In the 1930s, women in skirted bathing suits and gents shaded under boater hats flocked to the beaches of the Jersey Shore. When they grew hungry or hot, they strolled the boardwalk looking for treats, often intrigued by the frosty cups of flavored ice sold by a young Italian immigrant. That man, Tony Strollo, crafted ices from old family recipes in his garage before shuttling them to the beach in a gasping, converted bus. Over the years, Tony’s frosty treats became staples for vacationing families and discerning hummingbirds. When Tony passed his sugar-stained recipes on to his son in the '70s, Ray faced the challenge of meeting the growing demand. He tinkered with the recipes to make them in bulk within the churning, swirling belly of a soft-serve machine.
Today, a third-generation Strollo keeps the summer tradition alive at Strollo's Lighthouse Italian Ice, which has expanded to four storefronts and earned a feature on the Food Network. Still homemade, the nectarous delights include rich ice cream as well as many flavors of Italian ice. Hot from the still-popular beaches or virtual summer camp, modern families clamor for flavors of root beer, pistachio, blue raspberry, coconut, and Oreo.
Colorful dots line the lime-green walls at re Juice a Nation, but though they bear a resemblance, they're not the candy kind. Customers find healthful sweet treats here, in the form of fruit smoothies boosted with nutrition and sports supplements, which eliminate the need to mash fruit into Gatorade. To satisfy savory cravings, the eatery simmers 100 varieties of Hale and Hearty soup, which are always fresh and never frozen.
In the kitchen at Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe, artisan chocolatier Matt Magyar is hard at work sprinkling real sea salt over his handmade dark-chocolate caramels. As he describes to the Manasquan-Belmar Patch, “I had on-the-job training when I started making chocolate on the boardwalk in Seaside when I was 14.” Decades later, his training is evident in the vast array of tasty treats he crafts each day. Trays proudly showcase homemade treats such as chocolate nut clusters, caramel cranberry sea turtles, and rooster leggs.
At Sweet!—a 10th Avenue confectionery with a self-explanatory name—bakers craft 30 types of handmade chocolate and bake cupcakes in flavors such as cannoli and bubblegum. Patrons can also sweeten palates with inventive treats like chocolate-dipped bacon, housemade ice-cream sandwiches, and the bakery's own gourmet riff on the Twinkie. Creamy milk shakes provide a liquid pairing for baked goods.
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.
Village Coffee isn’t just a place to get a cuppa and run. It’s a place to lean back into soft leather chairs with a hot latte, or gather at a table of fresh-baked sweets and good conversation. Striving to be more than just a coffee shop, Village Coffee encourages its visitors to enjoy the camaraderie that surrounds coffee and sandwiches. Mornings, stop by for breakfast sandwiches, fresh muffins, and hot or iced coffee drinks, or swing by during the afternoon for sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, and salads.