Ice cream in the summer! Ice cream any time — how sweet it is!
A brand new opportunity to enjoy everyone’s favorite sweet treat has just become available in Hopewell. Jack & Charlie’s 23, located at 23 Broad Street, is the new venture of owner Clark Reed.
“We just opened the end of June, and Hopewell did not have an ice cream shop before. I had been thinking about doing this for several years, but I had to find exactly the right ice cream,” reports Mr. Reed. “It took a year to find it. I checked all over, and selected Uncle Dave’s ice cream from Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, Pa. Uncle Dave, who has been in business for 20 years, makes the ice cream with cream from the farm, and it fits Hopewell’s special personality. We have 23 flavors at any given time out of a possible 60.”
The shop, which is named for Mr. Reed’s two young sons, Jack and Charlie, is the ninth retail store to carry Uncle Dave’s ice cream, and the first in New Jersey.
“Uncle Dave has a rigorous application process,” continues Mr. Reed. “Our staff is great, and they’re all from Hopewell. Our manager Will Randall is doing a very fine job, and has everything under control.”
Mr. Reed had a particular image in mind for his ice cream parlor: friendly, unpretentious, and fun — all with a 1950s motif. “We do have a ’50s look, with black and white checkerboard floor, dining plate on the counter, and we have a friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere. We are not complicated.”
One definitely non-1950s feature, however, is the 21st century ATM machine!
Cones, cups, sundaes, sodas, banana splits, milk shakes, and root beer floats are all available for customers who can take out or savor their scrumptious specialty within. Twenty people can be accommodated on the outdoor porch benches and 10 at tables inside.
Mr. Reed is clearly pleased with the response from the public, and many repeat customers have already been sampling the delicious confections — and even more than once a day! “One customer came in with her mom for ice cream, and then came back for more later that evening. And for people with children the age of my kids, five and two and a half, this is the place to go. We have family-friendly prices.”
Who can resist such flavors as billionaire chocolate (very rich!), banana chip walnut, vanilla beanie, cookies and cream, tiramisu, cappuccino, dulce de leche, butter pecan, peanut butter, peach, black raspberry, and mint chocolate chip. Toppings, such as hot fudge, caramel, strawberries, and of course, sprinkles, are big favorites.
Choices include hard ice cream, soft serve, frozen yogurt (sugar-free is an option), sorbets, frozen chocolate-covered bananas, ice cream sandwiches, and premium pops with caramel sea salt and top-of-the-line Belgian chocolate.
“By the way,” notes Mr. Reed, “the biggest season for Uncle Dave’s ice cream is fall. The number one seller is pumpkin, with pumpkins from the farm. We look forward to having that in September. Also, the peanut butter ice cream is very popular, and the peanut butter is fresh from the farm.”
In addition to the ice cream, Jack & Charlie’s offers hot dogs, soft pretzels, Fat Boy cookies, and a variety of sodas and juices.
“The Fat Boy cookies are baked here, and are very popular,” says Mr. Reed. “Also, everyone loves the hot dogs. We offer signature hot dogs from cities around the country, with their special toppings. For example, New York with sauerkraut and brown mustard; Chicago with mustard, relish, onion, pickle, and celery salt; New Orleans — BBQ sauce and onions; Dallas — chili, onion, and shredded cheese; San Francisco — chili, mustard, onion, ketchup, relish, pickle, cheddar cheese, and celery salt; and Philly, which is build your own!”
These are just a sampling of the many hot dogs from famous cities available at Jack & Charlie’s.
“Dollar Dog Night”
The shop offers lunch specials, including hot dog, beverage, and small ice cream at $5.99; $4.99 for children. A small ice cream cone or cup is $4.69 (with a very generous scoop); a hot dog is $2.
“We also have a lot of specials,” continues Mr. Reed. “Every Tuesday is ‘Dollar Dog Night’ — all plain dogs are $1. If you come in wearing a special sports shirt, you get a discount, and we offer coupons on FaceBook. We also sell Jack & Charlie’s T-shirts, and it is the only T-shirt I know that has Hopewell, N.J. on it. We also plan to have black and pink bowling shirts.
“My vision has been to start slow and gently add. The idea is to under-promise and over-deliver,” explains Mr. Reed. “I envision adding coffee and perhaps fondue in the winter, and a real first class shaved hot chocolate. We will also have live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“This is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, and I am happy to be able to offer this to our town. Hopewell has become elongated. Now, people can savor an ice cream cone as they walk along the street enjoying the streetscape and all the stores. Ice cream is a happy business!”
Manager Will Randall agrees. “I’ve always been in food service, and this is the most fun I’ve had!”
It is also important to Mr. Reed to support the community and organizations he believes in. He has created a unique way for customers to join him in this process. “Instead of tips, we ask customers to leave a donation to St. Michael’s Farm Preserve, part of the Delaware & Raritan Greenway Land Trust.”
Jack & Charlie’s is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday 11 to 10.
(609) 333-9866 (YUMM). Website: www.jackandcharlies23.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/jackcharlies23.