Summertime, and the weather is hot. It was Sunday afternoon, the grandkids were busy swimming, fishing and kayaking. At the end of the day, everyone rallied around the picnic table for a quick supper and then piled into the car for ice cream. Where do we go for ice cream these days? The kids all said the same thing, “Uncle Eddie’s!” Someone has been there before and shared the news with his siblings.
As we entered Uncle Eddie’s from Lincoln Avenue, we were met with a huge decision, “What should I get?” Six kids and three adults, and no one had a clue what they wanted. The kind young women behind the counter were amazingly patient in the chaos. With many buckets of delectable ice cream to choose from, it was mission impossible.
Finally, several of us tried a sample of “Coconut Castaway.” Although I am a white chocolate raspberry truffle fan, I decided on the coconut flavor, it was fabulous! The two “littles” were treated to a bright blue ice cream called “Superman (Mom’s choice).” The 7-year-old birthday boy ordered “Jolted Cow” and “Java Chunk,” he declared it to be yummy, and although I questioned his wisdom, it was his birthday party.
The 11-year-old birthday boy opted for a huge waffle cone filled to the brim with “Coconut Castaway” and a more traditional rainbow sherbet, which he ended up sharing with his baby brother. (Don’t think he is that benevolent, he was just plain full!) While we were busy trying to make a decision, Grandpa stepped up and ordered a waffle cone with “Bear Creek Carmel.” The under-6 portion of our group all had single scoops in a cup with either a sugar cone on top or a complimentary waffle wedge.
We giggled and wiggled and sang “Happy Birthday” to the two boys who were celebrating. Everyone’s opinion of the best ice cream flavor was different, but one thing we all agreed on was that Uncle Eddie’s was the best!
Anne Frustol, who together with her husband Kurt, own Uncle Eddie’s, happened to be working behind the counter that evening so I asked her a few questions. They moved from their home in New Jersey while their kids were attending Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. The story went something like this: They were on their way to Fergus Falls to visit the kids. While traveling, they received a call from a realtor asking if they would be interested in selling their home, since he had a buyer!
Not at all prepared for this proposal, they spent much of their traveling time tossing about the question, “what if?” While in Fergus Falls, they decided to take a peek into the real estate market in town and found a house that might just work. After prayerful consideration, they decided to take the plunge.
Having an ice cream shop was Kurt’s lifelong dream. A few years after moving to town, they learned that the Sherwin Williams building was for sale and decided to take a second plunge. This time they dove head first into the waters of making a dream come true. On May 29, 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, they realized their dream with the opening of Uncle Eddie’s.
They named the store after Anne’s father, Eddie, who was known for warm hospitality and the ability to make people feel welcome and cared for. Anne said, “The coffee pot was always on, and thanks to my mom, Myrt, there were always taste-tempting treats.”
Kurt recalled hearing people call out to Uncle Eddie and the two agreed that it was a perfect name for an ice cream shop where they wanted people to feel welcome.
When I asked Anne if there was anything she wanted people to know about Uncle Eddie’s, aside from the fact that they have forty flavors of fabulous ice cream, she shared that their goal is to provide a warm welcoming place for loved ones, friends and family to gather. A place to catch up on what’s happening in people’s lives and just talk.
I think they have accomplished their goal. I asked my grandkids for comments about Uncle Eddie’s. Their unfiltered words included: Aubs (12): “It’s a cute little shop and it’s awesome. I like that it was established in 2020, because some good should come out of COVID.” (She wants a navy-blue Uncle Eddie’s sweatshirt.) Isaac (11): “Lots of great flavors, It’s delicious.” Owen (7): “It’s delicious and I want to go there again.” Dre (5): “Delicious and nutritious!”
Their testimonials are enough to tell us the kids love it, and so do adults. I stopped by today to take a few pictures and remind myself of all the flavors they offer. Deciding you cannot enter an ice cream shop without at least trying a little something new, I chose a rum black cherry single-scoop sugar cone. It was more than enough for the middle of the day, and tasted absolutely divine. I agree with the kids, Uncle Eddie’s is delicious and I want to go there again. So the die is cast, we will be making many family trips to Uncle Eddie’s, where friends and family gather together to talk, laugh and eat delicious ice cream.
Sue Wilken is a lifelong resident of Fergus Falls. Her column appears in the weekend edition.