurt is also available, in uncommon flavors such as the patron favorite, peanut butter.
Village Ice Cream Parlour
185 Maplewood Ave, Maplewood, NJ
Wide variety of flavors, cones, sundaes, cakes, etc. Good for a quick, cool takeaway treat during a trip to downtown Maplewood, and also sells hand-packed pints, gallons and cakes to bring home.
Scoops and Soups
1846 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood, NJ
With 12 great ice cream flavors as well as shakes, this ice cream and sandwich shop offers a nice respite right in Maplewood. Owner Clarence Williams keeps this a local, friendly favorite.
Mark and Julie’s Homemade Ice Cream
476 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ
With a huge array of flavors (52!), Mark and Julie’s also offers frozen yogurt and other frozen treats. All are made on site, making this store a truly authentic ice cream experience. They also offer low fat, fat free and sugar free to cater to dietary needs.
Super Scoop Ice Cream
989 Bloomfield Avenue, Glen Ridge, NJ
Serves up homemade ice cream, 24 flavors of soft-serve, smoothie, cupcakes and more. There’s a self-serve frozen yogurt area with topping too. The Maple Walnut is a favorite of many customers.
Magic Fountain Ice Cream
300 North Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ This ice cream place has great ice cream as well as low fat options. Small and cute, it is a neighborhood favorite.
19 Church Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042
Of course, Montclair wouldn’t be Montclair without a low calorie healthy option. Church Street’s recent addition, Red Mango, has been attracting crowds since the day it opened, a year a three months ago. Manager Kristine Kaltmayer is quick to point out that the frozen yogurt treats at Red Mango are delicious as well as healthy. What makes Red Mango stand out is the calorie information readily available, listed right next to the flavors. Kaltmayer says that Raspberry Cheesecake is the favorite flavor. “For people who watch what they eat, Red Mango is a great choice. Everyone likes to stop by for that frozen treat at night.” Kaltmayer reminds patrons that they offer tastings of the yogurt. For those who want tastings, she suggests patrons come right up to the counter as opposed to waiting in line. She says Red Mango has plans to expand to include a new self serve area.
31 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042
You concoct your frozen yogurt treat from start to finish — choosing different flavors (or swirling two together to create a new flavor) then adding or layering parfait style from tons of toppings. Choose cereals (healthy and guilty pleasures) as well as fresh fruit, candy bars, sour works, blueberry and apple pie crumbles, every kind of nut, plus various trail mixes, as well as freshly made whipped creams, hot fudge, caramel, you name it.
On the sweet/tart scale, Berry Sweet’s yogurt not as tart/tangy as Red Mango, and not as sweet as Let’s Yo — almost like a hybrid of the two other brands. Six machines offers a total of 18 flavors — two primary flavors and a third flavor that comes from mixing those two together. Flavors on deck yesterday included peanut butter, pistachio, cappuccino, cake batter, pomegranate raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, N.Y. cheesecake and dulce de leche.
West Caldwell Plaza, 554 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell, NJ
D’lites offers low-fat cups, cones, ice cream sandwiches, shakes and cakes in 8 flavors available each day.
And of course, there are the old standbys of Coldstone Creamery, Friendly’s and Carvel. Located in several Baristaville towns, these mainstays have served us well throughout various stages of our lives, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a Carvel sign can still make me pull over and stop in for a treat. While Coldstone can be a little over-the-top, there is a novelty to seeing your ice cream mixed and mashed right there before your very eyes. And, the joy of coming to Friendly’s never gets old.
With so many options, Baristaville promises to serve up a nice cool summer even in the hottest of temperatures! It might not be a bad idea to gather up the family and embark upon your very own family ice-cream crawl.
Tell us Baristaville–what’s your favorite ice cream shop?