NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – For Pete Elefante, owner of Zita’s Ice Cream and Italian Ice in New Providence, working at Zita’s is a dream job.
“Even though Zita’s is now 15 years old, I’m only at the beginning…I want Zita’s to be one of those places that’s around for 50 years, where people who have moved away have to stop by to get their ice cream fix whenever they are nearby,” Elefante said.
Zita’s, which began as a small ice cream shop with a few flavors and was fortunate to sell six ice cream cakes on a weekend, now, 15 years later, is a booming business with dozens of flavors and selling 80 cakes on a typical weekend.
Unlike most ice cream stores, when Zita’s says their ice cream is homemade, it truly is.
“Most people don’t know but our ice cream is made right here in the back kitchen,” Elefante said. “And we only use the highest quality of ingredients from fresh bananas in our Kong ice cream to fresh strawberries in our Strawberry.”
For years, Zita’s participated in the New Jersey Ice Cream Festival, winning first place for its Smores flavor in 2010.
“We want to do more wholesale - - to restaurants, hotels, and other ice cream stores. Many people don’t know but we supply many restaurants and hotels and stores with their ice cream. If you are having great ice cream out, it very well might be Zita’s,” said Elefante.
Given the need to produce more ice cream to meet demand, Zita’s will soon undergo a renovation in the back of store to create more room for freezers and production facilities.
Zita’s switches their flavors constantly and they are always inventing new flavors. Currently, the seasonal favorites are peach, key lime pie, and chocolate-covered strawberry.
After a 10-year hiatus, Zita's again is offering the popular Devil Dog. And new flavors include Dirty Turtle (caramel turtles, vanilla ice cream, cake crunch, and fudge); Ice Cream Cake (literally the Zita’s ice cream cake as an ice cream flavor); and Cookie Monster (vanilla ice cream with Nutter Butters, Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies).
“I grew up in New Providence, and it feels fantastic to have built a thriving, lasting business in New Providence. We pride ourselves in giving back to the community which has given so much to us,” Elefante said.