A longtime gathering spot and place to grab a sweet treat is abuzz once again, as the Palmyra Tasty Freeze serves up ice cream, shakes and other goodies at the familiar spot on Main Street, following an extremely successful opening Sunday, July 16.
Owner Paul Rogers said that customers having their taxes prepared at TLB Tax Services next door, which is owned by his wife, Tammy, regularly asked about reopening the Tasty Freeze — a spot that offered a first job for many Palmyra youth, the gathering spot for families and class reunions and the spot in town to buy a cold treat during summer. Rogers said the Tasty Freeze would have been open sooner, but the couple poured months of work into the building to get everything just right. After they made one post through Facebook, the opening day brought in about 600 customers, Rogers said.
"We’re so thankful for how people have embraced it," Rogers said.
Paul and Tammy Rogers conducted trials with five or six different ice creams before coming across the right ingredients. The couple constantly fine-tunes recipes for new floats, freezes, fusions and their upcoming iced coffees. Rogers said they enjoy experimenting and adapting to what customers like the most, but he said getting to that point was not easy.
Rogers said grease was everywhere in the former grill area, and it had seeped through the 20 layers of paint covering the floor. He had to use a razor blade to scrape the paint and grease by hand, sometimes only clearing a small patch in one day. The Rogers were able to reuse two containers for hot fudge, but nothing else could be salvaged. They performed extensive renovations to the building and purchased all the necessary equipment for the summertime menu items they serve —including a Flavor Burst ice cream machine that infuses thin streams of colorful syrup into the ice cream.
Since opening day, patrons of all ages are once again gathering at a business that has meant much more to them than ice cream — first dates, family traditions, gathering after a summer ballgame. Rogers said he realized just how much of a community center the Tasty Freeze was in years past — and how it is once again serving that summertime role in the Flower City.
"I knew this place was important to the sense of community, Rogers said. "The other night — last Thursday — I looked out, and I’ll bet we had 60, 70 people just visiting. One lady, when I called out her order, it took her a few minutes to come pick it up, and she said ‘Oh I’m sorry, I was busy talking. I haven’t talked to those people in probably two years."
Thursday evening, families and friends were sipping shakes, eating ice cream and socializing with one another. Penny Hustead brought her grandsons and neighbor along. She just moved back to Palmyra, but she said she knew about the history of people meeting at the Tasty Freeze when she worked in town for 14 years. She said she enjoyed the new chance to share the experience with loved ones. Her grandson, fifth grader Will Hustead sat down with a large vanilla ice cream cone, and neighbor Kacelyn Flachs, first grade, smiled as she clutched her first treat from Palmyra Tasty Freeze, a chocolate ice cream cone.
"It’s a nice get-together, a good place for good ice cream," she said. A few tables over, Palmyra High School graduates Jordyn Price and Karissa Dietrich agreed.
Price said and she really enjoyed her ice cream, noting her stepdad and all of his family were "really excited for it to open, because it’s been around for so long."
"I just remember when we never had an ice cream place, and all of my friends were like ‘we wish Tasty Freeze would come back open,’" Dietrich said. "I don’t know how many times we said that. We never had an ice cream, and now it’s back. We’re all pretty happy."
Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org