Uncle Louie G’s Out, Mara’s In


Uncle Louie G’s of Rockaway Beach is no more. But don’t fret. The same owner is simply breaking off from the franchise and re-opening with her own brand. Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor is opening on February 8.

Mara Valentino has been serving up scoops since she opened her first Uncle Louie G’s franchise in Rockaway Beach in 2012. The new shop was the beginning of a dream for Valentino, who had been in the Italian ice and ice cream business for 15 years. She long dreamed of opening a place of her own, so when she saw an empty storefront across from Elegante’s as she enjoyed a slice one day in 2012, opportunity called her name. The next day, she signed a lease. Over the years, the business quickly grew. Valentino went from sharing a space with Fat Cardinal Bakery, to launching mobile ice carts on the boardwalk in the summers, to moving the shop a few doors down to a much larger location in February 2018 and turning the backyard space into a mini beach paradise, where people could enjoy a scoop as they lounged in the sun. Now Valentino’s ready for the big time.

As time went on, Valentino started expanding beyond your average scoop in a cup or cone, to offering a range of creative items from wine ice cream to vegan choices to signature hand-dipped treats and unique, delicious, creative and unduplicated shakes, sundaes, Belgian waffles, ice cream pies and other items that filled her imagination. Uncle Louie G’s started to become more filled with Mara’s makings, so it only seemed right for her to officially call the shop her own.

While Valentino enjoyed having Uncle Louie G’s as her distributor, she started seeking out the finest ice cream and her search brought her to Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream. Gifford’s, a family-owned creamery in Maine that has been making ice cream since the 1800s, makes ice cream from scratch, using fresh milk and cream from local farms and slow-churning it by hand.

Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor will continue to offer more than 70 flavors of Italian ices and ice creams, and the specialty items that the neighborhood has grown to love, plus new items and flavors. The store re-opens at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 8, at the same location (92-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd).

“We invite everyone to come down and taste all we have to offer. As most people would say, That Mara is terrific… but she’s Just a little nuts!” a press release read, referring to the shop’s new slogan.