Tucked away in the residential strip of Miller Place’s North Country Road, McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor has been scooping homemade ice cream and ices since 1992. Run by husband and wife team, Jim and Gail, the parlor, with its long history of sugar cones, triple scoops, milkshakes and sweet treats, has been serving the neighborhood since its soda shop days in the 1950s. The family-run, family-friendly establishment is proud to keep the custom going; the McNulty’s children now scoop sweets. It truly feels like you’re stepping back in time as soon as you pull into the gravel lot.
Ice cream was always a part of Gail and Jim’s relationship even prior to taking the creamy, cool treat on as a professional endeavor. It was part of each of their dates, and a backdrop to their commitment to one another; Jim proposed to Gail in a Carvel. Now, Gail refers to Carvel as the “c-word.” Clearly the franchise is a competitor these days. “Carvel and Baskin-Robbins are curse words in our house!” she adds.
Once married, the couple knew they wanted to start a business together; both grew up in family businesses, and ice cream seemed to be the sweet choice. After stumbling upon a boarded-up building, the couple bought what was previously Waltz’s Ice Cream Parlor, a seasonal establishment, from the Waltz family, another Miller Place clan, who still to this day visit Gail and her crew for the occasional sundae.
Minutes away from Cedar Beach, the shop in the warmer months draws a ton of visitors — from locals known by name and flavor to tourists visiting the lush North Shore’s beachy escapes. A hangout for the local kids, McNulty’s is within a half mile from three different schools, so many walk over after class for a sweet snack. “Our most popular flavors are vanilla peanut butter chunk and raspberry truffle. Other favorites are Nutella, mint chunk and good old fashioned vanilla,” Gail says. “We use the best, super-premium dairy products, and all of our ice cream is homemade, so hard or soft serve is equally delicious.”
Summer is packed, but the winter months don’t cause too much of a slow down. “We have our loyal, local crowd that supports us all winter long, no matter the weather,” says Gail. “We serve lots of takeout quarts and pints, ice cream cakes and hot chocolate. Birthday parties and other events help us sustain the off-season, too.” She to lists the family-themed events that McNulty’s hosts year round: a Halloweenie Roast in October with marshmallow roasting, free hot dogs and cider and a costume parade with a live DJ; in December the store is the pick up location for the Miller Place Fire Department’s Polar Express, where kids ride the famed train with Santa Claus, while grown-ups sip free hot chocolate and snack on holiday cookies. Their annual Easter egg hunt is held the Sunday before Easter, featuring more than 2,500 hidden, sweet-filled eggs, live music and an appearance from the Easter Bunny. Throughout the summer, every Monday night is Kids Night with costumed characters, music and games. Summer Saturday evenings bring live music on the patio. To celebrate their anniversary, McNulty’s hosts a giant ice-cream eating contest every July.
A tradition for the families in the area, McNulty’s is the quintessential ice cream shop, a great date spot, a perfect place to bring the kids and a must-visit after the beach. Says Gail, “Jim and I would love to see our business eventually run by our three kids, so we can continue to serve sweet treats to the sweet people who visit us!”
McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor
153 N Country Rd
Miller Place, NY 11764