Bruster's/Nathan's offers ice cream, hot dogs and more
"I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream."
It's a well-traveled, familiar verse from an old song that conveys the pleasure most of us feel when we think about eating that frozen treat.
And it's what John Smith, co-owner of Bruster's Real Ice Cream, hopes will draw customers to his store on Danbury Road (Route 7) in New Milford.
Mr. Smith and his wife, Bettianne, opened the Pennsylvania-based franchise last August, and own the only Bruster's Real Ice Cream in Connecticut.
"By the end of the summer, I want everyone to know we are here," Mr. Smith said. "Once they try the ice cream, they will come back."
The Smiths made the decision to purchase the franchise after enjoying the ice cream for several years when they stopped at a Bruster's in Pennsylvania while on their way to visit family in Virginia.
A wide variety of flavors with exotic names like "Almond Divinity" (almond ice cream with marshmallow and almonds) or "Coffee Cake Streusel" (caffeinated coffee ice cream with cinnamon vanilla cake crunch and cinnamon caramel swirls) makes Bruster's a unique ice cream shop.
There are, in fact, more than 120 flavors made freshly at every Bruster's Real Ice Cream shop. Usually 34 flavors are available on the menu each day.
Taking a break from making up a batch of cake batter ice cream (mixed with icing and sprinkles), Mr. Smith noted that all of the ice cream, waffle cones, cakes and pies are made on site.
"The cakes are made to order and are decorated by my wife," Mr. Smith said.
The Smiths, who have lived in New Milford for 18 years, have two children, John, 11, and Becky, 16, who works in the store.
A number of students from nearby New Milford High School work at Bruster's, Mr. Smith said.
Bruster's Real Ice Cream was founded in 1989 by Bruce Reed in Bridgewater, Pa., and there are now 235 Bruster's franchises throughout the country.
Bruster's also sells Nathan's Famous hot dogs (and hot dog nuggets), chicken tenders and French fries.
Mr. Smith related that the warm food has been a good way to attract customers, especially during the winter months.
Now with warmer weather, he expects business to pick up considerably.
Seasonal flavors like "Creamsicle," as well as peach and black raspberry, will be added to the menu alongside Bruster's bestsellers like "Graham Central Station" (made with graham ice cream, graham cracker and chocolate flakes) and the traditional mint chocolate chip.
Mr. Smith said the menu always includes at least one peanut butter ice cream, as well as coconut, coffee, cheesecake, and cake batter ice creams. Bruster's also makes sundaes, splits and blasts.
"Graham Central Station" is Mr. Smith's flavor of choice, but he has tasted every ice cream flavor.
"I'm supposed to taste every kind when I make it. And I take that very seriously," he said with a smile.
Bruster's Real Ice Cream is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 370 Danbury Road (Route 7) in New Milford. For special orders, call 860-799-7722.