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Ice Cream Chronicles (Vol. 17): Crossing the Y(ummy)-Bridge - Tom's Ice Cream Bowl

Next to the Y-Bridge, Tom's Ice Cream Bowl might be
Zanesville Ohio's most familiar landmark
Founded by John McIntire in 1797, on land deeded by town namesake as well as father-in-law Ebenezer Zane, Zanesville stands as the largest Ohio outpost on the I-70 freeway between the Columbus metro area and the West Virginia border. Known historically for its Y-Bridge (in its fifth iteration since its original construction in 1814) and its renowned pottery industry, Zanesville also sports a top-ranked ice cream store as determined by USA Today in Tom's Ice Cream Bowl.

Originally known as Jack Hemmer Ice Cream when the business first opened in 1948, its current appellation as Tom's Ice Cream Bowl was finalized in 1957, four years after now-retired co-founder Tom Mirgon bought Jack's interest in the business. Current owner Bill Sullivan, the former store manager, agreed to keep the business pretty much the same. In fact, while other ice cream brick-and-mortar shops I have visited over the past couple years may have been in business longer, Tom's may be the one store (Johnson's Ice Cream in Bexley is also a contender here) that stays the most true to its bygone era of origin.

Dapper employees in white hats and aprons matched with black bow ties stand behind the counter within a distinctly soda fountain styled setup that probably hasn't changed all that much since the 1950s. The non-ice cream menu also stays firm to those classic 50's-era diner dishes (burgers, hot dogs and chili) with a few Ohio-area twists (shredded chicken and Rittberger fried baloney sandwiches.) To top it off, a line of nuts and candies from Canton's Ben Heggy's are available to take home for further snacking. We got the impression prior to our visit that large crowds are something of the norm at Tom's, and nothing from our experience dissuaded us from that line of thinking.

Tom's Ice Cream Bowl blends an ice cream soda fountain atmosphere
with diner dish favorites and Ben Heggy's nuts and candies
Of course, they wouldn't call it the "Ice Cream Bowl" if they didn't have ice cream, and we weren't dropping by simply to look at what flavors were on the board. Tom's sports both seasonal and standard flavors ice cream all made in-house, and we decided we both would go with one dip off both flavor menus (Tom's regular flavors are listed in two corners of the store.)

That's our bowl of absolute frozen deliciousness coming our way
True to the name, we received our ice cream in bowls, and there was a lot of it to be had. I ordered my standard Butter Pecan, which was good but I felt was trumped by the Coconut Chocolate Almond (it ranks up with the Coconut Chai from Cedarville's The Neapolitan as one of my favorites this year) I bagged as my second dip. My spouse's Maple Nut was also quite delicious, and she was also pretty pleased by her Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Fudge. Prices for the ice cream and the menu as a whole fall on the inexpensive side of the ledger, making it fairly easy for the visitor to fill their bellies without breaking the bank...or bowl, in this particular case.

Tom's Ice Cream Bowl
532 Mcintire Ave
Zanesville, OH
(740) 452-5267
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