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Ron's Ice Cream in Hyde Park has served it up for more than 50 years

Posted by Your Town  November 14, 2011 04:26 PM

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(Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

At Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th Century Bowling in Hyde Park, newcomers become frequent customers and frequent customers become friends.

“Everybody loves ice cream, so we make more friends,” Pat Covitz, the owner’s wife and baker said.

Bill Maclean has been a frequent customer, stopping in for his favorite maple walnut ice cream for 52 years.

“It’s the best in town,” Maclean said. “You’re not going to find another place like this.”

Mike Civetti has also been buying ice cream from Ron’s for 52 years and travels from Brockton at least once a week for his dose of Irish coffee ice cream.

“Everyone who comes in here are friends,” Mike Civetti said. “We’re all a big happy family.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino stops by the parlor frequently for his favorite ice cream, Coffee Madness. Hillary Clinton has also visited the parlor.

“It’s good to be a part of the community. We have had down times, but we have been able to keep up because we offer a good product,” Jay Covitz, son of the owner, said. “Eighty percent of the people who come here are repeat customers.”

Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th Century Bowling, owned by Ron Covitz and run by the Covitz family, opened in 1952. The parlor stays open year-round and serves gourmet ice cream in 26 flavors and 10 seasonal flavors, including egg nog, pumpkin and peppermint stick.

Jay Covitz makes all of the ice cream and has worked at the parlor since childhood. The parlor also hosts ice cream and bowling parties for children and serves homemade cakes and ice cream cakes made by Pat Covitz.

With the economy’s current conditions, Ron Covitz has seen many of the surrounding businesses close. Ron Covitz says the key to staying afloat in trying conditions is “changing with the times.”

“We went from having a pool hall and bowling that served soft-serve ice cream to a bowling alley with gourmet ice cream,” Ron Covitz said.

The pool hall which used to be in the basement of the ice cream parlor has been rented and transformed into a karate school.

From the outside it may resemble the typical neighborhood Ice Cream Parlor, but Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th Century Bowling has transformed with the Hyde Park community throughout its 59 years of existence.

The business, and the surrounding neighborhood, have evolved over the years, through a period of raw emotion following the 1974 busing crisis to today. Ron Covitz, owner of Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th Century Bowling, witnessed the tension after the busing decision and feels relief today.

“Unless you were tough, you didn’t want to come here,” Covitz said. “It’s wonderful now to have birthday parties for 7 year olds and have people of different backgrounds come together without someone getting their eyes poked out.”

Throughout the years Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th Century Bowling has been recognized both locally for the quality of its ice cream.

In 2010, The Boston Globe named Ron’s Ice Cream and 20th century bowling one of the best places to get ice cream cake and featured a photo of an ice cream cake made for Pat and Ron’s grandson’s first communion. In 2004, The Phantom Gourmet, a food-review television program, visited the parlor as part of their “Great Ate” for ice cream series.

“The best part is taking a spoon in your hand, putting in customers’ mouths and they say it’s great,” Ron Covitz said.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

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