A selection of custard cups at the new Abbott's Frozen...

A selection of custard cups at the new Abbott's Frozen Custard in Lindenhurst. Credit: Newsday/Marie Elena Martinez

Do you know your ice cream from your gelato, your soft serve from your frozen custard? With the first Long Island opening of Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Lindenhurst, frozen custard is all we can think about. 

It was 1902 when a young Arthur Abbott traveled the East Coast, working by day in carnivals, and at night, perfecting a secret recipe for frozen custard that he hoped would change his career trajectory, according to the shop's recorded history. When he found himself in Rochester in 1926, he fell for the city and set up a custard stand across from an amusement park on the shores of Lake Ontario, setting off a frenzy of excitement about Abbott’s creamy custards. In 1957, after much success, the company was bought by Thelma and Lenny Schreiber, who own Abbott's to this day, and began franchising in the late '70s.

While all frozen custard is ice cream, there is one recipe element that differentiates it: The addition of egg yolks to the standard base of milk or cream, and sugar. Additionally, custard is only partially frozen, held at a temperature of 18 degrees, giving it a softer, creamier texture than hard ice cream, or even soft serve, which is frozen to a temperature between 12 and 14 degrees and has more air pumped into it through soft-serve machines than frozen custard.

The opening of the Lindenhurst store earlier this month marks the 26th Abbott’s in New York State, joining franchises in six others, including Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and both Carolinas. Abbott's is owned by brother-and-sister team Manuel Calvelos and Lydia Alleida, and Calvelos’ fiancee, Juliann Altaner.

Abbott’s uses a base mix that is hand delivered to the trio's store daily, where the custard's flavors, of which there are a rotating eight, are churned fresh in custom machines that remove all the air from the mixture. Vanilla, chocolate and chocolate almond are always available, and at the Lindenhurst opening, pistachio pineapple, rainbow cookie, peppermint, cotton candy and a dairy-free cherry were also being featured. 

In keeping with ice cream shop protocol, all custards can be served in cup or cone, or creatively enhanced into milkshakes, floats, sundaes, splits or flurries. Custom cakes and pies can be ordered in advance. Toppings include gummy bears and crushed Oreos, strawberries and bananas, peanut butter and marshmallow. Prices range from $4.65 for a kiddie-sized cup to $7.95 for a sundae. If you’re in a rush, grab something from the freezer, where Abbott’s Turtles (custard, peanuts and fudge on a stick) wait patiently for happy consumption.

Abbott’s Frozen Custard, 198 E. Montauk Hwy., Lindenhurst, 631-784-4600, abbottscustard.com. Open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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