The instantly popular Cherries ice cream stand is back for its second season—and it’s even better than before.
During the gloom of early pandemic days, Jolene Delisle and Lawrence O’Toole found moments of happiness at Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill. The landmark shop in Stone Ridge was their haven during shutdowns and one of the few spots they could take their young children when social distancing was a thing. As newcomers to the area—they, with their then 1- and 3-year-old kids, moved from the Upper West Side to Kerhonkson in January 2020—the couple says that Cherries offered that deep community connection they were craving.
“During quarantine, we missed seeing neighbors out the window or just people walking around. Since we live on a private road, we didn’t even see cars driving by,” recalls Delisle. “One of the few places consistently open was Cherries. We really enjoyed the casual, roadside-friendly vibe.” When word got out nearly two years later that Cherries owner Alyson Reidy had put the property on the market, Delisle and O’Toole jumped at the opportunity to own the shop they’d grown to love.
“I always said to close friends that if Cherries ever goes up for sale, we should buy it,” says Delisle, the founder and creative director of The Working Assembly, a successful Manhattan-based branding agency. “When the property was listed, my friends sent me the ad and said, ‘Put your money where your mouth is!’” she recalls. Delisle and her husband moved quickly, making an offer within 24 hours.
They updated the kitchen, plumbing, and equipment, installed new windows, repainted the circa-1950s building with black trim, and gave it a fresh rebrand. To top it off, designers at The Working Assembly came up with a cartoon mascot known as “Gerry the Cherry,” named after Delisle’s father Gerald. The team also developed a new website and revamped the business’ social media presence. They reopened for business last May.
Beyond a facelift, the most notable change at Cherries is the menu. Everything is now GMO-free and sourced locally whenever possible. Delisle and O’Toole buy all their frozen treats from Del’s Dairy Farm and Ice Cream Company, a small-batch creamery in Red Hook, because they believe the products are fresher and they support local agriculture. “We actually saw the cows in the field that produce the milk for the ice cream,” says O’Toole. “That small ecosystem really spoke to us, and it’s important for us to offer high-quality food that we would feel good about giving to our own children.”
Every day from 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Cherries scoops 14 flavors of hard ice cream, including Colombian coffee toffee; coconut raspberry (which is vegan and gluten-free); salted caramel; hazelnut chocolate (vegan); and the popular lavender honey blueberry—clover honey and blueberry jam ripple in French lavender ice cream. There’s also soft serve chocolate, vanilla, and classic twist, all sourced from Gillette Creamery in Gardiner. Other options include the make-your-own sundae with a choice of ice cream plus hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, strawberry, marshmallow, or peanut butter sauce.
Cherries also offers an assortment of upscale comfort foods made from clean ingredients like grass-fed burgers, nitrate-free bacon, hormone-free chicken, organic milk, and locally baked bread from Bread Alone, plus fresh salads and plant-based options. “We’re focused on serving real food versus processed as much as possible,” says Delisle.
If you really want a straightforward assessment of the new Cherries, just ask the kids. “They think it’s amazing,” says O’Toole of his children, Emerson, 5, and Foster, 3. “Our daughter loves to hand out menus and give other kids tours of the ice cream freezer. Our son just loves that he can get gummy bears at a moment’s notice.”