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Roc-Star Ice Cream & Eatery makes ice cream and summer memories

Posted 7/31/22

July is National Ice Cream Month, no better time to visit a local drive-in, lured by the aromas, sights, and sounds of the season; a place where passers-by can’t help but stop and neighbors can’t …

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Roc-Star Ice Cream & Eatery makes ice cream and summer memories

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July is National Ice Cream Month, no better time to visit a local drive-in, lured by the aromas, sights, and sounds of the season; a place where passers-by can’t help but stop and neighbors can’t wait to gather, knowing when the big bright umbrellas open up over those picnic tables, spring is here and summer is coming! 

While the Mohawk Valley could host an ice cream crawl with all the drive-ins and seasonal scoops it boasts, the historic Village of Waterville takes the cream with a local dairy farmer who graduated from Penn State University’s “Ice Cream School,” then came home and took making milk up a notch by transforming it into “home” made ice cream.

Robert “Roc” Langone owned and operated Roc-Star Dairy for a quarter of a century before trading in cows for cones and milk for cream when he opened his first ice cream shop in 2001. Roc-Star Ice Cream and Eatery has committed ever since to using “the freshest ingredients” to “make the finest ice creams and food.”

Roc-Star sits on a shallow hill beyond the Waterville Green where a colorful sign featuring a cartoon cow wearing pink shades and one earring engraved “Rocky” marks the spot. This simple roadside stand offers a peck of picnic tables while a funky, rock-a-dellic-theme makes the indoor dining room as fun as the food. Long lines of locals patiently wait for a summer scoop or supper, maybe one of “Roc’s Famous Burgers,” some fried chicken, or their famous Friday Fish Fry, which they “serve till it’s gone.”

Then there’s the ice cream. Langone sells his signature “Roc-and-Rollwiches” year-round to school cafeterias, colleges, restaurants, and retail stores. He and a small staff make the chocolate chip cookies - and the ice cream - from scratch. Langone shares that using less air to whip the cream and then quickly freezing it at minus-40 degrees is the process that creates the “decadent, premium ice cream” Roc-Star is a legend for churning. 

You taste the burgers before your first bite when you catch that char-grilled whiff wafting on a summer wind. Trick up the Broaster chicken sandwich with a few fresh slices of perfectly crisped bacon. Indulge in a milkshake and sip Roc’s homemade, hand-dipped chocolate ice cream through a straw. Take that first taste of Baileys Irish Ice Cream and wonder whether there oughtta be a law against it. It’s really that good.

But more than the ice cream, the burgers, or the fries is the visit to this place amid the farms and fields of upstate. A double-date of seniors chats over hot dogs while a young couple swings a toddler between them to pass the time in line. The corn is growing higher on the horizon as the sweet scent of hay laces the lazy air. The greatest treat of all might be the moment when that dad bent down to hand his daughter, no higher than two feet and no more than three years, a small cone covered with rainbow sprinkles … watching her face burst with amazement at the sight of it as she reached up to grab it. Whether that young family made a spontaneous stop on a Sunday drive or walked up the road from home, they are manifest in what makes drive-ins so special.

Roc makes more than food and ice cream every season from late April through September, he makes memories. Like a glimpse at a little girl’s face as she furrows it into those rainbow sprinkles made clear, he makes good on his promise that this is a place where “everyone feels like a star.”

Roc-Star Ice Cream and Eatery is located at 268 Sanger Ave. in Waterville.

Restaurant hours are 4 to 8 p.m. April through September. Catering and ice cream are sold year-round.

Find and follow Roc-Star Ice Cream and Eatery on Facebook or at www.rocstarfoods.com

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