hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


August 21, 2013

Armenian ice cream cone hits the spot


Sarky would have none of these preposterous concoctions. His idea of a good cone was one plentiful scoop with no condiments. He often said they would kill the taste.

And then one day, he put up a sign: “Sarky’s Variety — home of the Armenian ice cream cone.” What was this all about? Had this old man suddenly lost his marbles? Maybe the heat was getting to him.

He had come up with a red, blue and orange cone. No fooling. The red was raspberry sherbert. So was the orange. Sandwiched in between was the vanilla with blue food coloring. He mixed all three flavors into a bin and served it up in a big helping.

Anybody who was Armenian in the neighborhood and knew his Armenian colors would react. Those who were not may have noticed the Armenian flag flying outside his shop. It was more than just an eye-catcher.

Sarky Giragosian was a proud survivor of the Armenian genocide and wanted everyone to appreciate his culture. Others were doing it with history books and speeches. He did it with ice cream. The entrepreneur that he was drew ice cream lovers from throughout the city, most of them bent on curiosity.

It was one of a kind. I did not see an Irish cone or a Polish cone. No other Armenian in our city infringed upon Sarky’s claim.

In the years that followed, the shop eventually gave way to urban renewal. The mega chains came in and forced the small business owners into oblivion.

The last day of Sarky’s business was turned into a bonanza. Free ice cream! All you wanted. All you could eat. The kids flocked to his door for the biggest treat of their lives.

As I look into my freezer, I see four different containers of ice cream. We have a maple walnut and a mint chocolate chip, joined by a black raspberry and a strawberry frozen yogurt. The latter has my name written on it. They say it’s better for you.

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