Frozen-treat innovation thrives in the most unexpected places, in this case Keansburg, New Jersey.
On the hottest days, you want to eat ice cream the most. Yet the warmer it gets, the faster your frozen treat melts, covering the outside of the cone in sticky exudate, and eventually dripping on your shoes and inundating your hand. Then you have to walk around afterward a sticky mess for all to see and laugh at. There has historically been no solution to this problem, until now …
The white plastic sanitary jacket is firmly in place.
Fork in the Road was cruising back to the Big Apple after a day at the beach when we stumbled on Polar Bear Ice Cream in Keansburg, New Jersey. With a teetering, misshapen curly top cone on the roof, the place looked every minute of its 40-plus years. But the soft-serve proved spectacular, creamy and deeply flavorful, the chocolate possessing just a hint of malt in the mix.
But what was really amazing was what came with the cone. This little white plastic sleeve that tightly hugged the neck of the cone, and then broadened out into a little round tray. At first we wondered, WTF is this? But as the sun beamed down and the soft-serve began to melt, we realized the utility of it. We were able to eat the cone just as slowly as we wanted, and the melt-off pooled in the tray for later licking.
All thought of recyclability aside, why hasn’t this quirky device become more widespread? A thorough search of ice-cream-related Web businesses turned up no suppliers, making us wonder, Does the proprietor of Polar Bear have a closet full of them, dating to the ’60s or ’70s?
We did, however, turn up several patents for similar devices. It appears that the drip guard had a dual purpose: Not only did it protect your hand from the spills, it also protected you from the unsanitary hand of the ice cream server. Making it possible to slip the prophylactic device off at the appropriate moment and enjoy a cone remainder that had been untouched by human hands.
Turn the page for a few of the patents, and please visit Polar Bear before it disappears.
Polar Bear Ice Cream
129 Route 36
Keansburg, New Jersey
Look, Ma, no drips on my hands!