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.
Cherry's Ice Cream combines the old-fashioned idea of an ice-cream parlor with the modern technology of high-definition television and wireless Internet. Visitors can recline on couches and chairs around a TV, enjoying scoops of housemade ice cream in the company of friends or in the cold glow of their computer screens. Ice-cream flavors range from traditional vanilla to clever in-house creations, such as Rolos caramel delight and Circus Fun: vanilla ice cream blended with animal crackers and circus peanuts. In addition to hard and soft-serve ice cream, Cherry's confectionists serve up two-scoop belgian-waffle sundaes, water ice, and milkshakes.
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.
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.
Café Colore's Italian-American dinner menu sends gourmet gondolas of soup, pasta, seafood, veal, and more into famished belly canals. Open the floodgates of flavor to the caramelized onion bisque, a blend of vidalia onion and sherry ($6.95) that swaddles mouths in a soft warmth usually reserved for babies' blankets and Full House reruns. Lobster ravioli imports the zesty flavors of Maine's shorelines, the culinary cargo bustling with basil tomato cream sauce and ricotta ($25.95). Carnivores can sink their fangs into a veggie, sausage, and cheese-stuffed loin of pork ($26.95) or moo in a Sicilian dialect for the veal saltimbocca, topped in a sage and brandy cream sauce ($25.95). The lunch menu presents mid-day munchers with an array of pasta-based entrees, meal-sized salads, and sandwich-sized sandwiches, including the cafe deluxe, a chicken breast milanese with avocado, romaine, tomato, prosciutto, and basil-pesto mayo on house-made bread ($7.95).