If you have lived in Hoboken within the last 29 years there is a good chance you’ve bought some delicious ice cream from Hoboken’s only official Mr. Softee, Tony Santomauro. Tony, a Fair Lawn, NJ resident has called Hoboken his second home since many of us were wearing diapers. From a simple cone to a banana split with a cherry on top, Tony is indeed a staple within the Mile Square City.
Tony is under the official Mr. Softee franchise umbrella. Tony, pays for the rights to be an official Mr. Softee. “Other ice cream trucks in town paint their trucks to look exactly like me, they even go as far as placing the official Mr. Softee cone design on their trucks to mimic me”. Tony’s success is noticed by everyone, everyone wants his business however they fail to realize that while there may be many look a like trucks, there is only 1 Tony Santomauro. Tony’s long list of devout customers make sure that when they get their treats, they’re getting it from Tony.
Tony’s route starts uptown by the water and makes its way to the south side of Church Square Park. At the end of the night, Tony can be found on the corner of 6th and Bloomfield before returning the truck to it’s Jersey City garage resting spot until the next day.
With strict ice cream vendor laws in NJ, guys like Tony don’t have the luxury of taking their trucks home for the night, they must keep it in an enclosed garage that keeps power running to the truck to keep the ingredients fresh, an added expense of over $1000 a month. In Newark, NJ there is a law that prevents any person selling ice cream after 6pm without a doctors note, an odd and old law still on the books within Newark city limits.
The ice cream truck business is very expensive says Tony “A new truck can cost in the range of around $120,000″. With added expenses like parking in a garage, gas, inventory, licensing , several millions of dollars in liability insurance and man power, Tony has his hands full with his seasonal business. “During the time when I don’t operate the ice cream truck, I drive a truck locally, this is a seasonal business and it’s hard to rely on just the ice cream sales to pay the bills year round”. Tony is married and his wife works as well.
Tony has recently created a “Frequent Buyer Card” for all of his customers, a trick of the trade never provided by other ice cream vendors. The card is used every time you make a purchase, after each purchase Tony punches the card with a hole, after 10 purchases you will receive a free small cone. It’s very obvious Tony appreciates his customers so much, never in my life has an ice cream vendor given me a preferred buyers card.
Tony’s menu is classic, all made to order treats, nothing is pre packaged. Hawaiian Pineapple Sundaes, Slush drinks, Shakes, Softee Swirls, Banana Boats and more, everything Tony serves up is as fresh as it can be. Do yourself a favor and visit Tony one day and enjoy the finest and freshest ice cream treats Hoboken has to offer.