Fried ice cream is a thing again! At least it is in Stamford.
If you haven’t heard the sweet whispers and the sizzle of the hot oil, the concession stand at Cummings Beach has a brand-new resident.
Drop & Fry was started by two city residents, Irving Diaz and Mario Forte, friends since freshman year of high school. They came up with the idea to batter-dip-and-fry pound cake-coated balls of ice cream, after being dissatisfied with fried ice cream desserts at Mexican and Asian restaurants, where you’d typically see if offered. They also saw an opportunity to capitalize on selling a sweet treat that’s not all that common in Fairfield County.
There were a few issues. They had to perfect a method, and they needed a storefront.
Through lots of trial and error, they solved the problem of frying ice cream without it becoming a melty mess. For it to remain frozen during the batter frying process, they knew they needed to hard freeze it at sub-zero temperatures. From there, the circular ball of ice cream needed extra insulation, so they figured out that coating the ice cream with crumbled Entenmann’s pound cake and freezing it for another day would do the trick. It’s also a process that requires attention and constant turning in the oil to achieve an even golden-brown color and a thorough cook.
After experimenting with a numerous brands (they settled on Milford-based Buck’s), flavors, toppings, and combinations of it all, they knew what worked in terms of a menu. They just needed a place to sell it and the cash necessary to open a business. “We tried raising money on GoFundMe and Kickstarter, but neither one worked for us,” Diaz said. “Then we thought, maybe we’ll be able to find an investor.”
That didn’t happen either. But when the unoccupied building located right across from the beach’s pier became available, the duo bought into the idea of renting it out to give the whole ice cream entrepreneur thing a shot.
Since the beginning of summer, Drop & Fry has been dishing out a dozen different fried ice cream combos. Under their “Wild Creations” section of the menu, expect indulgences like Strawberry Pleasure (strawberry ice cream, strawberry syrup, fresh strawberries), Oh No Cookie Dough (cookie dough ice cream with a hot fudge center, cookie dough topping), or even Rise of the Nutella (chocolate chip ice cream filled with Nutella spread, topped with hot fudge, and more Nutella); all include whipped cream and a powdered sugar dusting.
Basic ice cream lovers—if there is such a thing here—can get down with something simpler, your choice of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, Oreo, chocolate chip, or butter pecan ice cream—fried, obviously—and topped with your choice of syrup. Of course, if you’d like to design your own, there are a bunch of different candy, fresh fruit, and syrup toppings to choose from, making the possibilities seemingly endless.
If you need a precursor to dessert, don’t worry, Drop & Fry isn’t just fried ice cream. They also serve an array of different empanadas, fried plantains, and Puerto Rican inspired sandwiches acting as a shortened sequel to the Pito Sofrito food truck, owned by Diaz’s brother, Roberto Pagan. Additionally, Drop & Fry has classic American fare available in the form of hot dogs, burgers, fries, and daily specials.
According to Diaz, he and Forte would like to see Drop & Fry expand. One of the reasons is if you’re not a Stamford resident with a valid beach pass (they stop checking after September 30), you would have to pay a day fee of $25 for Cummings Beach or more for weekly or season passes. Drop & Fry plans to be at the beach through October, so you’ll have a chance to bypass the beach charge. “We’d like to open a couple in the future, maybe three or four,” Diaz said. “We’d like it if everyone could enjoy it, not just Stamford.”
Tuesday – Wednesday 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Drop & Fry
Cummings Beach 464 Shippan Ave
Stamford, Connecticut, CT