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I am a child of the 20th century. I almost feel sorry for kids who didn’t grow up in that simpler time. Pleasures such as walking to school and staying outside until the evening air carried a chorus of mothers yelling for their children to come home seem, at first glance, denied to the video-game, screen-time, playgroup generation.
Add drive-ins to that list. Grilled sandwiches on buttered buns, fresh French fries, malts made from real ice cream, drive-up instead of drive-through—all wonderful memories no one should be denied.
My sister went to boarding school. Each weekend we’d drive her back and stop at Dave’s Frostop, a Janesville, WI drive-in. I can still see the giant rotating mug of root beer on the roof. My big brother’s first job was at an A&W. One of my prized childhood possessions was a paper hat from his job. He may have even swiped an apron so I could play car hop with my friends. Our house was four blocks from the Hungry Hungry, which had a miniature golf course in their parking lot.
For a long time, I thought those were memories without a 21st century touchstone, but then I moved to Narrowsburg, NY where I discovered there are still “Happy Days” in a world that feels more and more “Walking Dead.”
I felt a glimmer of hope as I looked up the hill, after grocery shopping at Pete’s, to Nora’s Luvin’ Spoonful, 141 Kirks Road, just before Fort Delaware, a drive-up restaurant that brings back the best flavors and memories of summer.
Owned and operated by Nora Manzolillo for the last eight years, the property itself has been an ice cream shop since the 1950s. Her philosophy of “Wanting our guests to feel as though they’re going back in time,” is evident with each touch. Oil cloth tablecloths cover traditional picnic tables. Soft-serve and hand-dipped ice cream come in a variety of flavors. Hamburgers and French fries, “never frozen!” are served fresh each day, as are other signature items such as homemade potato and chicken salads.
Helped by her brother Joe, his wife Debbie and Nora’s late-sister Maureen, you feel a sense of family the minute you walk up. Nora and her husband Tim are high school sweethearts from the Bethel/Jeffersonville area. It’s easy to picture one of their first dates being at what is now their place. Hard working and entrepreneurial, Nora and her restaurant have attracted a loyal staff, many of whom stay with her from 14 years of age through their college years.
Traditional menu items are joined by the homemade brownies and blueberry cobbler used in some of their signature sundaes. Handmade tie-dyed T-shirts made by a local mother with three kids looking to make a few extra dollars are displayed and sold without commission in an effort to create opportunities for others. Prices are kept as reasonable as possible, while maintaining the sense of excellence that has been built over the years.
A commitment to serving the best possible food, “10% butterfat!” in a clean, safe environment where everyone feels welcomed makes Nora’s spoonful “loving” in every sense of the word.
It will be open each day until Labor Day, at which point Nora’s will be serving Thursday through Sunday until the end of the season, mid-October. Be sure to stop by for a taste of summer before the color change makes autumn impossible to ignore. Watch happy families and kids with hands sticky from ice cream and be assured that certain things are timeless.