The best South Jersey ice cream parlor with a rich history
On any given summer night, you will find the parking lot at Leo's Ice Cream in Medford overflowing with cars. Lines are sometimes out the door to the inside and 20 feet deep at the outside window.
It is the go-to place for ice cream for miles around. It's been there since the 1980's but the history goes way back to 1936.
Leo's is run by Rick and Cheryl Cirelli and their family, but it all started with Rick's grandfather in Camden back in 1936. Giovanni Leo was an immigrant from a small town in Puglia in Southern Italy.
He came to New Jersey at the age of 17 and worked hard to make a future for himself in his newly adopted country.
Two decades later he created Leo's Yum-Yum, a version of Italian ice with his own recipe. It was a local sensation not only in Camden but all of South Jersey.
Plenty of vendors bought his 20-quart metal cans of the stuff all over Camden and beyond.
In 1980 his grandson resurrected the brand and hasn't looked back. Rick added homemade ice cream with some creative delicious flavors and an atmosphere that is certainly one of a kind.
The air in the atmosphere inside and out is happy anticipation.
You can try your luck inside but if you know what you want get in line at the window.
Inside the place is loaded with kitschy memorabilia.
The options and flavors seem to be endless.
The walls display pictures of when street vendors would sell Leo's Famous Yum-Yum on the streets of Camden.
Take a trip back in time as you wait for or enjoy your frozen treat.
It started as a family business and continues that way with Rick and his family.
The famous Yum-Yum is a slightly creamier, delicious version of other local water ice brands.
Sinatra songs, classic old hits and Italian music can be heard throughout the store.
There's a cozy little indoor area in the back and plenty of picnic tables outside.
A tribute to the founder and his story can be found on the wall.
A little model train set up near the ceiling keeps kids attention from time to time.
You can catch me there a couple of times a week just before they close!
THE DEFINITIVE LIST OF THE SWEETEST ICE CREAM PARLORS IN MONMOUTH AND OCEAN COUNTIES
The 6 best ice cream places in NJ
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.