• July 17, 2019

Ice cream shop puts the cool back in Tuckahoe - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Ice cream shop puts the cool back in Tuckahoe

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 3:50 pm

TUCKAHOE — A town without an ice cream shop is a sad sight at the shore. 

After years without a designated ice cream shop, the Tuckahoe section of Upper Township now has one, Tuckahoe Ice Creama. 

The new store, which opened in early June, offers 28 flavors of ice cream in addition to soft-serve ice cream and water ice. Flavors include frozen hot chocolate, sweet and salty kettle corn, s’mores, peanut butter pie, cake and ice cream, cotton candy confetti, strawberry, monster cookie, banana and more. Ice cream can also be purchased by the pint or quart. 

Patrons can choose bowls, cones or a handmade waffle cone. Some waffle cones include sprinkles or a chocolate sea salt dip around the top. 

These treats can be enhanced with any of the store’s 40 toppings, which range from blueberries to chopped Kit Kats to apple dessert. 

Tuckahoe Ice Creama also has a few unique specialties, such as Ray’s River Log — a waffle cone with soft serve ice cream in the middle and marshmallows on both ends. The River Log is dipped in chocolate. 

There is also the Tuckahoe River Monster, a homemade waffle cone with ice cream and Twinkies in it, and Rocco’s Taco, a waffle cone with ice cream inside, dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. 

Ice cream sandwiches, made with homemade chocolate chip cookies, are also available, as are Tuckahoe Twisters, soft serve ice cream mixed with a choice of candy.

There is also a doughnut placed in a waffle cone, then warmed and topped with ice cream, and chocolate dipped bananas. 

This is owner Ray Leps’ first foray into the ice cream business, although Leps said it felt like they were open for years because of how they feel about their customers and how their customers feel about them. 

So far, their clientele includes mostly area residents and visitors from nearby campgrounds. 

Leps grew up in Upper Township but has split his time between Georgia and New Jersey.  

Tuckahoe Ice Creama is a family business. The store is housed in a building owned by Leps’ brother, and Leps’ granddaughters came from Georgia to work in the business for the summer season. 

He said they received help from family friends, including Rose and Rocco Arno, and their supplier, Island Ice Cream, to open the business. 

“I love the area,” Leps said about returning to his hometown. “I like the rivers and the beaches, the subs, hoagies.”

In Leps’ opinion, the Tuckahoe section of the township is making a comeback after years with fewer businesses. 

“I feel like it’s Tuckahoe’s time to shine because it did at one time,” he said. “It has a beautiful history and it’s coming back again.”

It took about a year of work, on and off, to ready the building before the store opened. 

Today, the interior includes decorative stone on the walls, a model of an airplane carrying a sign that reads “Tuckahoe Ice Creama” and indoor seating. There also is seating outside.  

By the front counter is an ice cream holder where customers can put their cones to make it easier when paying for their products. 

Outside, there is a tiki hut-style roof on the side of the building, and there is a separate tiki hut-style covering in front of the store with seating underneath. 

Although Leps is new to the ice cream business, he is not a new business owner. He owned a thrift shop in Georgia and also worked as a mason. 

He is also no stranger to adversity.  

Thirty-five years ago, Leps suffered an accident while working that resulted in burns on much of his body, an eight-month stay in the hospital and another few years of recovery before returning to work. He has volunteered and worked with others who suffered burns and will talk to them about his experiences. 

“It’s never held me down or back from anything,” he said about the accident. 

When asked what he likes about the ice cream business, Leps answered quickly. 

“The people,” he said, “the people are great.”

Leps also felt he has a flair for the job. 

“I’m good at it. … Whatever I make, I always put something extra in it. I ask people first, ‘Can I touch it up?’ and then if they say ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ and I’ll put something a little extra in it. We take pride in doing what we do,” he said. 

They can create whatever customers want. 

Leps said one customer came in and asked for something tropical, so he made a concoction with coconut, pineapple, ice cream, marshmallows and a cherry on top. 

Customers can ask for their own favorite combination at Tuckahoe Ice Creama at 1971 Route 50 in the Tuckahoe section of Upper Township. It is open from noon to 10 p.m. daily. To reach the store, call (609) 701-0955. 

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