PUTTING A CHERRY ON THIS THING

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Today, redbankgreen wraps up its Cool Inside series (yes, we’re early; see below for explanation). But we’re going out with a bang, literally putting a cherry on top with a visit to Cherry On Top in Sea Bright.

What is it?
Hot Fudge Brownie Treat

Price?
One size, $5.

Where is it sold?
Cherry On Top
1144 Ocean Avenue
Sea Bright, NJ 07760
732.758.9322

Why is this place, a Sea Bright fixture now in its sixth year, called Cherry On Top? Well, what else would you call an ice cream stand owned by Kathi & Will Cherry, who happen to live upstairs?

Cherry offspring Kyle, 24, Billy, 16, and Kayla, 12, also work the window. “She’s really it,” Kathi says of her daughter. “She runs the register, she’s done it since she was little, and everybody gets a giant kick out of her. A lot of people stop by just to visit Kayla at the window.”

What’s in it?
A homemade fudge brownie laid in a cup; hot fudge; Welsh Farms soft vanilla ice cream; more hot fudge; whipped cream; a maraschino cherry and sprinkles.

What’s the story behind it?
What’s magical about this dish is the brownie. Kathi makes it from scratch, using cocoa powder, from a recipe by her late grandmother, Tessie Rowan, of Atlantic Highlands.

“She was a baker extraordinaire, she really was,” Kathi says. “She made cookies and cakes and pies out of her house, and I delivered them as a child around town to her friends for birthdays and special events. She lived into her nineties.”

What’s great about it?
“Everything I make is made with love. Everything,” says Kathi. “And I make sure it goes out the window looking just 100 percent. I don’t push anything out that isn’t up to my standards.”

Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind:
If this product didn’t exist, life would be: “Tasteless” (Will Cherry) “Uneventful, because it’s a very eventful delicacy.” (Kathi Cherry)

Editor’s note: redbankgreen had intended to run this series through Labor Day, but it turns out there just aren’t as many independent frozen dessert purveyors in our coverage area as we’d assumed.

Sure, we could have included chain stores, franchises and other places that simply distribute stuff made elsewhere, but… yawn. Anyway, that simply doesn’t fit with our hyperlocal focus. Our intention was to call out the mom-and-pops doing something original, and we’re delighted to have met those who are doing just that.

To readers who’ve enjoyed this feature, thank you, and please patronize the places we’ve called out. They’re all family-run and make absolutely terrific desserts.

Here are the places we visited, with links to the Cool Inside feature on each:

LaRosa’s Bakery, Shrewswbury: Ice-cream cannoli

Gracie & the Dudes, Sea Bright: Frozen Cranberry Lemonade and Frozen Hot Chocolate

Hoffman’s Ice Cream, Little Silver: Oreo Pie

The Lighthouse /Strollo’s Homemade Italian Ice, Red Bank: Red, White & Blue Ice

Crazee’s Institute of Fine Ice Cream and Nuts, Rumson: Homemade waffle cone

Frozsürt, Red Bank: Frozen yogurt with fruit toppings

Ryan’s Homemade Ice Cream, Tinton Falls: Pralines and Cream Ice Cream Cone

Broadway Diner, Red Bank: Black & White Milkshake