This spring I was at the dry cleaners on Portage Road and saw a guy washing down the pavement in front of Hibbard’s. I could not help but ask when they thought they were opening for the season because I had driven by there every day for at least two weeks hoping to see the open sign. He told me they were going to open later that day and I was able to get the word out in a matter of minutes … oh, the power of social networks!
I met the mother of one of my favorite Barista’s tonight. Julia’s mother, Mary Nero was at Hibbard’s with friends. I asked her how long she had been coming here and she told me she’s been coming here her whole life. She “gets” the double – and you don’t need to get a “double” cone, just two scoops. You always have to put your favorite flavor on the bottom. She always gets chocolate on the bottom and I completely agree with her. The idea is that you have your favorite flavor as your last lick. Genius! Mary says its part of our historical past and that Lewiston would not be Lewiston without it.
One of the Foodie’s favorite people (I can pick favorites – he was one of my father’s best friends) Tommy Baia says that Hibbard’s is one of the best things we have left from long ago. He remembers an ice cream shop called Diffine’s on Hyde Park Boulevard which served up their own homemade ice cream but it was a real treat to come up here … Hansen’s (I feel another column about this famous fish monger coming soon) then here down Portage Road from the old Lewiston Hill.
The folks in Wilson are getting to save a trip into Lewiston for their frozen favorite. Hibbard’s opened earlier this year to rave reviews. It is still the family recipe along with novelties (although I never understood why you would have anything but custard at Hibbard’s).
Hibbard’s black raspberry is the closest thing to gelato I have had since my visit to Italy where a good day was defined by how many times you had the famous frozen treat. John, Priscilla, Mackenzie and Mikaela Maddock ventured up to Lewiston earlier this week. John is an ice cream aficionado and was the one who gave the Foodie several places to visit in Italy where the gelato was divine. John says “the chocolate nestle crunch was delicious. Out entire family enjoyed a few scoops after a great meal at the Brickyard and before we headed to Artpark. A perfect Lewiston evening.”
Every Wednesday the Conde family visits his parents in Lewiston. Connor was quick to explain that Hibbard’s was a treat they usually insist on when they are open for the season. Devon likes her custard in a cup (as does this foodie) and Karalyn always has to have two flavors every time. We agree that your favorite flavor must be on the bottom. People take their custard very seriously. Isabella simply explained she liked Hibbard’s because it’s good and her sister Abby said she loves bubble gum the best. She says that she usually cannot finish the cone but at age six does not want to order a baby cone anymore.
Childhood memory, adult indulgence, there are many flavors of Hibbard’s fans.
I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends to “weigh in” about Hibbard’s. Here they are:
Lisa O: Black Raspberry (I’m with you, Lisa and I like chocolate on the bottom and BR on top)
Lori S: Still my favorite custard and I have lived in 11 different states. And I agree. Black raspberry!
Karyn M: the best…worth the 14 hour drive!! (My sister’s first stop and last stop during the season)
Maria M: Obviously, you know my thoughts on Hibbard’s! DE-LICI-OUS! (You help me keep vigil until they open)
Loretta F: Butterscotch, maybe pistachio, unless there’s chocolate. (L, there’s always chocolate!!)
Dan V: The chocolate and vanilla twist is Awesome (You like the two scoop cone, too!)
Paula S: ”Weigh?” = Hibbards? Never will admit to any of that!!!! (It was an interesting choice of words, I’ll admit)
My brother-in-law (the same one who thought he was marrying into the Flintstone family) stops at Hibbard’s before going to my mother’s when he visits from Michigan. Funny thing, no one thinks that’s weird or disrespectful. We all understand the obsession!