Niantic ice cream shop to get a new 'twist'

Tony D'Angelo III, standing in the dining room of Tony D's Restaurant in New London on Friday, Feb. 2, has acquired the former Frosty Treat in Niantic and will open it this spring as Tony D's Craft Creamery. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Tony D'Angelo III, standing in the dining room of Tony D's Restaurant in New London on Friday, Feb. 2, has acquired the former Frosty Treat in Niantic and will open it this spring as Tony D's Craft Creamery. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

East Lyme — A new establishment featuring hand-crafted ice cream, as well as burgers, seafood, sandwiches and fries, will open this spring in the building that housed the long-running Frosty Treat on Main Street in downtown Niantic.

Anthony D'Angelo III, the head chef at Tony D's Restaurant in New London and the son of the Italian restaurant's proprietor, plans to open up Tony D's Craft Creamery at 440 Main St., with a menu of hot food, soft-serve ice cream and a variety of ice cream flavors D'Angelo created himself.

A New London native, D'Angelo, 30, began helping out and cooking at his family's restaurant on Huntington and Broad streets in New London as a teenager. He became the head chef at age 19.

The idea to make his own ice cream was sparked when he and a friend and co-worker, Corey Bottinelli, were searching for a good chocolate ice cream to serve at the restaurant. The recipe had changed for the chocolate gelato the restaurant imported, but they couldn't find a replacement they liked, despite trying different manufacturers.

"At this point, I was like, 'All right, you know what? We’re just going to make our own ice cream from now on,'" D'Angelo said during a recent interview.

That began his project of making a variety of flavors of American-style ice cream, starting with "For the Luv of Chocolate," and then concocting other combinations, such as "Mint Condition," with crème de menthe and brownies, and "Poetic Justice," with lemon, lavender and basil.

D'Angelo, who has loved baking since he was a child, said he enjoys baking his own products and infusing them into the ice cream to create different flavors.

"It's endless," D'Angelo said. "It's kind of an infinite art. You can kind of just mix and match what you want."

From Frosty Treat to Tony D's Craft Creamery

When the Frosty Treat property was put up for sale last year, D'Angelo said he went to look at the building and realized it would be a great spot for him to make his ice cream.

The spot on the corner of Main Street and Columbus Avenue has a nearly half-century history of serving ice cream and hot food to locals and visitors alike, with many people in the shoreline town considering the seasonal opening of Frosty Treat as "a sign of spring."

Louise Manwaring, whose family ran the business from 1979 to 1994, remembers the restaurant served homemade clam chowder, stuffed clams, coleslaw, potato salad, biscuits and brownies and soft-serve and hard-pack ice cream, and she got to meet many people in town.

"We had the same people, year in and year out," she said.

The property owners, Carol and Joe Mariani, who started the restaurant, ran it for a total of 15 years. They then leased the site to business owners over the years but put the property up for sale last year. They felt it was the right time to sell the property, now that they're retired and wanting to pursue other activities, like traveling, and their children are now married with their own children, Carol Mariani said in an interview last year.

Bill Zeilman, who leased the property and ran Frosty Treat with his wife, Carol, for the past 14 years, sold soft-serve ice cream, 24 varieties of hard-packed ice cream, foot-long hot dogs, hamburgers, clams and french fries.

"I had a great time while I was there and enjoyed all 14 seasons," Zeilman, who is working as a salesman at Valenti Ford, said in a phone interview.

A new "twist"

D'Angelo said Tony D's Craft Creamery will have the same setup as Frosty Treat, with outdoor seating and take-out, but a new waffle-cone theme sign is replacing the blue and white "Frosty Treat" one. D'Angelo said he will continue to serve clam shack fare and ice cream, but will put his own "twist" on it.

The establishment will serve both ice cream and hot food, including burgers and foot-long hot dogs on house-made buns, fresh-cut fries, lobster rolls, clam strips, salads, chowder and sandwiches, such as the Balsamic BBQ chicken sandwich. The sauces — tartar, Cherry Pepper tartar, Balsamic BBQ and Roasted Garlic Honey Mustard — will all be homemade, he said.

D'Angelo is incorporating ingredients from local farms and vendors, with all the milk for the ice cream coming from The Farmers' Cow Farms; codfish battered in beer from Fox Farm Brewery in Salem for fish and chips; and oysters from Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm for the Niantic Bay Oyster Po' Boy.

The ice cream selection will feature 12 different hand-crafted ice-cream flavors — with 11 stock flavors and a rotating "special" flavor — as well as soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes, sundaes and banana splits.

The hand-crafted ice cream flavors include chocolate; vanilla; mint ice cream with walnut brownies; "Cinn City," cinnamon with snickerdoodles and salted caramel; "Mango Point," a mango and coconut milk flavor; "King Louis," banana ice cream with peanut butter cookies; and "Coco Chanel," a coconut flavor with toasted shaved coconut. He said he'll see what customers like and then may switch up the varieties.

D'Angelo said he will spend the warmer weather months at the creamery until it closes for the season in late October and then return to the New London restaurant for the cooler months, typically a busier time for the restaurant.

He said he's "super excited" to open the new business in Niantic.

"I hope to make a lot of ice cream," he said.

k.drelich@theday.com

New signage indicates the change in ownership of the former Frosty Treat on Main Street in Niantic. Tony D'Angelo III, of Tony D's Restaurant in New London, will open Tony D's Craft Creamery there this spring. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
New signage indicates the change in ownership of the former Frosty Treat on Main Street in Niantic. Tony D'Angelo III, of Tony D's Restaurant in New London, will open Tony D's Craft Creamery there this spring. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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