Cherries Serves Farm-Fresh Ice Cream & More in Stone Ridge

Adobe Stock / Katecat

Cherries, the beloved ice cream shop in Ulster County, is under new ownership. Come for ice cream cones and stay for the menu of savory staples.

One of the most beloved family outings is going to get ice cream. Throughout the Hudson Valley, people from all over gather at their favorite ice cream shops to enjoy a sweet, frozen delicacy with family and friends. In Ulster County, Cherries is such a place. Even as leaves fall from the trees and cold air sweeps into the Hudson Valley, this ice cream shop is open for business—under new ownership.

The husband-and-wife duo of Jolene Delisle and Lawrence O’Toole have owned Cherries—the ’50s-style ice cream and burger joint in Stone Ridge—since April of 2022. Upon permanently moving to Kerhonkson during the pandemic with their two children, the couple knew no one and yearned for connections in their community. Aside from mostly empty playgrounds, their primary refuge was Cherries, which was open consistently through the pandemic. Delisle remembers feeling “that Cherries was one of those special places that felt like everyone was there.”

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Related: Where to Go for Ice Cream in the Hudson Valley

Cherries: Under New Ownership

When former owner Alyson Reidy decided to sell Cherries, Delisle and O’Toole knew they wanted to keep this treasure alive. Cherries first opened in the 1950s and has been owned by four different families. Delisle appreciates the multigenerational nature of Cherries and “really wanted to honor that legacy.” The couple put in a bid, were granted ownership in April 2022, immediately started renovating the building, and reopened for Memorial Day weekend.

Delisle’s love for ice cream stems from road trips during her childhood. Each trip was punctuated by a stop at a roadside Dairy Queen. She explains, “That’s the kind of magic we’re trying to recreate: Dairy Queen, roadside vibes.”

With 15 flavors of hand-crafted hard ice cream from Del’s Dairy Farm in Red Hook, Cherries had an extremely successful first summer, serving almost 10,000 customers since the reopening. It has been a wonderful experience for the family. As Delisle puts it, “It’s been really awesome to meet so many people in the community and to have this sense of belonging.”

Delisle’s personal favorite Cherries flavor is lavender-honey blueberry; she thinks it’s special because of how local it feels, and that it’s “something you can’t get everywhere.” It, like many of the flavors, is gluten-free. The menu also includes two vegan flavors. The shop’s goal is to introduce more vegan flavors by next summer, including a variety of soft-serve.

In August, Cherries introduced its food menu. Organic grass-fed burgers, hot dogs, fresh fries fried in sunflower or coconut oil, and vegan and vegetarian options comprise the eco-friendly, GMO-free menu. Cherries boasts very affordable prices, offering a 4 oz. burger for $7. Maintaining low prices is a priority for the new owners, as Delisle “wanted to make sure people who are feeding their families could feel like they have an accessible price option.”

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Cherries is not Delisle and O’Toole’s first rodeo—in fact, they co-founded a branding agency, The Working Assembly, in 2017. Through the company’s work on the Museum of Ice Cream in New York City, they were able to explore ice cream from the business side before ever discovering Cherries. Delisle’s main takeaway from this experience became her very motivation for Cherries: “Ice cream is this happy connection. It connects people.”

Related: Where to Go for Ice Cream Sandwiches in the Hudson Valley

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