Home Food + Drink Torico Ice Cream Celebrates 50 Years This Weekend

Torico Ice Cream Celebrates 50 Years This Weekend

by Lauren
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When you’ve reached Erie Street at the corner of Newark Avenue and the heavenly scent of fresh waffle cones hits you, that’s when you know Torico’s is right down the block. One glance at that pink sign and it’s DEF going to be a really good day. Torico Ice Cream in Jersey City houses delicious homemade flavors and this weekend it’s celebrating 50 years in business. To commemorate this milestone, the ice cream shop will be hosting a community party for its anniversary on Sunday, July 8th from 12:00PM-4:00PM. Here’s a bit more about the business:

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Originally opened by the Berrios family in 1968 as a deli, the original idea for Torico’s started with a pregnancy craving for tropical flavors, according to Christine Berrios, the daughter of Pura and Peter Berrios {the second generation of family to work in the store}. Inspired to create the same flavors found in their native Puerto Rico, Peter decided to start making ice cream using tamarind, passion fruit, and coconut — in the original hand crank machine that still stands in the store today {now used to collect charity donations}.

The ice cream at Torico, which loosely translates to Spanish slang for “todo rico” {meaning it’s all good} quickly grew into the main attraction in the mid-1970s, sold from the original side store counter, which is still there today.

“We had lines from the beginning,” Berrios says. “My father would spend hours in the kitchen crafting recipes,” she notes, stating that the kitchen was always full of coconuts, tamarind pods {shelling one of those bad boys is not the easiest, ya’ll} and passionfruit. The shop eventually phased out the deli and transitioned to the ice cream parlor that it is today, creating traditional and unique authentic flavors based on the preference of the community they served and that of the Berrios family.

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As for how the community has changed since the shop opened, “[Everyone has] always been supportive, with a wonderful neighborhood feel,” Berrios reflected, having worked full time at the shop since 2008 along with her three sisters and nephew. “The ice cream business is not what it used to be — you can have fun, be passionate, and make a career out of it now,” she shared, revealing that the staff at Torico’s is more like family. “When we hire, we make sure that a genuine spirit comes through because the customer feels that.” 

As for whether they will ever expand, Berrios says it’s to be determined. “We enjoy working together and we are looking at how we can all thrive and what’s right for us in terms of expansion,” she notes {not upset at the prospect of another location, jussayin’}.

In addition to the heavenly waffle cones, custom ice cream cakes, and the OG 3 flavors that started it all, Torico’s offers 100s of types of ice cream, with at least 50-60 flavors on rotation any given day. “People love coming in to sample the unique flavors,” Berrios says, noting that avocado, black sesame, and ube {purple yam} are currently on trend. “These flavors have been offered since the 80’s and are definitely having a resurgence.” The classics remain popular, including pound cake and cookie dough. “You can get the basic, well-executed flavors or something to challenge the palate,” Berrios described, detailing how everyone in the family experiments with creating new homemade flavors all the time {side note: best job in the world?}. “It’s cool to be in an industry that’s fun and lighthearted.”

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Sprinkle cone + mint chocolate chip = amaze

As for Sunday’s celebration, the main spirit of the event is to show appreciation for this community and former and current staff members. It’s a “big thank you,” she explained.

The event will have donation receptacles and proceeds will be matched by Torico’s for the Birthday Wish charity, an organization created by NJ Foster Care to make foster children feel special on their birthday. Taking up the whole block from First St. to Bay, the day will also include participation from local eateries like Talde, which will feature a special dessert with banana ice cream {and will donate proceeds from the dessert to the Birthday Wish charity as well}, in addition to participation from Burger Supreme and 9 Bar Café.

There will be stilt walkers, live music from Matty D, and free samples of the original flavors that started it all – coconut sherbet, tamarind sorbet, and passion fruit sorbet. “We’re having so much fun doing what we’re doing and happy customers love it,” Berrios says. As one of those happy customers here at HG, we truly can’t ask for more than that.

Will you be celebrating Torico’s 50 years? Let us know your favorite flavor in the comments below!

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