MILFORD, CT — What’s better than a family-owned Milford institution celebrating its 60th anniversary?
A family-owned Milford institution that sells ice cream celebrating its 60th anniversary.
On Friday, The Sundae House at 499 New Haven Avenue opens up for its 60th season, all of them while owned and operated by the Simone family.
The current generation — owner John, his wife Samantha, and daughters Alex and Nicolette — will also be unveiling merchandise with the restaurant’s new logo, designed by a Milford graphic designer.
The family business has had its share of trials and travails over the last six decades, but COVID wasn’t one, according to shop manager, 23-year-old Nicolette. The business has “a lot friends” in Milford that wanted the Simones to succeed, she told Patch.
“It was a great year for us. We got a lot of new customers based off of that, too, which was awesome.”
The multi-generational family business has benefitted from a multi-generational clientele, to the point it’s become difficult to determine what’s the most popular ice cream. Sales, the shop manager said, depend on the age of the customer.
“Your older crowd of people, they want their rum raisin, they want their coffee ice cream, they want the vanilla bean,” Nicolette said. ” The younger kids, they love the cotton candy. They love the rainbow ice creams, all that stuff. But you know, everybody loves your basics, your cookie dough, your mint chocolate chip, those core flavors will always be here. “
John Simone recently took the insights his family has gleaned from six decades of cold confection crafting to create an original Sundae House flavor, Campania, named in honor of Nicolette’s great-grandmother’s Italian birthplace.
“It’s coffee ice cream, caramel swirl, brownie chunks, and chocolate covered espresso beans,” Nicolette explained.”We take the coffee flavor, which is something that the older generation might like, and added some newer ingredients that people my age like.”
The Sundae House sells both traditional and soft serve styles of ice cream. The shop moves more of the soft serve simply because it is the kind used in their ice cream sandwiches, milk shakes and other frozen treats. But when a customer orders just a cone or dish, it’s usually the traditional, harder variety.
Vegan ice cream is also a major player, and no wonder.
“Me and my family, we all have lactose intolerance, which I think is hilarious, because we own an ice cream store,” Nicolette said.
For those looking to go Old School vegan, Sundae House dishes out lemon ices, still made from great-grandma’s original recipe.
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As for that notion, popular in some parts, that a more fitness-conscious generation is cutting back on its frosty desserts, or even just on the portions? Don’t believe a word of it, Nicolette said.
“The funniest thing about that is I’ll get people that come up to the window with a giant smile on their face. They’re, like, alright, it’s ‘cheat day,’ give me everything you got!”
The Simone Family isn’t just amused by their customers’ inclination to stray aggressively from USDA dietary guidelines, they’re banking on it. The dessert den’s signature offerings are its “monster” size servings, which are available for pretty much every item on the menu.
“Everybody loves the monster size!” Nicolette laughed. “Where else can you get a 44 ounce milkshake? Or a 44 ounce upside down banana split? It’s just pure indulgence that people love. It’s super-popular.”
Some people are born into ice cream, others have ice cream thrust upon them.
Not too long ago, self-proclaimed “theater kid” Nicolette Simone expected she would have been on her way to a career in music at this point in her life. But now, sorting out the day’s receipts or elbows-deep in mint chocolate chip, she can’t imagine a sweeter career.
“When you’re given an opportunity to run an ice cream store, and help your family out and be around your family every single day — I don’t really think you could pass up an opportunity like that, you know?”
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