It's New to Us by Jean Stratton

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CREAMY CONCOCTIONS: "We are not just selling ice cream. Peggy Sue's is a place to be. Ice cream is the icing on the cake!" Sue Kleinschmidt, second from left, is the owner of Peggy Sue's Ice Cream in Lawrenceville. Shown with her are employees Matt Miller, Mike Filandro, and Casey O'Sullivan.

Peggy Sue's Popular Ice Cream Parlor Scoops Ice Cream Amidst 1950s Theme

Ice cream and summer are a true match. This carefree combination is a staple in nearly everyone's childhood. Whether you chased the Good Humor truck, stopped in for a cone and sprinkles at the beach, or hurried home with a freshly packed quart for dessert, the memories linger.

Peggy Sue's Ice Cream in Lawrenceville has captured the nostalgia that often accompanies the enjoyment of a shake, sundae, float, egg cream, or ice cream soda. There are even banana splits!

Located at 8 Gordon Avenue, the establishment is filled with 1950s memorabilia. Posters and photos of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Lucy, and other icons of the 1950s are everywhere. Songs of the time, including the store's namesake, "Peggy Sue" (the famous Buddy Holly song) play in the background, and framed LP and 45 records decorate the walls, along with old Coca Cola ads and newspaper reports of the time. A vintage Double Bubble gum machine is available, as is a variety of candy.

The ice cream counter with its spinning hot pink stools invites you back to that Rock and Roll decade of 50 years ago, and the black and white checkerboard floor is another reminder.

Opened two years ago, Peggy Sue's has struck a chord with customers because of its delicious Hershey's ice cream and it welcoming atmosphere, says owner Sue Kleinschmidt (otherwise known as Peggy Sue).

"When I was growing up in Trenton, we always had a place to go, to hang out," she explains. "I wanted to bring that back for kids today."

Happy Business

A registered nurse, Peggy Sue decided it was time for a change in her life, and the building was available. The choice of the 1950s theme evolved, she recalls. "It was just a nice time, and there was the Buddy Holly song, 'Peggy Sue', and later the movie, 'Peggy Sue Got Married'. My name is Sue, and it happened that my best friend's daughter, named Peggy, had recently passed away. I thought this was a way of honoring her memory, too. I am also so glad that my daughter, Alison Radigan, is my partner at the store.

"You know, this is a happy business. People are happy when they come here, and I especially love the kids. They say I'm the 'Ice Cream Lady', and they all call me Peggy Sue."

In addition to ice cream, Peggy Sue's also offers king size hot dogs, brownies, chili (in winter), coffee, Coke, lemonade, and root beer.

The specialty is milk shakes, adds Peggy Sue, and the generous portions are served in large old-fashioned ice cream parlor glasses, with the remainder poured in from the authentic metal mixer.

"We have 'Elvis', 'Buddy Holly', and 'James Dean' shakes," says Peggy Sue. "Ingredients are vanilla ice cream peanut butter, and bananas for the Elvis. Vanilla ice cream and wild cherry syrup for the Buddy, and vanilla ice cream and root beer blended into a smoothie for James Dean.

"I also encouraged the kids who work here to concoct their own signature shake, which we then named for them. Vanilla, chocolate, mocha, coffee, cafe au lait are all popular, and we also have a Cotton Candy' shake – 'Sarah's Circus' – which is very popular with the kids. My grandchildren have shakes named for them too – 'Anna's Bananas' and 'Ella's Peanut Butter Cups'."

Three Scoops

Sundaes are another specialty, and hot fudge is the most popular topping, along with wet walnuts (soaked in syrup), marshmallows, whipped cream, cherries, and peanuts. The choice of many customers is the "Big Bopper" banana split, with banana, three scoops of ice cream, two toppings, whipped cream, nuts, and cherry. That will take care of lunch and dinner!

"Make Your Own Sundaes" is a big favorite of the kids, when they can let their imaginations soar with delectable concoctions of ice cream and assorted toppings.

Currently, the biggest hit in ice cream flavors is "Moose Tracks", featuring vanilla base, chocolate chunks, and mini peanut butter cups. Cones come in assorted sizes, and sprinkles are always free.

An upstairs party room is also available at Peggy Sue's, and is very popular for private theme parties. "It's great for all ages," reports Peggy Sue. "Birthday parties for kids are important, but also, bridal showers, and we even had a Pajama Party for teens, where they all came in pajamas and had rollers in their hair!""

"Some of our themes are Barbie, Princess, Scoobie Doo, '50s (for adults), Sports, Spiderman, Superman, Sponge Bob, My Little Pony, and Harry Potter," she adds.

A variety of packages include "Making Your own Sundae Bar, with soft drinks included; Sundae Bar with soft drinks and pizza; Sundae Bar with soft drinks and hot dog party, as well as craft packages (jewelry, painting, photos, coloring) etc. Music, dancing, and movies are available, and ice cream cakes are another option.

Bag of Tricks

In addition, Elliot the Magician" is available to entertain with his bag of tricks and legerdemain.

To reserve party space, Peggy Sue suggests calling a month ahead, if possible.

Outdoor tables are also available, and hula hoops, bats and balls are provided for outdoor activity. Live music in a variety of styles is featured Friday evenings.

Adults and kids alike are happy at Peggy Sue's, and a recent hot afternoon saw a group of teens and pre-teens from a nearby camp cheerfully lined up, awaiting their ice cream favorite.

"I expected to get a lot of parents and kids," notes Peggy Sue, "but I didn't realize we would have so many school classes, too. They come from pre-school and elementary school, and I really love to have the kids here.

"I am very proud and encouraged," she continues. "We have had a warm welcome from the other merchants, and we are friends with everyone. We enjoy being a part of the community, and we have donated ice cream to the elementary school for one of its events. We also received an award from the Lawrenceville Main Street Development organization as the best small business in Lawrenceville."

Most of all," she adds, "I love these kids, and I am so glad to provide a welcoming atmosphere for them. They are very comfortable here."

Peggy Sue's is open Monday through Friday 11:30 to 9:30, Saturday until 10, Sunday 10 to 10. (924) 620-0044.



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