We're mighty protective of our regional food here in Colorado, but we also have to admit that the East Coast has had way more time to evolve distinct specialties — and way more people to champion them. Josh Pollack has done just that, re-creating the bagels, pizza and deli sandwiches of his home stamping grounds of New Jersey and New York City, with Rosenberg's Bagels, Famous Original J's Pizza and Lou's Italian Specialties.
Next up for Pollack is Sherry's Soda Shoppe, which will re-create a vintage soda fountain and ice cream shop next door to Rosenberg's, at 2716 Welton Street (which was the Rolling Pin Bake Shop until just a few months ago). The restaurateur named Sherry's after his grandmother on his mom's side, and styled the space after the soda fountains of the early 20th century, many of which still serve malts, shakes, sodas, sundaes and other sweet treats on the East Coast. "Like all our other brands, it's New York nostalgia — it's where I'm from," he notes.
While the space is still under construction, Pollack promises bolt-down stools, stamped tin ceilings and art nouveau wallpaper decorated with owls. "She was obsessed with owls," he says of his grandmother.
One of Pollack's inspirations for the new ice cream parlor was Conrad's Confectionery in the New Jersey town where he grew up. "Where they really hit their peak was in the 1950s with the diner style, but we're shooting for more of the early 1900s," he states, pointing out that a soda fountain once operated in a space that's now part of Rosenberg's. While that shop is long gone, Pollack was given a photograph of the place by a woman whose family ran it, in the days when Five Points was the bustling hub of Denver's African-American community.
On opening day, planned for March 10, expect twenty flavors of ice cream, four of which will be dairy-free, and another twenty flavors of sodas, malts and shakes. Pollack delved deep into soda shop lore to come up with a few authentic specialties, too, including phosphates made with Extinct Chemical Company acid phosphate, which gives flavored sodas a tangy quality. Those sodas are made with whole, fresh ingredients and include mint, lavender, lemon, basil (using herbs grown at nearby Altius Farms) and other traditional and offbeat flavors. You'll also be able to go extra-fizzy with Galeffi Effervescente tablets, an old Italian stomach remedy that also happens to be refreshingly lemony.
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The ice cream at Sherry's is built from an egg-free base, to which natural flavors and housemade baked goods are added. There's a lace cookie ice cream with a chocolate swirl, plain vanilla made with Madagascar vanilla bean paste, and vegan lemon made with a coconut cream base. "My grandmother's favorite flavor was pistachio," Pollack adds, "so we're going to make the best pistachio ice cream you've ever had."
Ice cream sandwiches will be built on fresh-baked cookies, including New York-style black-and-whites, but Pollack is most excited about his babka ice cream sandwiches. And general manager Milena Nichols adds that guests will be able to order custom sandwiches made with their choice of ice cream and cookie.
Whether you miss the egg creams of your childhood in New York, you're looking for a hint of the Five Points neighborhood as it existed 100 years ago or you just like frozen desserts, Sherry's will offer a little of all of that. And it will be one of the few places in town where the employees are jerks — soda jerks, that is.
This story was updated on February 20, 2020 to change the planned opening date from February 28 to March 10.