Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: A LITERALLY COOL, ICY SPRING

lighthouse-500x356-2154071Friday is opening day for Red Bank’s Lighthouse Italian Ice. Owner Kevin Valerio gives PieHole the scoop. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

lighthouse-3-220x157-4081810Like a neon-lit crocus busting through the asphalt island at the juncture of Bridge Ave and Rector Place in Red Bank, the annual re-opening of Lighthouse Italian Ice is a sure sign that this awful winter is almost behind us.

Closed since Halloween, Lighthouse reopens Friday. PieHole stopped by to check in with owner Kevin Valerio to get the scoop on opening day.

“With this winter we’ve had, people are dying to get out,” says Valerio.

Indeed, Valerio tells PieHole that as he’s been working at the store getting ready to open for the past week, drivers are honking their horns and waving at him.

“People have been calling all week to see if we’re opened,” he says. “They are ready to get out.”

Valerio, 40, who opened the Red Bank store in 1996, shuts down Lighthouse every year for about four months, always reopening in early March. The break allows him to spend time with his wife and daughters Maia, age 9, and Jules, 7, at home in Long Branch.

“A lot of people think I shut my doors and go to Florida for the four months that we’re closed every year, but it’s not like that,” says Valerio.  “When we’re closed, I’m a bit of a Mr. Mom,” he says.

Valerio’s wife, Chrissy, owns a Shrewsbury workout studio, the Bar Method.

“She’s very busy, so I try to make myself available for those four months that we’re closed, because once we open, it’s go time, seven days a week,” he says. “I miss out on a lot of things with my family during that time.”

Valerio’s daughters start hounding him weeks in advance to get the store opened up. He tells PieHole that all the kids in the area have a sixth sense about the opening.

“The kids are amazing, they know before the parents as soon as we open.”

Lighthouse has a dozen ice flavors and three ice cream selections: vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the week. (Tip: keep an eye out for the Nutella.) With all those flavors, Lighthouse regulars know it’s all about the combinations.

Valerio tells PieHole that the first four machines – lemon, blue raspberry, cherry and orange – are called “the rainbow.”

“The kids go crazy over that,” he says.

And of course, there’s the vanilla ice cream and orange ice standby. But PieHole wanted to know about some of the more questionable combos Valerio’s seen.

“Oh, it happens all the time, kids ordering crazy stuff,” he says. “We’ll get some kid at the counter who will order blue raspberry ice with chocolate ice cream, and then they’ll ask for some strawberry sauce on it. While they’re ordering, the parents are looking at them like ‘that’s disgusting’ but the kids love it.”

Valerio says that kids try to outdo one another and come up with combinations that no one’s ever done before so that they can say “I came up with that.”

The kids who work the windows at The Lighthouse take the crazy orders in stride. Valerio is proud of the talented workers he has, and tells PieHole that he’ll probably hand out 50 applications this weekend to kids who want to work the counter.

“I always get compliments on how nice my workers are,” he says. “It’s not like some of these other places you go and the kids don’t smile and they have no personality.”

Valerio says that beginning Friday,  Lighthouse will be open seven days a week, 12p .m to 10 p.m. every day. Once it warms up a bit, it will be open from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. every night.

 

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
VOLUNTEERS GET INTO THE WEEDS
Toting plastic trash bags, 51 volunteers conducted a walking litter cleanup on Red Bank's West Side Saturday.
“IT’S A PARTY AT WAWA!”
You wish you could vibe like Brian, who lives on the other side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He caught redbankgreen’s attention in Red B ...
POPE OKS ORATORY
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: NEW MURAL BRIGHTENS CORNER
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
TULIPS TOGETHER
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.