Hayward’s Ice Cream opens for the season in Milford
Thursday, February 21, 2013
MILFORD – The sky was a chilly gray, but people wore warm smiles along with their winter jackets at Hayward’s Ice Cream on Saturday.
The popular counter restaurant opened for the season Feb. 16, and the weather was anything but spring-like.
But that didn’t stop Jane Eacobacci, who was buying a coffee frappe.
Hayward’s seasonal opening “always makes me realize spring is on the way,” she said.
Another woman, who didn’t want to give her name, ordered a sundae made from cake batter ice cream with hot fudge and peanut butter toppings. She remembers the restaurant’s first incarnation decades ago when it was Hayward Farms Ice Cream.
Buying lunch was Linda Hurd, who said she would eat her sundae (strawberry topping on Oreo cookee ice cream) before she eats her meatball sub.
Hurd said she always comes to Hayward’s on opening day and on closing day in the fall, since it opened 12 years ago.
“I post on Facebook, ‘I’m here and you’re in LA, so you lose’,” she said.
Most of the customers on Saturday were locals, but Carol and Charlie Baker of Deering were here for the steamed hot dogs and ice cream.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind restaurant,” said Charlie.
And it wasn’t just the customers who’d been impatient for the restaurant to open.
Brenda Post has worked at the Elm Street stand since 2001 when the restaurant reopened with a new building on what had once been the Hayward Farms dairy farm.
Post was working behind the counter on Saturday, and she said she looked forward all winter to coming back to work.
“I can’t wait ‘til it opens for the season,” she said. There are a lot of young people who work there every season, and “they keep you young.”
Her favorite of the more than 50 ice cream flavors? Coffee, she said, rolling her eyes slightly at the memory of her last taste.
Post shared counter duty Saturday with Stephanie Palladino, who is starting her fourth season here. She loves her job,she said, and also loves Hayward’s chocolate tsunami ice cream.
More than half their customers are regulars, Palladino said.
“You see them coming, and you know what they want,” she said, including one man who likes the mustard and relish under his hot dog and always has root beer with it.
Open later in summer
Hayward’s opens until 8 in the evening this time of year, and that will gradually extend until 10 p.m. in the summer when there are often lines at the counter.
And then people driving on Elm Street see the lines and stop in and the lines get longer, Palladino said.
Hayward’s is a family-owned business that started in 1940, and Frank and Sharon Robinson are the third generation owners.