It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
When it comes to listening to their elders, kids could take a page out of Matthew Benigno’s book. Spearheading the second generation of Potitos’ ownership with his wife Cristina, Matthew takes care to follow the recipes of his in-laws, Carmen and Maria Potito—the original owners—as well as the work ethic he gleaned from his own mother and grandfather. "We basically stick to our roots of being Old World Italian. Everything is made from scratch at the bakery, fresh every day," he explained to a reporter from the South Philly Review, “We are keeping the tradition alive." Those traditions have paid off. Potitos won the South Philly Review's Readers’ Choice award in four categories including best zeppoli, best specialty cakes, and best cannoli, which Matthew and his team craft by filing homemade pastry shells with a choice of chocolate-chip-flecked ricotta, vanilla or chocolate italian cream, or lasagna. Other tasty, traditional specialties include an airy italian crème cake soaked in rum and covered in peanuts, and sfogliatelle—a flaky, seashell-shaped pastry filled with sweet-ricotta cheese and candied fruit.
Tutto Gelato lavishes cups and cones with up to 20 flavors of creamy gelato and sweet sorbetto made fresh each day. Forged with natural flavors and fresh ingredients, each succulent scoop contains less fat than ice cream but more brain-freezing power than a city-council meeting at the North Pole. Nestle classic flavors such as cinnamon, peanut butter, and watermelon into a cup ($4–$6) to flaunt spoon technique, or crown a crisp sugar cone ($4.50) or waffle cone ($6.50) for a highly transportable treat. Tutto's gelato gurus routinely feature their more innovative concoctions, including honeymoon gelato, which hearkens back to decadent french toast breakfasts, and frutti di bosco, which teams strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry to form a smoothie-worthy super group. Frozen aficionados can saunter through the green door at Tutto's pale yellow, cottage-like storefront to grab take-home portions of tempting flavors by the pint or quart.
Bright lights emblazon the adjoining boardwalk of The Palace of Sweets, beckoning passersby inside for fun-filled challenges and the sugary outflow of towering candy dispensers. Devised by world-renowned maze designer Adrian Fisher, the fun center's one-of-a-kind maze envelops guests into its candy-decor depths with a disorienting array of mirrors and surprise reunions with your long-lost twin. After regaining bearings, guests can test their agility in the center's laser challenge, which sends lasers zooming through the room as they try to make their way to the other side unscathed. Known for sporting the largest selection of self-serve candy on the boardwalk, The Palace of Sweets serves as a well-stocked host for birthday parties or a press conference announcing the end of dieting.
If you visit his shop on a Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk, Tom B. Curyto, a proud torch bearer of Polish heritage, will generously give you a free sample of Polish Ice— but he will stubbornly shake his head if you ask him how he makes it. After all, it took him years to perfect the recipe¬. Holding degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Curyto approached his endeavor like a true scientist, spending hours and hours coming up with theories, hunching over vats of frozen concoctions in his kitchen, and tasting spoonful after spoonful until getting the signature custard-like texture just right.
Today, Tom's frozen treat has won over the palates of an abundance of media publications, and can be found in TLC Polish Water Ice shops throughout five states and two US-claimed moon craters. In cheerful storefronts and boardwalk stands, soft-serve machines freshly dole out the dairy-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free concoction in fruity flavors such as mango, green apple, and lemon. Servers also blend Polish Water Ice with ice cream to create creamy freezes, while adding candy to the mix to whip up cups of chillers.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers' cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.