For all the ice-cream lovers out there – you can thank me later.
Nestled in one of the storefronts of the Nesconset Plaza sits Strong Island Ice Cream. With an array of authentic ice-cream flavors and toppings, this shoppe also includes different shakes, sundaes, sorbets, acai bowls, and even ice cream made with almond milk.
Although it was nearly impossible to choose one or even two flavors, with the help of owner Pauly Cairo, I gave salted caramel and peanut butter a shot.
Of course, it was topped with the store’s homemade whipped cream.
I was always one to believe that “ice-cream is ice-cream,” until now. In fact, I was never a big whipped cream fan either, until I opted to taste Pauly’s.
While the flavor was so pronounced for flavors that appeared so basic, the texture alone of the ice cream, almost buttery, had me asking questions. It was what I learned that intrigued me about this establishment even more so.
Strong Island Ice Cream opened in November of 2019 and has survived two summers of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was open every single day,” said owner Pauly Cairo. “On Christmas of 2020, I sold 27 quarts of ice-cream. This store, if you think about it, is like a corona baby. I opened right before the pandemic hit, I stayed open, and I’m still here.”
Pauly began his ice cream career when he was just a kid. He used to accompany his mother, who worked as a waitress, to her job at Krisch’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor in Massapequa. From here, a young Cairo began to learn the ins-and-outs of the business, eventually becoming employed and working his way up the ladder. For roughly 35 years, he has been making his own ice-cream. One day, he finally decided to pursue his dream of opening a store in Suffolk County, where he continues to see success as word spreads.
The shoppe gives off a rather modern feel and has a little candy section up at the front, too. Ice cream flavors are made on premise, using an old-fashioned ice-cream machine allowing for about 20 gallons to be made in roughly 15 minutes. Ice cream cakes and flying saucers are also available, as well as quart containers of ice-cream for takeout.
If you haven’t stopped in yet, make a point to do-so. Treat yourself. You’ll be glad that you did.