To kickoff summer, I thought it would be great to do a column on ice cream shoppes—not just any ice cream shoppes—independently owned ice cream shoppes. In my search, I visited as many places as I could, and ate more ice cream than I can tell you—let’s just say it was a fun family adventure! I was shocked to discover that there is such a thing as bad ice cream. When it comes to ice cream there is no in-between—it either tastes great or it doesn’t. Here are my top three favorite places. I hope you take time this summer to try all of these places and, as always, support our local independent owners!
Van Dyk’s Ice Cream, 145 Ackerman Ave, Ridgewood: VanDyk’s will spoil your taste for ice cream forever. Without a doubt, the most delicious ice cream I ever have or ever will taste. Their ice cream is homemade (made on premises), their prices are cheap, and the portions are HUGE! Take-out only, they have an extensive selection of distinctive homemade flavors such as Strawberry Oreo, German Chocolate Crunch, Cotton Candy, Cheesecake Crunch, and so much more. If you like Strawberry, VanDyk’s is sublime—as if you’re eating fresh strawberries and cream. How is it that you never heard of VanDyk’s? They’ve been around FOREVER, but they don’t advertise so unless you live in Ridgewood, got lost in Ridgewood, or someone told you about it, you’ll never find it. It’s located smack in the middle of a residential area, and has one wooden sign that’s not lit at night. Many moons ago I ran cross country and track for (pre-co-ed) Paramus Catholic and VanDyk’s was on our training course. Can you believe that I never went there for ice cream??? To get there take W. Ridgewood Ave. until you can go no further; turn right at N. Broad St, turn left at light and go under train trestle (this is Garber Sq); stay on right side of road (it turns into Godwin Ave) and turn left onto Ackerman Ave. VanDyk’s is on your left.
The Local Scoop, Schaler Blvd, Ridgefield (across from Café Tivoli): Independently owned by Jeff DiSimone, and having the nicest, most attentive, most polite servers, The Local Scoop is my new “close-to-home” go-to. Serving Hershey’s Ice Cream and 12 flavors of homemade Italian Ices, The Local Scoop is reminiscent of an old-time ice cream shoppe with small tables and chairs, and besides scooping great tasting ice cream, it’s kept meticulously clean. They offer custom made ice cream cakes, egg creams, frozen hot chocolate, sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cannolis, and so much more. They have a great selection of ice creams—in fact, my daughter is now a devotee of their “Playdough” ice cream. (It’s yellow vanilla ice cream with colored cookie dough. If you can get past the fact that it really looks like playdough—it tastes delicious!) Other flavors include Cotton Candy, Candy Bar Overload—(a must-have for the over-stressed), Cappuccino Crunch, Birthday Cake, Scout Mint, ‘Smores, and more. They also host birthday parties so if you’re looking for something different that you know the kids will love—give Jeff and his fantastic staff a call!
Bischoff’s, 468 Cedar Lane, Teaneck: A traditional old fashioned ice cream parlor and candy shop, Bischoff’s is the place to go if you want to completely satisfy your confectionary cravings. Their ice cream is homemade and made on the premises, but whereas VanDyk’s is a hidden treasure, Bischoff’s is a beacon on Cedar Lane. You can either eat your ice cream at the counter sitting on a swivel stool or you can sit at a table. Walking into Bischoff’s is not reminiscent of an old-time ice cream parlor—it’s been around so long that it is an old-time ice cream parlor. If you’re in a decadent mood, or just having one of those days, order the Battleship Sundae—words just can’t describe…Bischoff’s is a place that newer establishments try to emulate—do yourself a favor—come taste the original!