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A warm family celebrates the opening of SubZero Ice Cream in Patchogue

cinemagraph by Benny Migs Photo


They might be operating under a nationwide brand, but the family behind the Subzero Ice Cream location on North Ocean Avenue in Patchogue is as local as they come.

This fact was quickly honed in on by Sal Nicosia.

The former educator and state Senator Tom Croci was at Subzero’s grand opening celebration Tuesday to welcome the business to the neighborhood for the senator.

Nicosia said he was already familiar with the family.

“You are a credit to the Patchogue community, because you’re educated here,” he told Charlie Zollo, a 1972 graduate of Patchogue-Medford High School who opened the liquid nitrogen ice cream shop with his wife, Colleen, and two sons, Alan and David, last month.

Alan Zollo graduated from Pat-Med in 2006 and David in 2008, Nicosia helped note.

“I personally wish this an endeavor a great deal of success,” he said. “It’s a unique system and we wish you well in Patchogue.”

That was minutes before the family gathered for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting outside.

“I’m still pinching myself,” Colleen Zollo said Tuesday. “I never, ever imagined doing something like this. It’s just amazing. From the first night, it was raining and we had people coming in here without doing any advertising.”

Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt, a national franchiser based in Utah, was founded by a couple that had interest in customizable food, according to the company’s website. They had developed a method of freezing liquified ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

“Since Sub Zero ice cream is frozen so quickly, the ice crystals hardly have a chance to grow, which results in extremely small ice crystals and the smoothest, creamiest ice cream possible,” the website reads.

In every Sub Zero location, patrons get to create their own concoctions before the ice cream is frozen by picking their choices of flavors, creams, and mix-in toppings.

Charlie Zollo, also an engineer, said the kids get a huge kick out of seeing the ice cream being created within a bowl of creeping smoke set off by the liquid nitrogen.

“They love all ice cream, but they really love the show,” he said.

David Zollo works at Subzero seven days a week, he said, with Alan helping when he can.

“I might get three hours off a day,” David said. “If that.”

Both joined their parents, day and night, in getting the place ready in time for summer.

“We’ve worked together at a bunch of different jobs but we spent a lot of time together here to get this place open,” Alan Zollo said, noting no brotherly quarrels occurred during that time.

“We already got all the punching out of our system,” he joked.

“For the most part.”

photos by Benny Migliorino of Benny Migs Photo

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Sal Nicosia (L) with Charlie and Colleen Zollo of Patchogue.

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David Zollo in his usual spot behind the counter.

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Charlie Zollo with his son, David.

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(L-R) Colleen Zollo, Charlie Zollo, David Zollo, Alan Zollo and Sal Nicosia.

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The Zollo family is joined by local business and elected leaders for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com