SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Growing up, Todd Sacco used to frequent Bandy’s on a hot summer day but after the well-known establishment closed almost two decades ago there wasn’t a place in South Plainfield that exclusively sold Italian ices and ice cream.

That all changed in May 2012 when Sacco and his wife Andrea, along with her parents Tony and Joanne Damino of Rahway, opened Uncle Louie G Handmade Gourmet Italian Ices & Ice Cream at 228 Hamilton Boulevard. Since then, residents have been enjoying homemade gourmet Italian ices and ice cream right without having to drive to neighboring towns.

“I remember thinking how there was no place here, in the downtown, and how someone should open an ice cream shop,” said Sacco, a lifelong resident of South Plainfield who in addition to running Louie G’s works in operations for Wakefern Food Corp. in Elizabeth.

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After a family friend brought Uncle Louie G’s Italian ices to his home, Sacco decided to look into the possibility of buying into the Brooklyn-based franchise and opening one in town. So he headed to Bay Ridge and came home with 15 different pints of the company’s ice cold treats and then invited family and friends over for a taste. “It just evolved from there,” he said.

Uncle Louie G’s offers over 40 flavors of Italian ice and over 30 flavors of ice cream, including choices that are dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free and fat-free. Customers can mix and match and while no one flavor is more popular than another, Sacco admits Vanilla Snickers ice cream is his personal favorite. The Italian ices, like the ice cream, are made using only the finest ingredients and, depending on the flavor, one will find pieces of fruit, chocolate, peanut butter, Oreos, nuts and even cannoli shells mixed in.

“These aren’t your regular Italian water ices. There’s so much more to them than sugar, water and flavoring,” Sacco said.

Open March to November, Uncle Louie G’s also specializes in custom birthday cakes and is available for birthday parties, corporate events and fundraisers. Additionally, the Sacco’s hold annual Halloween and Christmas parties specifically for kids, giving parents the opportunity to drop of their children at a safe place and enjoy an evening out.

In October, Uncle Louie G’s will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 2 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 2 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. Parking and entry is available in the front and rear and on nice days there is outdoor seating on the Hamilton Boulevard side. For more information, visit www.unclelouiegee.com or call 908-756-5665.