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carvel ice cream???


uhhh, how come i've never, ever heard of this place???

BTW looks like a stable company.....
2004 FOCUS Brands is created; Carvel joins Cinnabon and Seattleā€™s Best Coffee International to form new food service company.

anybody got any reviews??? looks like a fun place to hang out.. kinda like an old fashioned soda shop place.

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  1. Always had one in my town growing up in Jersey. Fond memories of ice cream birthday cake in June; ah...chocolate "ants" and gel-writing. Now that I'm in Iowa, no more Carvel, Dunkin' Donuts, or 7-11.

    As for a place to hang out, my Carvel didn't have any seating (at the time, anyway; may have changed by now).

    1. It's been a long while since I've been to a Carvel, but I can't recall any of them looking anything like that picture. They're all over the place in New York and Connecticut, as far as I know.

      2 Replies
      1. re: shellyesq

        I grew up in Westchester County (just north of the Bronx), which is where Tom Carvel started. Then, they were very plain-Jane road side stands that dished out soft-serve ice cream. None of them ever looked like that!

        1. re: cavandre

          I grew up in Westchester too. My grandpa apparently used to know Tom Carvel. Too bad he never went into business with him! The Carvels I've been to don't look like that one either! Usually not enough seating on a hot summer night when it was crowded. They used to make great ice cream sodas, but the particular branch we went to stopped making them correctly for some reason, they just didn't taste right. I always liked just getting a simple soft chocolate or vanilla cone, sometimes with chocolate sprinkles. It was a popular place to go after softball games in elementary school. I haven't been to one in awhile. I now live in Dutchess County and there is one that I pass on the way home from work. I had my first ice cream of the season the other day, but I admit I passed up Carvel in favor of ice cream from Joe's Dairy Bar, which has that kitsch roadside appeal!

      2. There's a Carvel in Milford, CT but it's one of the '60s era dinosaurs. Except that it's enclosed, versus the old walk up to to a window setup. But colorful chairs and seating, that's something totally foreign to my Carvel experience(s).

        Since I grew up in CT and heard Tom Carvel doing commercials ("Hi, Folks, this is Tom Cahr-vel..." in a really gravelly voice) all through my youth, it just never occurred to me that someone wouldn't know the brand. Not to mention the Cookie Puss and Fudgy the Whale cakes, Wednesday is Sundae (two sundaes for the price of one on Wednesday) etc.

        1. You've never heard of it because its not that good. Be thankful and save yourself the disappointment. You might as well go buy some bryer's, bluebell, braum's (way better than previous) or whatever the heck else is the staple in your part of the country. Carvel is nothing special.

          1. They've been around for a BILLION years here in the NY/NJ area. (Actually, I think they started in the 30s.) But it's my understanding that they don't operate in all areas of the country. (Their presence is much stronger in the Northeast.)

            I love them. Good solid no frills ice creams (with their specialty being soft serve) and related products (cakes, novelties, etc.) They don't have 100 toppings or mix-ins like the other chains, but they have the basics.

            Most stores here in Jersey don't have places to sit down in the store, but I went to a store in Jacksonville, FL about three or four years ago (the first in the area at the time) and they had a few tables and a cool sprinkle machine for the kiddies. (In fact, the Jacksonville store I went to looked pretty similar to the store in the picture in the OP's link.) Most of the stores that have been around for a while, however, are much less fancy and are blasts from the past.

            Most stores also participate in the "Wednesday is Sundae" promo. Regular soft serve sundaes are buy one get one free on Wednesdays.

            It may not be the world's greatest ice cream, but it's still delicious. I had lots of great times hanging outside my local Carvel as a kid.

            BTW, it's amazing how many major chains are unknown in certain parts of the country. (It blew my mind the other day when I discovered that Dunkin Donuts has no stores in California! )

            1. Fudgy the whale....................

              5 Replies
              1. re: currymouth

                I preferred Cookie Puss. Or Cookie O'Puss for your next Saint Patrick's Day party.


                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  Fudgy the Whale and Cookie Puss were both great (remember Cookie Puss' strange "voice" on the commercial?). I also loved, loved, loved their ice cream sandwiches. They had a hokie name that I can't recall! Yes I can! Flying Saucers! The Carvels we went to did not like that but they did have seating in the 80's in most of them.

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    You're bringing back great memories. Nothing beat one of their ice cream cakes with family/ friends on a hot summer day.

                    And their stores had a great....uh...freon smell to them.

                    In the Boston area they do have their cakes in many local grocery stores.

                    1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                      hang on tight to those memories. the stuff they try to pass off as ice cream now is crap.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Yeah I'm almost glad I don't live near a Carvel store anymore, because I have a feeling it'd be disappointing.

                        The good news is that Massachusetts still has plenty of unique great ice cream places

              2. carvel was the best ice cream when jfood was growing up in NJ. Now jfood looks at one from his office window. And when the building has the fire drill practice runs, jfood goes across for a choc-vanilla cone.

                And it is still very good ice cream, low air content.

                And Fudgy the Whale was a great birthday cake.

