Once an ice cream shop, always an ice cream shop.
At least that’s how father and son duo Frank, 61, and Anthony, 32, DiSalvo saw it when they purchased 4700 Richmond St. back in December 2019.
“It’s always been an ice cream stand. It’s a good spot,” the younger DiSalvo said. “And, everyone always wants you to open a bar. But, it’s not as enticing. It’s nice to have a family business. Bridesburg doesn’t have as many businesses anymore and it’s a place to meet up. After Sharkey’s and 3 Scoops, it’s something Bridesburg needed. It gives the neighborhood something to look forward to now.”
The DiSalvos officially opened the Ice Cream Post on Oct. 1 and will remain open until Sunday, Nov. 28, the day after the Bridesburg Tree Lighting.
Opening an ice cream shop was a trip down memory lane for both DiSalvos.
“My dad grew up in Bridesburg. I grew up in Bridesburg. I always went when it was Sharkey’s,” said the younger DiSalvo.
The elder DiSalvo remembers those stops for something sweet fondly.
“I was born and raised here, so I remember getting ice cream here and bringing him here. I remember when I was younger, I thought, wow, I’d like to own that one day,” he said.
Sharkey’s was the first iteration of an ice cream shop, which was followed by 3 Scoops prior to the DiSalvos opening up.
And, while the Ice Cream Post is in its infancy, the DiSalvos are no stranger to the business world.
Just take a look at the ice cream cone-holding alligator on their logo.
“The gator on the logo always had a beer mug from Daddy O’s and then to the Post Office Cafe,” Anthony DiSalvo said. “Now the gator has an ice cream cone in his hand instead. It’s cool to keep it around.”
The gator was the logo for Frank’s bars he owned for 13 and 8 years, respectively, before the Post Office Cafe burned down a few years ago.
A mailman of 35 years by day, Frank DiSalvo didn’t want to be idle, but the bar business took a hit with the onset of COVID-19.
“When the Post Office burned down four years ago, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t want to leave the business that way,” he said. “But when this came up, it was a spot I always thought about. The bar business was great and I miss it immensely. And, I made so many good friends, but I laugh and say I went from adult babysitting to kid babysitting. But it’s fun.”
It’s also an opportunity to let his son take the reins.
Anthony was away at college when the Post Office Cafe got up and running, but now, he’s a fixture at the ice cream shop in the evenings, after working full-time at Sherwin-Williams during the day, when his father isn’t there.
“It’s a good thing. I’m getting older. I’ve been in this neighborhood and it’s done so much for me. It’s always supported my businesses,” Frank DiSalvo said. “I want him to continue our roots in the neighborhood. This is more me helping and letting him learn more of the business. I say to him, if it was easy, everyone would do it. But me and him are like best buddies. It’s a very cool thing. It’s special.”
“We opened as partners. I’m excited about that because he’s had his businesses and been successful, so it’s nice to do something together,” Anthony added.
Look no further than the DiSalvos’ other business, the local lottery and bill pay spot, Anthony D’s, on Lefevre Street.
“Anthony D’s is named after him. I bought it the year he was born. I’ve had it 32 years,” Frank DiSalvo said.
Being part of the community for so long, from business to both having served or serving on the Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club board, is something the DiSalvos don’t take lightly.
“Bridesburg has been so good to us. We’re just so proud to be part of it. We just want to continue to make it a strong community,” Frank DiSalvo said. “I’ll never forget the support from when the bar burned down.”
When the DiSalvos purchased the spot, it needed more work than they thought and COVID put a delay on opening, too.
This year, the menu is limited, but fits the bill for anyone looking for a sweet snack.
Featuring Richman’s hand-dipped ice cream, Philly’s Famous Ices and Crowley’s soft serve ice cream, customers can order ice cream, water ice, gelatis, radio balls, milkshakes, banana splits and ice cream with waffles.
And, not to be forgotten is an iconic River Wards snack: the pizza pretzel.
“The great thing to bring back was a pizza pretzel. Lori’s [Deli] down the street had them, but it’s currently being sold. So it’s cool everyone looks forward to that now,” Anthony DiSalvo said. “We wanted to open up and get our feet wet. In the next couple years, we’d like to get a snack shop out of there with some fryers and serve fries and chicken tenders. Maybe burgers and hot dogs.”
“I joke that you can’t get a Miller or Coors, you have to get vanilla or chocolate,” Frank DiSalvo added.
“For me, it’s a challenge, but I wanted to get back in the business. Everything’s been good. Me and Anthony are here every night.”
Currently, the Ice Cream Post operates seven days a week, from 2 to 9 p.m.
When the shop reopens in early spring, the DiSalvos hope to expand the hours.
And, the DiSalvos plan to partner with the Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club and local programs next season on special projects.
“Businesses giving back to the community only makes the community that much better,” Frank DiSalvo said.
It’s a sentiment that Anthony DiSalvo already takes to heart.
“My goal, which mirrors my father’s, is giving back to the neighborhood and making it a spot that reflects on Bridesburg. It’s a meeting place for people. I want it to be a place for people to go and feel comfortable.” ••
Follow the Ice Cream Post on Facebook and @icpost2021 on Instagram for updates.