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Ice cream on Long Island: 4 must-try spots

The "breakfast special" ice cream at Frozen Cow

The "breakfast special" ice cream at Frozen Cow Ices and Cream is made with maple syrup, bacon bits and Belgian waffles. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Ice cream is Long Island’s favorite warm-weather treat, and while the calendar may say winter, the temperature today says, emphatically, “ice cream.”

There’s no corner of Nassau or Suffolk that’s far from an ice-cream purveyor — in a pinch, the local gas station probably stocks pints of Häagen-Dazs. But we also have dozens of independent shops, including these two going into their second summer:


FROZEN COW ICES AND CREAM, 300 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, 516-665-3997,

It took some serious scoops to open an ice cream store a block away from Lido Beach’s Marvel, but the owners of Frozen Cow have an entirely different approach. The emphasis is on inventive flavors such as sea-salt caramel, and a breakfast special, made with maple syrup and bits of bacon and Belgian waffles.


VIALE GELATERIA, 424 Sunrise Hwy., Lynbrook, 516-442-0094

Lynbrook’s new gelateria has a definite Italian accent. Owner Anna Franchi and her family recently moved to the South Shore from Ferrara in Italy. Her delivery is a charming combination of two languages along with a few illustrative hand gestures but, luckily, “la lingua del gelato” is easy for American customers to understand. Regular flavors include vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio (particularly outstanding), milk chocolate, dark chocolate (which, since it contains no milk, is actually a rich sorbetto), coffee and stracciatella (chocolate chip).


Looking for an ice-cream parlor that’s more than 70 years old? We got plenty of them, including:


NORTHPORT SWEET SHOP, 55 Main St., Northport, 631-261-3748

In business since 1929, this luncheonette is an easy stop for sandwiches and burgers, but the popular choices tend to lean in the direction of sweets. Candy is available, as is a selection of homemade frozen desserts, including a unique lemon custard. The homemade ice cream is crafted into all sorts of old-fashioned concoctions such as milk frosts (a milkshake garnished with a scoop of ice cream), French ice cream sodas (topped with fresh whipped cream). Owner Peter Panarites often does the honors with the assurance of a man who could make a malted in his sleep.


STAR CONFECTIONERY, 4 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-727-9873

This landmark ice-cream parlor and luncheonette has been in the Meras family since 1920 and has changed little since then. “We make one chocolate ice cream,” said Anthony Meras, third-generation owner. “I’m a plain Jane — I think simple is better.” The ice cream is made either by Anthony or his father, also Anthony, the acknowledged master, who makes his own flavoring base with Hershey’s cocoa powder. The result is clean and chocolaty, with a caramel undertone.


For a list of all our favorite ice cream parlors, click here.

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