RED BANK: COOLING OFF AT THE LIGHTHOUSE

Twilight at Strollo’s Lighthouse finds pint-sized customers getting their chill on. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Winding down the summer, PieHole seeks out a cooling oasis at the end of an oppressively hot and humid day and finds sweet reward at Strollo’s Lighthouse in Red Bank.

Wedged, literally, at the junction of Rector Place, Bridge Avenue and Riverside Avenue, the ice cream shop is a beacon to behold at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge.
 Locals Justyn Plaskon and Eve Ross ordering refreshments from Lauren Walker. Below, one of the most popular items is a cup of vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Dressed in flip-flops and shorts like most everyone else on this sultry evening, we line up at the window to choose a frozen confection and mingle with like-minded locals. At the counter, we go for a pina colada: no booze, just peaks of pineapple and coconut Italian ice swirled together in a paper squeezy cup. Brain freeze ensues and the heat outside is forgotten.

“I’m always excited for summer,” Eve Ross says, as she dips her tongue into the chocolate sprinkles coating her peanut butter Italian ice. “This is a must stop for us.”

Up next, Justyn Plaskon orders a pistachio shake. He likes to keep it simple and stick to one flavor at a time.

Apparently, so does the next little customer, who can’t even see over the counter. He’ll have a “blue Italian ice, like my sister,” he shouts. The ice is actually a raspberry flavor, and within minutes his lips and tongue are the color of Cookie Monster.

“What is the most creative item ever ordered?” we ask servers Danielle Smith and Lauren Walker.

“I’ve been working here all summer, and mostly it’s normal stuff,”Walker says, “but once this guy ordered a dish of all the Italian ice flavors mixed together. And then he wanted hot fudge, candy and sprinkles on it.”

“Peanut butter and lemon ice,” Smith shudders, “and a coke. That was a weird combination.”

Metal picnic tables on either side of the building and benches offer customers a place to sit, watch the traffic go by and cool off, because Strollo’s is strictly outdoors.

Strollo’s Lighthouse is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week during the summer.

SUSAN-ERICSON

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