On Sunday June 10, Tyson Vasapoli proposed marriage to his girlfriend Christine Mihal at Cabot’s Ice Cream in Newtonville. Backed by a six-piece mariachi band, the young couple danced and hugged and shared their joy with their fellow patrons and the Cabot’s staff.
But this marriage proposal isn't the first memorable wedding story involving Cabots; Owner Joe Prestejohn has a number of tales to tell from the Newtonville eatery and ice cream parlor's 43-year history.
About six years ago, Prestejohn says a couple came in after their wedding, dressed in all their finery and starving after the ceremony but still having a few hours to wait until their reception. He treated them to a couple of burgers (“how could I charge them?” he laughs), and now the couple has a tradition of returning every year on their anniversary.
Tradition is important at Cabot’s -- right down to its name, which they got from the neighborhood where it is located.
“We’re near the Cabot School,” explains Prestejohn. “So it’s the Cabot area of Newton.”
This fact is of great interest to many Cabot's patrons -- particularly when there is a prize involved.
“There was a young girl who used to come in a lot, after school,“ Prestejohn recounts. “And she asked the question everyone asks about the name, and I gave her the same answer. But she kept asking ‘why?’ So I told her, ‘Why don’t you go find out, and I’ll buy you a banana boat if you get the answer’. So she ran down to the Jackson Homestead and came back an hour later with a computer printout. That was a long time ago, she’s actually out of college now!”
This sort of lifelong relationship with their customers is exactly what has kept Cabot’s going for all these years.
Prestejohn’s parents, Catherine and Joseph, started Cabot’s in 1969. Prestejohn and his sister, Sue Lipsky, worked at the shop from the time they were very young.
Prestejohn says he never really wanted to do anything other than work at Cabot’s, that he always enjoyed working there even before he graduated from Newton North High School and eventually took over the business.
Prestejohn's father passed away about 25 years ago, but his mother remained active in Cabot’s business and, at the age of 90, still comes in for dinner and to “chat” when she can.
Prestejohn’s wife Carol also works in the restaurant, as does their daughter, Katelyn.
In fact, Danielle’s business and her commitment to the Paleo Diet have led to some recent changes to the Cabot’s menu. Included in the current June breakfast specials (breakfast specials change monthly) is the Breakfast Protein Plate, which includes a grilled boneless chicken breast, egg whites, tomatoes and some sautéed baby spinach with mushrooms.
Another less recent (but equally important) change to the menu came a couple decades ago when Cabot's started selling soft-serve frozen yogurt. They blend it with a number of flavorings, fruits and toppings to create a myriad of flavors. With their numerous ice cream varieties, Cabot’s offers upwards of 70 different flavors of frozen treats.
But Cabot’s goes well beyond your standard cone. They offer an extensive list of yogurt and ice cream cakes and pies, a famous Baked Alaska, ice cream and yogurt drinks including frappes, shakes and sodas, and – of course – sundaes. In fact, if someone and 174 of his/her closest friends want to share a sundae, there is the Great Pyramid that contains a whopping 60 pints of ice cream, 12 quarts of toppings, and all the nuts, marshmallow, cherries and whipped cream you can eat.
Prestejohn acknowledges that there isn’t much demand for this gargantuan frozen creation, but smaller “big sundaes” (like the Taj Mahal, which serves a “mere” 70 – 80 people) are often the staple of school parties and special occasions.
Cabot’s also provides food and ice cream for local charities. Recently Prestejohn supplied the basic ingredients and the ice cream for the June 5 Awards Night at the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton. The gentlemen of the St. Mary of Carmen Society actually prepared the food for the young honorees, and Prestejohn hopes to bring back this more festive, formal style of celebrating with an awards ceremony where “every kid gets something.”
Community events -- big or small -- really are the hallmark of Cabot’s popularity.
“It’s all about the memories, in the end. From baby’s first ice cream to kindergarten graduation to college graduation and everything ‘from scoop to nuts’ in between, everything is a memory. And it’s just nice that we get to be a part of it,” Prestejohn says.