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The Joys of Ice Cream

Ice cream season is clearly underway. Just drive into Van Dyk’s parking lot in Ridgewood, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a spot; people tend to linger at their cars enjoying a double scoop and chatting with friends. Or pull into Ernie’s Ice Cream in Mahwah and there will be a line at the window and picnic benches full of happy folks enjoying a soft serve or a sundae. Whether it’s celebrating a win after the big game or piling into the car on a hot night and hitting your favorite ice cream store, it’s the stuff that summer memories are made of, and our area has some of the best ice cream offerings around.

Van Dyk’s has been a staple in town for decades, and owners Corinna and Demetrios Kotrokois have not strayed far from what has made it so special.

“We’ve had older people who have been coming here since they were kids come in now with their grandchildren. That’s very special so honestly, why would we want to change that?” Corinna says. Their ice cream is all homemade on the premises, and they use recipes from the original owners.

“Peppermint Stick has been on the menu since the beginning, and it’s still a big hit,” she says.

Ernie’s ice cream stand in Mahwah, open for 10 years, has become a gathering place for local families, high school teens and college students home on break.

“We see kids who started coming here when they were young now coming back from college for the summer and meeting up with friends,” says manager Melissa Mohre. “Customers order at the window and sit on the benches and picnic tables. We’re packed most nights.”

If it’s Italian ices, frozen custard or more yummy frozen treats you’re craving, try Rita’s in Glen Rock or Mahwah. Grab a table inside and dig in at this spot, which is open year-round. A few years ago a very special out-of-town guest made an appearance at the Glen Rock location: musician John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, stopped in unexpectedly and ordered a chocolate peanut butter milkshake.

Who: Van Dyk’s Ice Cream

Where: Ridgewood

What to Order:

With more than two dozen flavors made fresh on-site, mint chocolate chip is a favorite, and cookies and cream is always a popular choice as well. New in the last few years (and a big hit) is the Salted Caramel Truffle. In the summer, they add flavors like blueberry, peach and cantaloupe, using fresh fruit. Come back in the fall for offerings like apple and pumpkin pie and cinnamon caramel. Open March through November.

Address: 145 Ackerman Ave., Ridgewood

Who: Ernie’s Ice Cream

Where: Mahwah

What to Order:

If it’s soft-serve ice cream you’re craving, Ernie’s has more than 30 flavors to chose from. The Dole Pineapple Whip, new this year and made popular at Disney World, is dairy-, gluten- and fat-free and packed with flavor. Other can’t-miss options include toasted coconut; s’mores; and Unicorn Delight, a purple and white soft serve with sprinkles and very popular with young customers. The ice cream pies are also amazing. Open April through October.

Address: 78 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah

Who: Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard

Where: Glen Rock and Mahwah

What to Order:

Rita’s has frozen choices galore with more than 35 flavors of Italian ices to choose from—cotton candy, Georgia peach or Swedish Fish, anyone?—along with gelati, a dollop of creamy frozen custard on top of an Italian ice. Or try a Blendini, Italian ice blended with frozen custard and mixed with a favorite topping like Reese’s Mini Pieces, Oreo Cookie Pieces or Nilla Wafers. On your way out, grab a cookie sandwich or a frozen custard cake. Open year-round.

Address: 1020 S. Maple Ave., Glen Rock, and 3 Miller Road, Mahwah

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