Cedar Grove has pizza. Cedar Grove has Chinese takeout. Cedar Grove has bagels. But the one thing Cedar Grove hasn’t had in a while is its own ice cream place. Enter BatchMakers, an unassuming treasure trove of homemade deliciousness.
I stopped in recently for a chat with co-owner Joe Gasparino, who opened the shop in mid-April with his wife, Kristie (both Cedar Grove natives). They decided to go for it last fall, at which point Joe enrolled in a program at Ice Cream University (based in West Orange), where he learned some tricks of the trade under ice cream industry guru and author Malcolm Stogo.
The shop’s blue and white décor has the fresh, airy feel you might find at a beachside location. Gasparino spends a good portion of our chat mentioning, with gratitude, all the ways their friends helped get the place up and running within about two months from the day they got the keys. It was even a personal friend who designed the welcoming BatchMakers logo. (Fun BatchMakers trivia: Gasparino happily confesses to “stealing” the color scheme from a friend’s bathroom.)
The most popular flavor is Red Velvet Cupcake, and after having my own taste, I can see why. The oh-so-real chunks of red velvet cake (baked in-house) give the ice cream its bubblicious-pink hue and the icing on the cake is truly, well, the icing on the cake. Joe makes all of the ice cream himself, and the 16% butterfat content gives it a rich, smooth texture.
My first visit to BatchMakers was on a sunny afternoon, and while I was there I witnessed several groups of kids come in for an after-school snack, a family stop in for a few pints on their way out of town for the weekend (yes, they had a cooler in the car, and no, they weren’t going too far), and a woman looking to order a custom ice cream cake. At the time, the shop was participating in a one-night-a-week fundraiser to support Cedar Grove’s Memorial Middle School, and according to Joe, they’re always open to new ideas to help support the community. In the times I’ve passed by Batchmakers since that first visit, I’ve been happy to see a steady stream of guests enjoying their ice cream out on the newly-built patio.
Gasparino keeps two low-fat ice cream flavors available at all times, as well as frozen yogurt. And while all the basics are always on hand, the menu is also sprinkled with a number of off-the-beaten-path flavors. He reveals, “The Double Coffee Caramel Chip, that was a mistake. I wanted to make a half batch of coffee, but I measured out the coffee for a whole batch. I didn’t want to waste it, so I said, ok, and people loved it. It was actually called Coffee Mistake when I first put it out.” That might be the next one I try. Or perhaps it’ll be Peanut Butter Explosion. I guess I’ll just have to keep going back!
481 Pompton Ave.
Keep your eyes peeled for a roundup of ice cream destinations all over the state, coming soon on Jersey Bites!
Rachel Bozek is a freelance writer and editor based in suburban Essex County. She grew up in Bergen County, and has lost track of how much time she’s spent on LBI and in the Wildwoods. Her search for the perfect pancake continues. www.rachelbozek.com