ELIZABETH, NJ - When the topic of Italian Ice comes up during the hot summer months a standout amongst others is always mentioned. Di Cosmo’s Italian Ice on 4th Avenue in Elizabeth reigns supreme as an Elizabeth Landmark and the creators of the finest Italian Ice imaginable.
The “Little green Shack” has changed little over the last 100 years and the customers that flock there could not be more thankful. Family owned and operated for the last 100 years, the Di Cosmo’s produce 100% natural fruit ices in an old world style, created in small batches to ensure freshness and the delicious flavors that faithful followers have grown to love. Just stand in line waiting for a special treat and you will hear cars beeping and see people waving and voicing their appreciation for one of Elizabeth’s best known destinations.
On a cool and windy day in May TAPinto of Elizabeth met with family matriarch Nancy Di Cosmo and daughter Eileen O’Conner the business spokeswoman.
Nancy Di Cosmo took time to proudly provide a history of the Di Cosmo success story.
This summer, Di Cosmo’s is honoring their loyal customers on three dates. On Sunday, June 14, Friday, July 24, and Sunday, August 16, the business will host a 100-Year Anniversary Customer Appreciation Day which according to Nancy, “will feature 1915 pricing, cake, balloons, a free drawing for chances to win T-shirts, hats, gift certificates and more.”
O’Connor’s great grandparents, Giovanni and Caterina Di Cosmo, were immigrants who settled in the Italian section of Elizabeth and opened a small neighborhood grocery store.
“During the summer of 1915, Caterina decided to prepare a refreshing family treat, reminiscent of the ‘granita’ that she loved in Italy.” recalls Nancy, “The ice was immediately a success and friends and neighbors began visiting the store for the lemon ice that was so natural you would occasionally find a lemon seed in the frozen treat.”
Very little has changed about the business in 100 years.
“We still make it with the same recipes and same basic ingredients,” reports O’Conner. “The manufacturing process had been modernized, but not much else.”
Di Cosmo’s is also looking to grow their business through licensing and distribution agreements.