SLINGERLANDS – Owners of the Toll Gate Ice Cream parlor plan to re-open.
To dispel rumors to the contrary – and to thank the community for its support – the family gave away free ice cream cones on Saturday, Jan. 28.
The iconic shop closed abruptly after 67 years in business when its primary owner and operator, Rob Zautner, the third Rob Zautner to run the business, went to the hospital with severe stomach pains on Sunday, Jan. 8. A few days later he was rushed back to the hospital for emergency surgery to treat diverticulitis. He is still in ICU with a long recovery in front of him, said his sister, Mary Zautner Smart.
Not having any insurance, the hospital bills are staggering, she said previously.
There is no set timeframe on when the eatery will offer its homemade ice cream on a regular basis, she said. The primary focus for the family right now is getting her brother back on his feet.
“There were lots of rumors that we would be closing permanently but that’s not the case,” she said. “We needed to close temporarily while my brother is in the hospital. We just have to get him back on track and get him well enough to open the door again.”
It seems people miss the place. The line wrapped around the corner of the building at 11:30 a.m. for noon start of free ice cream cones. The 50 or so half gallons of ice cream still in freezers since the doors closed sold out in about 30 minutes.
There was a steady line of people hankering for the cone with homemade ice cream all afternoon.
“The purpose of today is to give back to the community for their generosity and their donations and support for the time Rob has been in the hospital,” she said. “Today is really heart-warming. To watch people walk around and look and take pictures and share their memories with us is an awesome tribute to the 67 years my family has had this business.”
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