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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
May 23, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 23, 1997
 

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CAPE GAZE'rYE, Friday, May 23 - May 29, 1997 - 59 King's Ice Cream has the scoop, celebrating 25th anniversary By Rosanne Pack "One scoop or two? Will that be a plain or a sugar cone?" In an era of computer software, internet, virtual reality games and nouveau cuisine, some tried and true tradi- tions of the Cape Region remain cool and current, and cause the competition to chill out. King's Ice Cream is coming up on a 25th Anniversary, and con- noisseurs from Harbeson to Hagerstown, from Washington, D.C. to White House Beach, will raise a cone in celebration and thanks for the decades of pleasure the King family has dished up for all ages. Since first serving up ice cream in the original shop in Milton 25 years ago, King's Ice Cream has earned awards and mentions in "The Best of ..." publications and competitions. However, year after year, the most visible vote of con- fidence comes when the line stretches out the door and fills the front porch of the Lewes store, as it does, night after summer night on Second Street. Many years ago, Earl King said, "If you're going to make ice cream, make a good one." And, with that simple philoso- phy, Earl and his son Tom have made a good one, now in 16 fla- vors, for long enough to qualify as one of the oldest continuously op- erating family businesses in Sus- sex County. Earl bought a small general gro- that much competition for the gro- cery business in Milton, but as other groceries opened, he had no problem phasing out that end of the business. "He experimented with flavors of ice cream, and the reputation grew." As Earl experimented, he could taste success when he reached it, and the recipe remained in his head. He could repeat it flawless- ly, over and over again. Heartfelt recipes "Then my father had a heart at- tack," Tom said. "We realized the recipes weren't written down, so I had to go into intensive care and get him to tell me what they were. "He was all hooked up to IV tubes and oxygen, and I'm sitting there, writing down ice cream recipes. The intensive care nurses didn't appreciate it; I really got some looks." Happily, the elder King recov- ered and went on to mix more ice cream. The son bought out the fa- ther several years ago; and Earl is "mostly retired-" now. Tom carries on the business and the tradition. He didn't set out to have a career in cones, and he worked for a large corporation in the area after he graduated from college. But even then, he frequently worked in the Milton store in the evenings and came to know the routine of many of their out-of-state cus- tomers. cery-deli in Milton in 1972, Tom "A stop in Miltonwas 0ften the opened the Lewes store in 1981,! ..irst ne ttll"its  ihad i6, ;" and from there, the Kings have carved their place in the annals of ice cream history. The Milton general store offered six or seven flavors in 1972, and within the next two years, the patriarch had tested and tasted the number of flavors up to 16. "My dad had no idea what he was getting into when he bought the store in Milton," Tom King said. "He left a large corporation, and wanted to own his own busi- ness. At that time, there was not Delaware beforethey checked in- to their beach houses, and it was their last stop before the Bay Bridge as they left," King said. Since his days as a part-timer for his dad until now when he runs the business full-time, he has seen generations come up as customers and as employees. "A really neat thing is when the kids that we've hired over the years come back in with their kids," he said. "We've had lots of Cape Henlopen High kids here, summer after summer; our chocolate chip makes a strong friends' kids, then their brothers showing in the warmer months. and sisters." Until very recently, he and his King feels that the ice cream father were the only ones who business hasn't changed much made the ice cream. With his fa- over the years. Vanilla is still the ther's retirement, Tom is breaking biggest seller even though mint in another ice cream maker. "We kept doing the actual mix- ing so we were assured of keeping the quality up," he said. The stores will sell more than 150 gallons a day in the summer, and occasionally, a store will run Continued on page 60 O0 o o 0o STOCK UP FOR THE WEEKEND! Order Ready Made  By The Pound SUBS, DELl Boar00QHead Brand Premium Meats & Cheeses By The Pound Party Trays  Salads  Over Stuffed Sandwiches Rosanne Pack photo Double dipping has kept people in the Cape Region coming to King's Ice Cream for 25 years. Owner/operator Tom King offers a cool toast to 25 more years of a continued chilly suc- cessful reception. 227-SUBS (7827) Rt. 1 Lighthouse Plaza (next to K-Mart) * Featuring Lulgis Dell gon.oThurs. 9 - 9:30. Fri. & Sat. 9 - 10. Sun. 10 - 8 Or visit our other location on Rt. 24 - Peddler's Village 945-8300 Tues..Thurs. 9 - 8. Fri. & Sat. 9 - 10 p.m. Sun. & Mon. 9 - 8 Taste What Eveqo.e's Ta.d.gAbouU