May 30, 2024

‘Heart And Soul’ Of Beloved N.J. Ice Cream Business Dies At 85

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The “heart and soul” of an iconic family-owned Newark ice cream shop that grew into one of the biggest names in Garden State ice cream has died at the age of 85, his family announced Monday.

Frank Nasto Jr., of Newark’s Nasto’s Ice Cream Co., died on Christmas Day, the Nasto family said in tribute on social media. Founded in 1939, Nasto’s has produced a variety of ice cream and other frozen confections for decades.

“He was the heart and soul of Nasto’s and built it to what it is today. His hard work and dedication will forever be a part of his legacy,” the Nasto family said.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.M at the Buyus Funeral Home, followed by a Mass at Thence to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, according to an obituary.

Nasto was born in Newark, where he resided in the Ironbound Section until settling in Union many years ago.

The announcement of his death comes just seven months after his older brother, Alphonse died. The brothers worked side-by side to make Nasto’s Ice Cream Co. Into the successful operation it is today, according to the company’s website.

The popular ice cream shop had humble beginnings. Frank Nasto Jr.’s parents, Frank Sr. And Angelina, opened their ice cream shop on the corner of Jefferson and East Kinney streets after emigrating from Italy, according to the company’s website.

Nasto and his brother Alphonse took over the business turned it into a thriving retail and wholesale operation.

The company still makes Italian specialties, including Spumoni and Bisque Tortoni, using the original authentic recipes handed down from Frank Nasto Sr.’s native Nocera, Italy, the website says.

Nasto's Ice Cream Co. In Newark

Staff members of Nasto’s. Right, help some customers with their ice cream order at Nasto’s Ice Cream Co. Store on Jefferson St. In Newark on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.Julian Leshay | For NJ

The operation has long outgrown its Newark storefront one block west of Independence Park. But the location is personal — Frank Nasto Jr. And his family grew up in the apartment upstairs from the parlor.

Nasto’s Ice Cream Co. Remains a lasting vestige of Italian heritage remaining in the Ironbound Section of Newark.

The operation is now in its third generation of family ownership and considered one of New Jersey’s best-known manufacturers of desserts, even shipping nationally.

That present-day success is thanks to the foundation built by Nasto and his brother, the family says.

“He will be greatly missed by all,” the Nasto family said.

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Jackie Roman may be reached at jroman@njadvancemedia.Com.

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