GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Just looking at Tony’s Ice Cream parlor on East Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia, you know it’s something special to the community.
People have been lining up at the counter for their favorite flavors since1915.
“We try to do what we can as a good neighbor in Gaston County,” said Louis Colette, whose father and grandfather helped start Tony’s Ice Cream more than a century ago.
Helping the Gaston County community has been a motto for generations in the Coletta family.
“My grandfather spent his days going through the neighborhoods in the mill section, people would come out with bowls and it didn’t matter if they had money or not they still were going to get their ice cream,” said Coletta.
Today that ice cream comes in 28 different flavors and is made right across the street from the ice cream parlor.
The recipe hasn’t changed in 100 years. The secret is enhancing the flavor of the ice cream so it’s never diluted when making a frozen favorite.
The top-selling item has always been milkshakes. Chocolate is the number one selling ice cream flavor. Customers can even buy their favorite ice cream flavors by the pint.
If you come hungry, the parlor offers diner-style foods at a diner-style price.
“My dad told me a long time ago, ‘there is a place in this world for things to stay the same,’” said Coletta.
Since the 1960’s Louis Coletta has been at the parlor nearly every day. When he’s not helping behind the counter, you’ll find him sitting in the same red leather booth.
It’s another lesson he learned from his father.
“He told me, ‘I want you to remember something,’ he said, ‘don’t ever think for a minute that you don’t need to be there because someone has to man the store,’” said Coletta.
For more than a century, Coletta has been doing just that.
Tony’s Ice Cream is open seven days a week. The ice cream is also sold at many local restaurants and stores, just look for the Tony’s Ice Cream label.