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May 12, 2023

Friday Food Insider: Nothing screams summer more than sweet frozen treats

Melissa Evans Melissa Evans is crafting her own authentic Italian ice this summer at a shop on the Naples Causeway.
Welcome back to the Friday Food Insider. This week it's all about frozen treats. 
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Nothing screams summer more than going to a favorite ice cream spot, choosing a flavor, and adding special toppings such as jimmies, hot fudge sauce or fruit.

Then sitting down and eating the yummy treat while it drips down the cone onto your hand. 

As luscious as that sounds, maybe it's time to try something new.

Welcome back to the Friday Food Insider. This week it's all about frozen treats. 

Melissa Evans is excited to be crafting her own authentic Italian ice this summer on the Naples Causeway, bringing some fun, new sweet treats that will leave customers eager for more. 

Evans said her fixation with Italian ice started while she was attending college in New York and she's always dreamed of opening her own Italian ice shop in Maine to share the love of her favorite frozen concoction.

“I would bring quarts home to Maine because I could never find anything here,” Evans said.

She closed the doors on her retail storefront, Gem Lounge Jewelry in Raymond, which she now runs wholesale, so she could open Nico’s Italian Ice & Gelato. She decided to open Nico’s in the same place she worked when she was in high school and college, then known as Rick’s Ice Cream.

“I have special ties to this location,” said Evans. "Working at Rick’s Ice Cream shop was my favorite job, and moving into this space was definitely meant to be. I have received so much support from the locals and the businesses. I can’t imagine opening anywhere else.”

Melissa Evans
A flight of custom-ordered Italian ices.

Italian ice is made like and tastes like sorbet. It’s a smooth, frozen dish made with fruit juices, sugar and water. Italian ice is also dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free.  

The shop’s menu boasts a rotating selection of flavors, from mango and blue raspberry to more unique flavors like "tiger’s blood," watermelon margarita and strawberry guava. The gelato is made by an Italian-owned company called GS Gelato. 

What sets Nico’s apart are fun specialty offerings such as Churro a la Mode, Gelato Waffle Nachos and Gelato or Italian Ice Flights, which feature six scoops of the customer's choice.

Nico’s will be open next weekend, May 20-21, and then weekends until opening daily for the summer season from June 16 to Labor Day. 

A duo of Maine gelato shops

Although Nico’s is Maine’s first Italian ice shop, there are also two gelato companies in Maine.

Brunswick frozen dessert maker Gelato Fiasco opened its doors in 2007. Today they serve guests out of two stores, the original flagship shop at 74 Main St. in Brunswick, and the Portland shop at 425 Fore St. Try the Maine Wild Blueberry Crisp, Deep Maine Woods Brownie, or the Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt. 

Another gelato shop to check out is Gorgeous Gelato, 434 Fore St., Portland, offering gelato, desserts, coffee and Italian hot chocolate. Gorgeous Gelato also has a stand in Fort Williams Park, steps away from Portland Head Light, that opened for the season this week.

More frozen treats to savor

Alexis Wells
Garsides Ice Cream
  • Garside’s Ice Cream, located in Saco at 320 Ferry Road, has been serving dozens of flavors of delicious, frozen desserts to happy customers since 1955.
  • Sticky Sweet, located in Portland at 119 Cumberland Ave., is a sister-owned business that offers vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free ice cream. 
  • The Ice Cream Shoppe has locations at 167 Water St., Randolph; 902 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Oakland; 171 Wilton Road, Farmington; and 209 North Ave., Skowhegan.
  • Shaker Pond makes its own ice cream in Alfred at 148 Waterboro Road.
Alexis Wells
Fielder's Choice
  • Dairy Joy began operating at 311 Elm St. in Biddeford in 1940. 
  • Fielder's Choice Ice Cream is a family-owned business that started 15 years ago in Sabattus. It now has five locations at 156 Saco Ave, Old Orchard Beach; 271 Bath Road, Brunswick; 680 Minot Ave., Auburn; 637 Sabattus Road, Sabattus; 937 Western Ave., Manchester and 339 Odlin Road in Bangor.
Ice cream stand
Photo / Renee Cordes
Red's Dairy Freeze
  • Red’s Dairy Freeze, which operates in South Portland, is located at 167 Cottage Road. The shop has been serving soft serve and frozen yogurt in the area for more than 70 years. Red's fresh strawberry ice cream is a summer ritual.

Are you an ice cream, gelato or Italian ice person? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to know! Contact Alexis Wells at

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