For ultimate ice cream, here's the scoop

By Erika Vidal
Published June 29, 2007

Dawn Novitsky's family was skeptical when she told them she wanted to open an Italian ice parlor in Lutz.

And it wasn't because Lutz is, well, Lutz.

"You'd eat all the profits, " they joked.

That didn't deter the small New Yorker with a Carmela-esque accent from opening her own place. This August, Kups-n-Kones Italian Ice Parlor - the write-in winner of our Ultimate Ice Cream Parlor poll - will celebrate its two-year anniversary.

Dawn, who used to work on Wall Street, admitted experiencing quite the culture shock after moving to Wesley Chapel from New York when her husband George's company relocated. One of the family's pre-relocation visits came on a typical hot Florida day, and they wanted to cool off with some Italian ice. They searched far and wide, but found nothing.

Thus, the idea for Kups-n-Cones was born.

The homey, tiki-themed shop has a loyal group of customers, about half of whom Dawn says are Northerners. They come for the flavors that remind them of home, like lemon, chocolate and rainbow.

The surrounding areas of Lutz seem to be embracing this slice of New York too. "Even customers who had no idea what it was - they're trying it and they seem to love it, " Dawn said.

Plus, thanks to all the Italian ice in her freezer at home, Dawn is officially known as the "the cool mom" to friends of their three kids.

The family-owned shop has more than 60 flavors of Italian ice, and that covers everything from cannoli and rainbow cookie to mango and green apple. They also sell gelato and regular "good old-fashioned, ice cream."

One of their most popular menu items, another "northern treat" truly reminiscent of New York, is their gelati - a melt-in-your-mouth combination of soft-serve vanilla gelato layered with your choice of Italian Ice flavor.

Gonna be driving? Then try a "smoolati, " which is a gelati blended into a smoothie-like texture.

The Novitskys are happy here, and they have no plans to move back to the big city. So will Kups-n-Kones be coming to a strip mall near you anytime soon?

"Now that we've got our feet wet, " Dawn said, "we may branch out a little more."

Kups-n-Kones, 24442 State Road 54, Lutz, 33559; (813) 949-1025; Open Monday through Thursday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.


How you voted

Other (Kups-n-Kones): 83%

Bo's Ice Cream, Tampa: 7%

Strachan's Homemade Ice Cream, Palm Harbor: 4%

Tanya & Matt's Ice Creamiest, Carrollwood/WestShore Plaza: 3%

Dairy Kurl, Clearwater: 1%

Campbell's Dairy Land, Brandon: 1%