Local restaurateur Steve Schuster — who owns Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and Penn Station East Coast Subs — opened the ice cream franchise Monday between Penn Station and Chipotle.
“Our locals have been very welcoming,” Schuster said. “We’re hearing positive comments that our guests are very excited to have a Toft Ice Cream Parlor this side of town. We’ve seen many smiling faces and look forward to a busy summer.”
Toft Dairy, operated by the Meisler family, has been churning out ice cream since the 1940s.
“When I started in high school, we had three flavors — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — and it was a nickel a scoop,” former Toft president Eugene Meisler said. “In 1965, my generation came into the business and started expanding.”
It now has more than 70 flavors at its Venice Road headquarters and it has franchised locations in Catawba Island and Cedar Point.
“I grew up in Huron and it was about a 25-minute drive to the Toft Dairy on Venice Road, but we made it a family tradition to go out there once a week after a day on the boat or at Cedar Point,” parlor manager Sarah Neibler. “Ice cream is a must, not a want.”
The newest location will make it easier for people in Perkins Township, Huron, Milan and Norwalk to get the ice cream.
“We always knew this road would be a good location, so we’re glad Steve and his family wanted to do something out here,” Toft president Chuck Meisler said.
Toft’s newest location is a culmination of a decades-long partnership between the Schuster and Meisler families.
“Steve has represented us well through his Perkins Restaurant and we’re so excited he wanted to jump on this because there isn’t a better person we could have chosen,” said Morgan Meisler, Chuck’s daughter and Toft’s marketing manager.
The partnership between the two families started with Steve’s father, Dick, and Chuck’s father, Eugene, after Dick opened the Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and used Toft buttermilk for its recipes.
“When you have high-quality food and serve it consistently generation after generation it pays off,” Dick said. “Out of all the Perkins in the country, I can tell you ours has the best pancakes and it’s because of Toft buttermilk.”
Steve understood the reputation and quality from Toft, so when he opened Max & Erma’s years ago in the same location he insisted on using Toft ice cream. The Toft ice cream sign he made for Max & Erma’s ice cream bar now hangs in his new franchise.