It may have been an unusually cool and wet spring so far, but with the calendar having turned to June it’s definitely the time of year where a delicious ice cream or refreshing cup of Italian ices would taste great.
One of the largest selections of frozen treats in the area is at Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream on Route 22 in North White Plains. Owner Scott Rosenberg, who relocated to the area last year after a zoning spat forced him to move from Mamaroneck, said there are 112 flavors of ices, soft serve and hard ice cream and creme ice available at Ralph’s every day.
Rosenberg is able to have all flavors available because everything is made fresh on premises, although some varieties like the cantaloupe, honeydew, pumpkin pie or egg nog-flavored Italian ices are seasonal.
“I like to think that people like our product because we use better ingredients, but the variety does not hurt,” said Rosenberg, who oversees franchise locations throughout Long Island. He is also ready to open a second Westchester location in Yonkers in a few weeks and plans a return to Mamaroneck.
A popular product is the creme ice, which is part ice cream and part water ice, he said. Customers enjoy it because they get the flavor of both with only a portion of the calories, said Rosenberg, who compared it to gelato or sherbet.
In all, there are 70 flavors of cream ice and 35 water ice flavors, much different than the limited availability of yesteryear of chocolate, cherry and lemon and perhaps one or two other flavors at the local pizzeria.
“The cherry has cherries in it,” Rosenberg said. “It’s the taste of everything when you’re getting a flavor like cookie dough. It’s a lot of cookie dough. We put a lot of ingredients in it.”
For fans of soft serve ice cream, there are four flavors available on a daily basis. Three of those, chocolate, vanilla and black raspberry, are available all the time. Rosenberg rotates the fourth flavor between pistachio and coffee.
Ralph’s is now introducing a new product to his store – a warm French waffle sandwich. Between two waffles, there is vanilla ice cream and the choice of sauce, typically chocolate or raspberry.
“They’re actually really good,” Rosenberg said. “I’ve tried it.”
For those watching their waistline and their sugar intake, Rosenberg has a large selection of sugar-free flavors of his products.
Rosenberg, a Queens native who now lives in Smithtown, L.I., has been in the frozen treats business since he was a teenager. At 14, he got his first job at a Baskin-Robbins for $4.25 an hour but was enticed to move to TCBY when offered a raise to $6.50 an hour. While still in high school, Rosenberg became district manager.
By the time he was 21, he reached out to the owner of Ralph’s Ices, which opened in 1927, about expanding his operation throughout the metropolitan area. At the time there was just the single location, the original store in Staten Island. Today, there are more than 100 stores throughout the metropolitan area.
Rosenberg has had plenty of work on his hands preparing the property to the liking of Town of North Castle officials. He said he’s about to close on the adjacent property that will increase parking from 17 to 35 cars.
“It’s a fun industry. That’s why we like the window service and stuff,” Rosenberg said. “It attracts attention.”
Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream is located at 850 N. Broadway. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weeknights and until midnight on weekends. It typically closes for the season in December and reopens in spring. To learn more, visit www.ralphsices.com or visit them on Facebook.