Local ice cream shops are opening for the season this month, signaling the start of spring and sprinkle-covered confections.
“It’s a big deal,” said Debra DiGiandomenico, owner of Les’ Dairy Bar on East Main Street in Meriden. “It feels good that people see it as the first sign of spring.”
The longtime soft serve shop opened Wednesday, two days earlier than expected. The day before opening, DiGiandomenico was working to clean and put together ice cream machines.
“There’s a lot of items, and you really don’t realize it when you’re in full swing,” DiGiandomenico said of preparations. “It’s just a case of filling this or filling that and you order one or two things when you need them, but the beginning of the season it’s tough to get everything organized.”
Sarah Atkinson, a Meriden resident and worker at the dairy bar, helped stock the counters full of toppings, cups, cones and spoons.
“They always tell me that they’re really happy that it’s open and they’ve been waiting all year,” Atkinson said of customer response.
Popular treats at Les’ include peanut butter parfaits, flurries and upside down banana splits, layered with sliced bananas, pineapple, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.
Other local frozen dessert shops that have opened for the season include Sweet Claude’s on Route 10 in Cheshire, Rita’s on Queen Street and Pat’s Main Street Ice Cream in Southington.
“It’s taking right off, they’re still coming in,” said Pat’s owner Patrick D’Agostino of the customer response after taking a winter hiatus. “I’m very excited about the season.”
He said amaretto cherry and cotton candy remain popular flavors.
Durham Dari Serv is expected to open for the season on Friday.
“The phone rings non-stop,” said owner Bob Pavlick of customer anticipation. “I have a lot of new flavors and a new group of employees I’m excited about.”
He said he will announce the flavors as the season progresses.
“It’s pretty much busy regardless of the weather; nice, rainy, snowy, it doesn’t matter,” DiGiandomenico said of the Les’ Dairy Bar hype. “I can’t wait.”