If you have seen social media abuzz with images of towering ice cream sandwiches and handwritten menus of mouth-watering ice cream flavors, you have Jared Palladino, owner of the newly opened Cal’s Creamery, to thank for it.
Specializing in producing small-batch, high-end ice cream, Cal’s Creamery seeks to go beyond your usual run-of-the-mill ice cream flavors.
“We have our traditional flavors, and we have our flavors where we try to go a little bit more in-depth than your normal traditional ice creams. We make everything in-house, and we make ice cream, ice cream cakes, and ice cream sandwiches. I am the only person who produces the ice cream; we have a 3,000 square-foot basement that we have turned into a full production area for the ice cream store,” said Palladino.
For Palladino, who has lived in Reading for the past 14 years, the former Camps to Castle Building offered not only the perfect place for both Cal’s Creamery and Cal’s Brick Oven Pizza (which will open near the end of June) but also the perfect marriage between his two loves: pizza and ice cream.
“I grew up in the restaurant business; my first job was working in a local pizza place when I was 15. My family ended up purchasing a pizza place, and I ran that one for a while, and then my mother and I purchased Meletharb Homemade Ice Cream in Wakefield around seven years ago,” said Palladino.
Having run Meletharb Homemade Ice Cream, Palladino learned a lot about the ice cream business and how to make his own unique mark on the industry.
“Meletharb’s was established by somebody else, who had been there for probably 38 years before we purchased it. He gave us a great base of what to do but also gave us areas to expand. I learned a lot from doing that, but over here [at Cal’s Creamery], we have a lot more space, and so we have a lot more opportunity to grow and do different things,” said Palladino.
When Palladino heard that the former Camps to Castle was for sale, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I thought that the community needed something like this. And I thought that this piece of property was perfect for something like this because this side of Reading doesn’t have much when it comes to an ice cream store or outdoor seating. It’s a further ride to the other end of town for ice cream, and there are a lot of neighborhoods and apartment buildings over here, and people needed somewhere to go. That’s also why we have a lot of kid traffic here — everyone rides over on their bikes, and they can all come and hang out and have some ice cream. I think it’s good for the community,” said Palladino.
Splitting the building in half with Cal’s Creamery on one side and Cal’s Brick Oven Pizza on the other, Palladino hopes to set up two distinct businesses that will offer both in-door and out-door dining.
“For Cal’s Creamery, there’s outdoor seating as well as 20 seats indoors, so we can stay open year-round,” said Palladino.
For residents who have been hankering for some homemade ice cream, Palladino suggests trying either the Blueberry Crumble, the Crazy Cow (Oreo ice cream with fudge brownies and cookie dough), or the Cannoli.
“Those three flavors are probably our most popular because you don’t normally see them elsewhere. We really want to try and make something that’s different than your traditional flavors. We have 40 to 50 flavors right now, and we are always adding or taking away. There’s probably a couple hundred flavors that I’ll run through a cycle of over and over again, and we will come up with more as we can,” said Palladino.
Palladino says to keep an eye out for seasonal flavors as well.
“In the fall, we’ll do more apple flavors — Apple Crisp, Cinnamon Apple, and we’re going to try and do something with Calareso’s apple cider donuts. In the wintertime, we’ll do Peppermint, Peppermint Bark, and a lot of holiday-style flavors,” said Palladino.