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Dish It Up: ‘In an ice cream store, people are happy’

Niederfrank’s

Ed Niederfrank and Patti Finnegan with Al Roker filming an episode of “Roker on the Road” for the Food Network.

Courtesy photo

Escaping the grind of daily deadlines is what Patti Finnegan was looking for when she took over the now 70-year-old Niederfrank’s Ice Cream shop in National City.

The grind of having to meet daily deadlines at work lead to burnout for Patti Finnegan, who decided operating a scoop shop would be a better pace of life. So, she put together a business plan and when she caught wind that a decades-old ice cream shop in National City was in need of a new owner curiosity set in.

That National City institution, which was at the time a mere 47 years old, was Niederfrank’s Ice Cream. Founded by brothers Elmer and Ed, the shop had been churning out the frozen treat in the same fashion since opening its doors in 1948. After the second set of shop owners decided to hang up their hats, they wanted to make sure that whoever took over would honor that age-old process.

Enter Finnegan and partner Mary Ellen Faught. The pair took over in 1995 and, along with an ice cream making machine over a hundred years old, continued using Niederfrank’s original recipes and methods to make batches of ice cream with all natural ingredients 10-gallons at a time.

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream in National City has been making ice cream the old-fashioned way since 1948.

Marking 70 years this year, Niederfrank’s continues to serve South Bay residents, plus scores of dutiful fans from around the county and as far away as the Philippines. 

Finnegan recently sat down to record an episode of Dish It Up and talked about making ice cream the “old fashioned way” and other topics including:

  • Stepping into Niederfrank’s
  • Making ice cream the “old fashioned way”
  • All natural ingredients made or mixed on site
  • Same recipes from 50-60 years ago still available
  • Equipment that stands the test of time
  • Hand crafting every single flavor
  • 48 ice creams with rotating seasonal flavors
  • Wholesale clients that include Stone BrewingSouth Park Brewing and Vinaka Cafe
  • Staying true to what you do
  • What does it take to make a batch
  • Trying to keep prices steady
  • Shopping the global market for ingredients
  • Former President of the Philippines, Fidel Ramos, is a big fan
  • Spanish Village ice cream cart during summers supports artists

Dish It Up is a collaboration between PACIFIC and Facebook group Eating and Drinking In San Diego.

Listen and subscribe to Dish It Up and sister podcast Kiss My Glass on Apple iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud. And, if there’s something you want to hear about in an upcoming podcast, whether it be a food-related topic or specific guest, please feel free to let us know at lifescool@pacificsandiego.com.

Niederfrank’s

The ice cream maker at Niederfrank's is more than 110 years old.

Courtesy photo

Keep up

726 A Ave., National City, niederfranks.com

facebook.com/Niederfranksicecreams

Instagram: @niederfranksicecream

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