Teamwork at Luigi’s Ice Cream: one person holds an open table (left) while another waits on line to order. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


In Red Bank on a late-spring Saturday night, musicians, locals and tourists fill the sidewalks, and PieHole is right there with them. First we catch a whiff of pizza, fresh out of the oven, and then of something sweet. The scene is festive, and we’re hungry.

Stopping to listen to buskers performing Irish songs, we meet a group of teenage girls holding plates of donuts covered with sprinkles. In unison, they tell us that these are no ordinary donuts, and that the place to be right now is around the corner on Broad Street. So we head over to Luigi’s Ice Creamwhere we find a throng of gourmet-minded folks of all ages seeking out their next sugar high.

Oreo crumbles grace a donut, above. Below, local ladies were in a giggling mood, thanks to their “creamy buns” filled with ice cream and topped with rainbow sprinkles. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

There’s a subtle, honey-scented air about the place that seems to elicit smiles from everyone walking by. If heaven has an aroma, this is how it will smell.

The line at Luigi’s snaked out the door and onto a covered patio area. Every seat along the rustic brick wall of the shop’s interior was taken, but no one was complaining. According to those we spoke with, they were happy to experience a new taste sensation, and elated to have another place in town where teens and tweens are welcome.

To some the “creamy bun” ($8) is a new concept in desserts, so the line goes a little slowly. We ask pastry chef Amanda Benczkowski to take the confusion out of the ordering process for us.

Unique ice cream flavors such as Nutella, strawberry mojito, coconut pecan brownie, lemon cake, s’mores, and cereal milk (the favorite of many) are your first choice. A fresh glazed donut is sliced in half, and crunchy toppings such as Pebbles Cereal and Oreo crumbles are sprinkled on the bottom. This is then topped with two scoops of ice cream and the upper half of the donut.

The filled donut is then heated on a panini press — just long enough to warm and melt the glaze, without melting the ice cream. Not finished, the whole thing is crowned with yet more toppings and served with a complimentary glove.

Luigi’s Ice Cream is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. on the weekend.