The Resurrection of Toll Gate Ice Cream?

Understand this. There was a time when I treated the Toll Gate Ice Cream shoppe as both a comforting location for some tasty ice cream and burger food, but also as a place to center my photographic concepts. Think about it. A cute little ice cream parlor, situated at the confluence of New Scotland Road and Kenwood Avenue, housing an old neon sign, adjacent to a train over pass, with a welcoming facade? It just screams every single “take a photo of me” chant.

Toll Gate Ice Cream, December 2010. Nikon Nikkormat FTn camera, Kodak Kodachrome 64 film. Photo (c) 2010 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

But the ice cream shoppe has fallen on hard times. In 2017, the restaurant shut down after the hospitalization of one of its family members. Attempts to reopen the restaurant were scuttled when COVID-19 tore through.

Even recently, the inviting facade has succumbed to overgrowth and negligence. And even in its disused state, it still provided me with photographic inspiration – albeit an inspiration of despair instead of hope.

We Serve Wayward Strangers. Kodak Medalist II camera, Efke 820 infrared film, with Wratten R78 filter. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

That being said … yesterday, I received three different personal “hey Chuck, check this out” messages from my readers, all pointing to a local newspaper article that says the Zautner family, who still own the Toll Gate, plan on renovating a building behind the original structure and reopen that building as a new Toll Gate Ice Cream shoppe, with plans to use the existing Albany County Rail Trail to draw customers to its tasty ice cream parlor. The front building will be restored as well.

Now if this happens, this would be a fantastic concept. There’s nothing like tasty hand-made ice cream from small-town America. And the Toll Gate is the epitome of that.

Plus, if it comes back … that means I get more photographic inspirations. This is important. Chuck needs photographic inspirations at the same level as Chuck needs air to breathe.

That, and I need some tasty Toll Gate Ice Cream. So let’s make this happen.