Ices Are King In Corona
As the August sun begins to take its toll on New Yorkers, nothing could be better than an icy treat to cool off. Some like to choose the creamy path, sticking to gelato, frozen yogurt and ice cream, while others choose the icy path, sticking to snow cones and Italian ices. Those who chose the latter, can find themselves indulging on 42 different flavors of gourmet Italian ice made fresh on the premises at the Lemon Ice King, 52-02 108th St., Corona.
The shop was built 67 years ago by Peter Benfaremo who took over his fathers small ice stand in 1944. He expanded it in the 1960s to coincide with the Worlds Fair that was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Benfaremo died in 2008, but not before selling the shop to Vinnie Barbaccia and Michael Zampino who have owned the shop for 20 years.
Barbaccia said little has changed since the shop opened its doors in ’44. The recipe remains the same, and mixing flavors is still prohibited.
“Each flavor has its own spatula, its own authenticity,” Barbaccia said. “We use actual fruit, we put real fruit in the ices.”
According to Barbaccia, using real ingredients has kept them in business. “If you do something right the first time, people stick to it.”
The Lemon Ice King seems to be doing everything right with choices that include chocolate, fruit cocktail and even peanut butter. Spumoni is also available. Though Spumoni is generally a milk based flavor, this is entirely a water based ice, as are all flavors of the Lemon Ice King according to Barbaccia, and is very flavorful and rich. The most popular? Lemon—the original “King.” Rainbow is a close second, Barbaccia said.
Although most of his customers are locals, Barbaccia says he has customers coming from all the boroughs, especially after baseball games. Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, is a few minutes away and many fans flock to the Lemon Ice King after the games as a means of contining the celebration, said Barbaccia. He’s had Yankee fans too.
“Yeah, they came all the way from The Bronx, just for some ices,” Barbaccia recalled.
When the August sun fades, and the September breeze comes by, The Lemon Ice King features candy apples in five gourmet flavors.