                1. I grew up in upstate NY, and a Carvel's ice cream cake was the gold standard for kids' birthdays. Always with the chocolate crunchies inside.

                  I don't remember ever going just for an ice cream cone - it seems we always went to some local joint for that. But Carvel's was synonymous with ice cream cake for me - I'm not sure I know that you could get an ice cream cake anywhere else.

                  Yes, Fudgy the whale! Around Father's Day, Fudgy would proclaim "To a Whale of a Dad!"

                  I can hear the old jingle in my head...

                  1. My teenage daughter works at a Carvel. It looks nothing like the photo on their corporate website. It has one little table with two chairs and nothing so exciting on the walls. The space is taken up mainly with freezers for all the ice cream cakes. That is definitely their biggest seller. She says it's pretty rare for people to come in for cones or shakes. But before Easter they sold at least a hundred bunny head ice cream cakes and sold out of them.

                    1. I haven't really wanted to jump in on this thread since I don't really care for Carvel's ice cream but I thought I'd clear up a few issues. First, a disclaimer. I have been associated with Carvel in the past but I am not currently nor have a been for a while. I am not in the food service industry, advertising, Carvel's corporate, nor anything like that. I have no horse in this race. So here goes...

                      Carvel is a 70+ year old chain begun in suburban NYC. It's core markets are the Tristate area and Florida. It is very well entrenched and somewhat beloved in those markets. Over the last 7-10 years or so the food service group which owns, among other chains, Cinnabon, Moe's, and Schlotzky's, has made a concentrated push to take Carvel national. For any number of reasons, it has not been a roaring success. This would explain why many CH'ers are not familiar with Carvel.

                      The pictures of the stores on the company website are what the newer stores actually look like. By "newer" I mean those built or remodeled in the last 5 years. That is the current design. There is no intent to misdirect or dissemble on the company's part. Many of the NY stores are 30 or 40 years old and have not been updated in a long time. That is why the new design is not familiar to some customers.

                      The fact that I don't care much for the ice cream is only due to the fact that I don't like anyone's soft-serve. The ice cream itself is really ice cream - not ice milk - has very low overrun, and is still made fresh daily in the store just like Tom Carvel used to advertise.

                      Did you know you could get crunchies as a topping? The crunchies are the best thing that chain has ever come up with, bar none. And the cakes available in the grocery stores are not fresh like the ones in the shops. Grocery cakes are factory-made, store cakes are freshly made in store.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: rockycat

                        Crunchies are the best ... I had a Carvel ice cream cake every birthday I can remember as a kid, until the Carvel in Jackson Heights closed down (yes, fudgie the whale and cookie puss brings back so many memories) with the chocolate bottom, vanilla top and crunchies in between. The frosting was pretty nasty though.

                        In case you don't know what they look like, here's a link to good ol' fudgie and cookie puss ...

                        1. re: mepm231

                          OMG jfood forgot the frosting. What was that stuff? White glue out of the plastic bottle in Arts and Craft tasted better (stating from experience).

                          The crunchies were the best.

                          1. re: jfood

                            Their frosting was the same thing as their "whipped cream " when they made their own (later they got it out of a can a la rediwhip) .It was shipped in a powder form that was mixed with something (forgot if it was water, ice cream mix, or milk) and whipped up (I now use Cool Whip when I make cakes at home).
                            Interesting fact is that the crunchies are broken up flying saucer cookies mixed with the chocolate bonnet. Again, when I make IC cakes at home I use oreos and magic shell.
                            This thread has taken me down memory land (taking shots of the rum flavoring, playing with the NO2 tank - for the whipped cream of course, the girls I used to work with...)

                            1. re: HunterJay

                              "oreos and magic shell"

                              You might consider placing this fantastic nugget on the Home Cooking Board. Many of us have asked the question what it was now there might be a solution for the home ice cream caker.

                              1. re: HunterJay

                                Not exactly. The "whip" is a dry powder that is mixed with water. But it is dairy and tastes somewhat like marshmallow. It sure smells like it. Redi-Whip is not a regulation topping choice. It also costs more than the dry whip. Cool-Whip isn't all that close.

                                Crunchies and oreo crumbles aren't the same, at least not texture-wise. The stores all have cookie crumbles and those are not used for crunchies. It might make a fine home substitute but it isn't the same thing. Now, using Magic Shell as a bonnet substitute is probably the same thing. The bonnet is mostly coconut oil, semi-solid at room temperature, completely solid when frozen. I can just feel my arteries hardening....

                        2. bump....bump....bump...That's Tom Carvel spinning in his grave because there's someone wh had never heard of his chain. I worked at a Carvel when I was in high school (Baskin Robbins too) and the toughest part of the job for me was making the brown bonnets and not letting the ice cream fall into the can of dip.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jnk

                            I hated that bonnet dipping too. I eventually took to make a holder and putting the cones in the shocks till it settled up a little. My favorite part was taking the bonnet and mixing in crunchies and nuts and making myself a little candy bar for lunch (I worked in the Bridgeport and Trumbull CT stores). Have to say Chocolate Fudge Crunch was my favorite to eat (and make).

