GASTONIA, N.C. — If you are ever craving the taste of homemade ice cream, then Tony's Ice Cream in Gastonia will fill it. 

What You Need To Know

  • Tony's Ice Cream in Gastonia opened in 1915

  • Owner Louis Coletta's grandfather started making chocolate ice cream for Gastonia families working in the mills

  • The shop has kept the original chocolate recipe and it now sells wholesale ice cream

"My grandfather, Carmine Coletta, he was my best buddy growing up," said owner Louis Coletta. 

Carmine Coletta, according to his grandson, was born in Italy and immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island. The family made their way to North Carolina and settled in Gastonia because there was plenty of work in the mills. 

Coletta would make chocolate ice cream and then push a cart to the mills to sell the sweet treat to the families and workers. 

He would go to the mill villages — that's where the big groups of people were — and he would go up and down the streets and people would bring out bowls. There weren’t anything but an ice box, no refrigerators, and he would fill their bowl up," Louis Coletta said. 

More than a hundred years later, Tony's Ice Cream still serves the Gastonia community. 

Coletta has added food to the menu, such as livermush sandwiches, but he says he keeps it really simple. 

The shakes don't have lids — instead a scoop of ice cream is placed on top. 

Coletta says he tries to teach his employees good habits and hopes the community realizes they do their best to keep the ice cream tasting homemade. 

Their most famous flavor is chocolate. 

Coletta's son, Tony Coletta, makes ice cream in the building next door about once a week with a crew of about four men. 

“I enjoy it a lot — I do. I enjoy making ice cream, working at the store. The summers are very hectic, but I enjoy it," Tony Coletta said.