Here's the Scoop on Some Cool Local Ice Cream Shops in and Around Clifton


Author Stefanie with friends Jada and Lillian enjoy their treats at Applegate Farm on a warm summer evening.

The summer season is marked by many things - the heat, the beach, and most importantly, the treats. Today, Sunday, July 16th, marks National Ice Cream Day, and while everyone knows of the classic chains such as Carvel, Cups, and Rita’s for providing delicious desserts, below is a list (in no particular order) of ten great local ice cream, gelato, and fro-yo small businesses in and near Clifton to enjoy this summer and all year long.

The Happy Birthday Kafe - 1076 Main Avenue, Clifton

Located in a small storefront on busy Main Avenue, this Clifton spot owned by a mother and daughter team is a little-known gem offering a truly unique experience. In addition to their thick milkshakes and mixed-in toppings ice cream creations, The Happy Birthday Kafe offers deep-fried treats like red velvet funnel cake and deep-fried Oreos and boasts a full catering menu of soul food! On their website, you can order half trays of things like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and jerk chicken. They are open from 1-7 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

Applegate Farm - 616 Grove Street, Upper Montclair

Well-known to many around the Clifton area, Applegate Farm provides homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavors along with soft serve, milkshakes, sundaes, donuts, chocolate, and many more products. In addition to its iconic menu, Applegate Farms also holds birthday and corporate parties as well as yearly events such as Octoberfest and Family Fun Nights.

Holsten’s Ice Cream, Chocolate, and Restaurant - 1063 Broad Street, Bloomfield

Famously known for its involvement in the hit New Jersey-based show, The Sopranos, Holsten’s has maintained its staple reputation in North Jersey since opening in 1939. Along with an extensive menu including homemade ice cream and chocolates, Holsten’s maintains a vintage and old-school appearance that serves as a beacon of consistency in an ever-changing environment.

Absolute Zero Ice Cream - 410 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

Located on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, Absolute Zero Ice Cream utilizes a technique originated in Thailand to roll ice cream, incorporating various ingredients such as fruit, cookies, cereal, diverse types of milk, and more to create a surplus of combinations and toppings. Make sure to check out the website linked above to view their sizable menu. 

Garfield Creamery - 17 Outwater Lane, Garfield

Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, Garfield Creamery features a spread of sundaes, crepes, ice cream cake, and, of course, ice cream! In addition to the tasty treats, the creamery allows customers to order online and either pick up their purchases at the store or have it delivered to their home. You can do so either through their website linked above or through the Seamless website, which is powered by GrubHub.

Chocolate House - 1131 Main Street, Paterson

The Chocolate House not only offers delicious ice cream, but they feature crepes, waffles, iced coffee, mojitos, and shakes. Their menu provides extensive options for customers with options of spread such as Nutella, toppings like fruit and graham crackers, and/or infusions with cookies and cereals. To view more of the products they offer, you can visit the Chocolate House’s Facebook page where they post many of their creations.

APEM Creamery and Sorbetteria - 870 Broad Street, Bloomfield

A combination of influences from around the world such as Japan and California, minimalism, and that certain Jersey je ne sais quoi, APEM’s owner, a French Culinary Institute alumnus and New Jersey Native, opened this shop to bring his modern take on gelato and sorbet to New Jersey. Their menu (which can be viewed on their website) provides customers with extensive options and they offer online ordering with in-store pick-up. Be aware that APEM is only open from Thursday through Sunday.

Ice Cream Charlie’s - 200 Park Avenue, Rutherford

What makes Ice Cream Charlie’s special is that while they offer the usual homemade ice cream flavors such as cookies and cream, they also feature out-of-the-ordinary daily specialties such as Pecan Turtle, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Banana Kit Kat, and Purple Cow to name a few. You can visit their Facebook link above to view the specialties for the day and whether or not they’ve been sold out.

Gelotti Ice Cream and Italian Ice - 2 Union Avenue, Paterson

Another well-known establishment in the Clifton area is Gelotti’s, where they serve frozen yogurt, frosted bananas, ice cream pies and cakes, Italian ice, and gelato. You can also purchase jars with ingredients such as sprinkles, walnuts, hot fudge, and maraschino cherries so that you can make your own sundaes at home.

Jumbo - 704 Van Houten Avenue, Clifton

Not to be confused with the newer “Original Jumbo’s” on the other side of the street, Jumbo has been serving up their Italian ice, Sabrett hot dogs, and ice cream since 1961. The current owner has been in charge for 20 years. “All our welcome,” they say…but credit cards are not. Jumbo accepts cash only. They’re open from 11 am - 9 pm Monday through Saturday. The owner requested that we not take any photos.

Finally, we have a bonus 11th location - 

Bischoff’s - 468 Cedar Lane, Teaneck

Although not a part of the list due to its distance, another classic and well-established ice cream parlor is Bischoff’s in Teaneck. Having been around since 1934, it came with an extremely heavy heart for all that the shop had to close down at the end of the 2022 year due to financial issues. However, they are holding a 14-week summer pop-up shop from Memorial Day until Labor Day and if all goes well, they will be able to open up for good in the spring of 2024, just in time for their 90th anniversary. If you’d like to donate and assist fundraising efforts, visit their GoFundMe here and be sure to spread the word. Keep in mind that Bischoff’s is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Happy eating, Clifton!

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