Okay maybe it’s a stretch to use the Super Bowl as inspiration for a post about neon ice cream signs, but I have Patriots fever. So please indulge me.
My research for New England Neon (forthcoming from Arcadia Publishing) introduced me to some sweet ice cream spots across the region. Here are a few of their stories.
As the sign says, Hank’s Dairy Bar opened in 1957 in Plainfield, Connecticut. Hank Zurowski sold produce at the time, and he founded the dairy bar to supplement his business during the slow summer months when people grew their own vegetables. Within a few years, the business was going strong and the menu expanded to include hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. Hank’s fabled cole slaw recipe remains a closely guarded family secret to this day.
In 1934 Boston insurance salesman W. Wells Watson invested in a Cape Cod ice cream business, which was housed in an old Centerville blacksmith shop. He hired Richard Warren — who was a student at Boston University — to manage Four Seas Ice Cream in 1956 and sold the business to him four years later. Warren ran the shop for 40 years, also working as a high school teacher and guidance counselor during the off season. Today his son Douglas continues the family tradition.
Finally, here’s a sweet spot in Boston. Tucked between a used car lot and a fast food restaurant on the border between the neighborhoods of Roslindale and Mattapan, Frosty Freeze serves frappes, cones, and sundaes and offers, as the sign says, “Best licks in the east.”
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