Since I spend many hours driving on Interstate 70, I’m always looking for choice places to take a break and get a bite to eat. Years ago, I discovered Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, and now it’s a ritual to stop there to enjoy the homemade ice cream along with a huge helping of nostalgia.
Tom’s is the ultimate old school ice cream parlor and a Zanesville institution where travelers rub shoulders with local families who have been coming for generations. Started by Tom Mirgon and cousin Jack Hemmer, it has occupied the same small building across the Muskingum River from downtown Zanesville since 1950. As the story goes, Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl got its name when a customer was so surprised by the jumbo size of the sundaes, that he demanded, “Put mine in a soup bowl!”
Current owner Bill Sullivan bought the business in 1984, and his recipe for success has been keeping everything as it was during the 1950s – chrome stools at the counter; square yellow Formica tables; soda jerks sporting white shirts and bow ties; and oversized scoops of ice cream served in soup bowls.
The staff churn out about 600 gallons of ice cream every week. Their standard flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, mint chocolate chip, and peanut butter, but they also make seasonal flavors like chocolate peanut butter cup, salty caramel, and Tom’s Trax, which combines chocolate, caramel, and marshmallow with morsels of fudge.
Whenever I get a cone at Tom’s, I’m partial to French Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Chunk, a deliciously decadent flavor that’s practically a sundae in itself. But I usually succumb to temptation and order a sundae. My favorite (which I eat in lieu of lunch) is the Black and White, a towering concoction that features three scoops of ice cream drizzled with Tom’s own chocolate syrup and marshmallow.
And to make my Black and White extra healthy, I always ask my server to please sprinkle some nuts – they’re fresh-roasted at Tom’s – on the top.
Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl
532 McIntire Ave.
Zanesville OH 43701
For more information, telephone 740-452-5267 or visit www.tomsicecreambowl.com
— Damaine Vonada