Sunday, June 17, 2001

Ice balls a sweet Newport tradition

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        NEWPORT — The Little League game ended and my grandson shouted to his Dad, “Can we go to Ann's for an ice ball?” Thirty years earlier my son had shouted the same request to me and three decades before that, I had asked my Dad the same question.

[photo] Ann's Ice Ball stand in Newport opened in 1919 and continues to draw crowds, as well as revive memories.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        In 1919, Ann Bezold opened her ice ball stand behind her husband's tavern on Ninth Street, where the Green Derby now sits. When Mr. Bezold sold his business in 1940, Ann moved her stand one block east to the small brick building at Ninth and Orchard Streets. Sixty-one years later, the Newport institution continues to serve its treat to second- and third-generation customers.

        Glass syrup bowls with flip-top covers and an antique ice shaver are gentle reminders of Ann's long history. The joy of a nectar ice ball with a scoop of homemade ice cream is the same today as it was “back then.” Only one thing has changed. Ann originally sold her product for 5 cents, or 10 cents with a dip of ice cream. Today the cost is $1.50.

        During the four years that Tom Bush and his wife, Sylvia, have owned the business they have made a couple of changes. They stay open year-round and offer a sandwich menu. With 17 flavors to choose from, old favorites such as cherry, lime and grape are available along with new selections such as watermelon and rainbow plus seven sugar-free selections. The couple says two things will never change.

        “We still use Ann's secret recipe for the syrup and our ice cream is still homemade.”

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, is published on Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. If there is a place you would like to see featured, call 578-5555.


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