hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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August 21, 2013

Armenian ice cream cone hits the spot

On a hot summer’s day, there was no better way to cool off than with an ice cream cone.

And no better place to get it than Sarky’s Variety Store in Somerville.

Growing up there as a kid, I quickly learned Sarky had the best ice cream around. But you had to eat it quickly, otherwise it would melt all over your hands and make a big mess. More than once, my scoop fell to the pavement and melted into a puddle.

Sarky would give you an instant refill. At least I was honest about it and he appreciated the truth. You learned strong ethnic values from that shop. Others I knew would swallow their ice cream and go back for seconds — saying they, too, lost their scoop to the street.

Sarky was an Armenian through and through. His last name was Giragosian and his shop was located on one of the side streets off Broadway. People shopped here for a quick grocery fix. The kids came here for one thing — their ice cream.

Back then, there were three basic flavors: Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Coffee was later introduced. Howard Johnson’s came out with its 28 flavors, but Sarky held his own. He gave you one big scoop for a nickel. The jimmies were free.

Today, you go to an ice cream stand, dish out $3 for a kiddie scoop, and stand before a menu trying to make up your mind.

What will it be? Mocha chip? Mud slide? Or the new Boston Strong following the recent bombings? This one features chocolate/fudge with a fudge crunch swirl, and $1 goes to the One Fund to benefit the victims.

For you ice cream gluttons, there is the Grand Slam with seven scoops of ice cream, one banana, one homemade brownie, four toppings, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. If you’re dieting, go ahead and leave off the cherry.

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