NORTH BRUNSWICK — What do you get when you cross a lawyer, a geologist and a transportation logistic expert? A chocolate sundae and a cappuccino.
The answer is North Brunswick’s first ice cream parlor/coffee lounge with some of the most unique products around.
Township residents Dennis Dodge, his wife Laura, and their longtime friend Scott Krumholz didn’t quit their day jobs. They just decided to combine their ideas and talents into a new venture for the community and opened an Emack & Bolio’s franchise at 2313 Route 1 in the Regal Cinema Mall.
"Living here, we noticed that there really isn’t a place for kids and adults to relax, so we’re offering the unique balance of ice cream and coffee, along with a variety of other quality products, in an atmosphere that is both fun and relaxing," Dennis Dodge said.
Although Emack & Bolio’s slogan boasts "Ice cream and coffee for the connoisseur," the shop also offers smoothies, breakfast, a juice bar, and loose teas.
Recognizing the growing trend toward natural living, Dodge said all of the shop’s products are made with the freshest and finest all-natural ingredients.
Emack & Bolio’s ice cream, made fresh every week, uses the highest quality extracts and ingredients, according to the shop owners. The ice cream does not contain added dyes or milk from cows injected with the genetically induced hormone bst, they said.
The local store is part of a chain of 36 Emack and Bolio’s locations.
"All of the stores are independently owned, so the control upon us is limited," Krumholz said. "We buy the ice cream directly from the founder, who makes it to order, but otherwise we can sell other products, anything we want."
The founder of the company, Bob Rook, who still oversees the selection and quality of the various products the stores sell, started out as a lawyer for musicians.
Rook said he started Emack & Bolio’s in 1975 in Boston on Newbury Street as a place where musicians could go to "mellow out and satisfy their munchies after gigs."
Rook named the place after two musicians he worked for at the time and continues to name the ice cream flavors after famous musicians.
At the local store you can find Deep Purple Cow, black raspberry ice cream with white and dark chocolate chips, and the signature flavor Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple.
With over 200 flavors to chose from, the new shop has exotic and original flavors delivered each week, shipped direct from the company’s headquarters in the Boston area.
The Dodges’ and Krumholz’s favorite flavors include Almond Joy, which tastes like the candy bar, and Caramel Moose Prints, which is vanilla ice cream with marshmallows and white chocolate chunks.
Sundaes are topped with homemade hot fudge and real whipped cream.
Emack & Bolio’s also offers a number of "ultimate smoothies" that include ingredients like fruit, nonfat yogurt, and vitamin and herbal supplements.
Dodge said it wasn’t hard for them to decide what brand of coffee to sell after they tasted Rook’s special brew. The coffee is fresh ground and organic, brewed with filtered water to ensure the best taste, according to Dodge.
The shop offers espresso, cappuccino, steamers, and chai teas among many other specialty coffee and tea drinks.
To celebrate the grand opening this weekend, Emack & Bolio’s will serve one free cup of coffee to each customer from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 11.
Early risers can stop in and enjoy breakfast at the shop, including fresh-baked muffins, croissants, egg sandwiches, coffee, and juice from the juice bar.
Customers can choose from a variety of fruit and vegetable juices, including fresh squeezed orange, apple, carrot, celery and beet.
"Business has been good since we opened," Dodge said. "This place just makes sense for the public."
Dodge said he enjoys conversing with the many repeat customers he’s already getting to know.
"We have the folks who come in here for breakfast and to read the newspaper every day," Dodge said. "Every Friday night, members of the rescue squad come in here to relax in the coffee lounge."
The three owners said the enterprise has been a community effort since the initial planning phases began last October.
"Everyone, from town officials to the inspectors, has been very supportive and helpful," Dodge said. "We believe in helping the community because they have been, and will continue, helping us."
Emack & Bolio’s has already helped to raise funds for Johnson & Johnson’s Cancer Walk and North Brunswick’s soccer club. The owners also look forward to implementing a rewards program for elementary school students who achieve the honor roll.