coolinside5_062510Things get downright icy this week when Cool Inside, a redbankgreen summer series featuring chilled and frozen delectable edibles,  scales the three peaks of a simple yet satisfying treat from right here in Red Bank.

What is it called?
Red, white and blue ice.

$3.25 for a large dish, $2.50 for a large squeeze cup, $2 for a small squeeze cup.

Where is it sold?
The Lighthouse / Strollo’s Homemade Italian Ice
64 Bridge Avenue (the juncture with Shrewsbury Avenue at the south end of the Cooper Bridge)
Red Bank, NJ 07701

What’s in it?
Lemon, cherry and blue raspberry ices.

It’s all “home-made,” says owner Kevin Valerio, with “water, sugar, and other ingredients from a recipe that’s been in the family for a very long time. It goes in liquid, and it comes out ice.”

Who created it?
“It’s been around forever, since day one,” Valerio says. Company founder Ray Strollo, “started out with lemon, orange, cherry and chocolate.” In recent years, Valerio and his former partner, Jimmy Callano, added more flavors that they developed by trial and error.

“One of huge sellers: peanut butter ice,” Valerio says. “It used to be a flavor of the week, but it was just so popular, now we have it every day.” A lot of customers get it with the chocolate ice.

Is there a story behind it?
One day while they were shooting hoops, Strollo’s nephew, Callano, offered 13-year-old Valerio a summer job in the original Long Branch store, opposite Seven Presidents Park. He took it, liked it and stuck around.

Callano and Valerio bought the business from the aging Strollo, and in 1996, opened the Red Bank location. Valerio was just 21 at the time. He later became sole owner.

Callano owns the Long Branch store, and the two men are partners in another Lighthouse, in the West End section of Long Branch.

What’s great about the ice? What makes it stand out?
The fact that it’s fat-free appeals to the weight-conscious, but “it’s just very refreshing,” Valerio says. “I see the same faces four, five times a week here. You can get an ice and not feel like you just ate 3,000 calories. I eat it all day long. It’s not something you get tired of.”

Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind:
If this product didn’t exist, life would be: “horrible!” (Kevin)