                            1. re: HunterJay

                              Nobody mentioned Cookie Puss?! I agree that the Carvel in that link looks nothing like any I've ever seen, but it was a nice place, loved the soft serve. In high school I had a girlfriend that worked there....free ice cream!!

                              1. re: HunterJay

                                My personal favorite was the toasted coconut marshmallow sundae. We had 3 brothers who owned the place and they kept an very close eye in us. There would be NO putting the chocolate crunch into anything but a cake, and yes, that is/was my favorite ice cream condiment. By the way, my store was in Queens NY

                              2. re: jnk

                                I worked in Carvel in high school too (and also in Queens!), and the bonnets were definitely not a favorite thing for me to make. And christ if that stuff wasn't greasy as hell!

                                The owner of the store I worked in would actually check the trash to make sure we hadn't used lids as cups for ice cream for ourselves, or used a cup for soda and only charged ourselves for water. He was just that cheap.

                                1. re: jnk

                                  My very first real job was at the Carvel in Jackson, NJ. Loved the black and white milkshakes. Hardest parts for me were 'Buy-one-get-one-free sundaes' (I think this was actually held on Wednesdays). Tough, tough crowd (Jersey, mind you) and the people who wanted you to write 25 names on the smallest (like 7") ice cream cake they sold. All in all a GREAT first job, though. Working with the General Public definitely prepared me for the job I do today: therapy ;)

                                2. Growing up in NY & NJ, the name "Carvel" was synonymous with soft ice cream, or "custard" as it was often called in Brooklyn. There were no stores that I can recall -- only walk-up stands. Today, some of our local supermarkets carry Carvel brand ice cream cakes.

                                  1. Carvel is definitely a NY/NJ thing. As a born and bred Carolina girl, I'd never heard of it until I got to college and my Yankee friends started asking where the nearest Carvel was. We have several locations in Raleigh now, but I have to say that I don't find them anything too special. If I'm going to expend the calories, I much prefer Bruster's or a great little local homemade gelato place just down the road a bit.

                                    1. My all time fav. is Carvel Pistachio Ice Cream....better than sex, or with sex.

                                      1. We had Carvel's in the Washington D.C. area when I was growing up. We used to stop there after little league games. I always thought they were local- like Gifford's Ice Cream (which is definitely local). Wow, so many Carvel ice cream cake birthday parties too. And those commericals! Holy shit, we used the names "Fudgie the Whale" and "Cookie Puss" all the time in junior high. My friend could do the voice perfectly...Geez, I hope none of those kids on the brunt end of it were too scarred psychologically...

                                        1. I grew up in New Jersey and have very fond memories of Carvel "frozen custard" as it was then called. The one we went to (for flying saucers--a big family treat back then) had a walk-up window, no indoor seating whatsoever. They must have changed the recipe in recent years though. I went back around ten years ago to get a birthday cake for my son and bought a "twist" cone.It just didn't taste as creamy/custardy as I remember them, but maybe that just another memory from one's youth seeming better than it really was...

                                          1. Sounds like a lot of Carvel memories on this board, but THEY'RE STILL AROUND. We have several in Orlando, and it is soooooo good. Fudgey the Whale rocks my world, and I love the soft serve with chocolate crunchies. Only Maggie Moo's gives Carvel a close run for its money.

                                            Definitely skip the grocery store Carvel desserts and cakes. They suck.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: starbucksbrew

                                              Yes they are. Jfood's office overlooks one.

                                              And wrt Maggie Moos, there was one up the road that jfood walked into. It was dirty and the people behind the counter did not give that warm and fuzzy feeling so jfood left. Others must have felt likewise as it closed recently.

                                            2. fudgy the whale! my brother and I got one for our dad on his last birthday -- we think "to a whale of a dad" is hilarious, but luckily my dad was in and the joke (and he isn't whale-sized, either).

                                              my carvel looks just like that, btw.

                                              1. Went to my first Carvels in Glenview, IL (Edens Plaza) a year or so ago. It was the largest sundae I have ever seen. Was it great? no. But, it did the job.
                                                Carvel Ice Cream cakes are tasty, as many agree.
                                                Now I want ice cream cake.....with the crunchy bottom....

                                                1. I like DQ's soft serve a lot more than Carvel's. Then again I've only been to one Carvel, so maybe that franchise was a dud.

                                                  1. Growing up in New Haven, CT during the early 70s, the sound of Tom Carvel's voice seemed like it was everywhere... Not the greatest ice cream in the world by any means, but the "Tortoni" almond-flavored treats were delicious, and many a birthday was accompanied by a Carvel Ice Cream cake featuring the famous chocolate crunchies...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: seanmck66

                                                      our family always did an advance special-order for the cakes...extra fudge & extra crunchies inside the cake, plus an extra cup of each on the side for dunking & garnishing.

                                                      i was so sad when i ordered a cake for a friend's birthday a couple of years ago. it wasn't nearly as good as i remembered. the ice cream was tasteless, the frosting had the distinct flavor of cardboard, and the crunchies were stale and bitter [like eating gravel that had been flavored with old, cheap cocoa powder].