If you're hosting any holiday dinners and would like to include a no-effort dessert, you might want to try what my parents served up one night over Thanksgiving weekend: a bowl of Edy's peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce. It was a revelation, and not just because the peppermint and chocolate made such a great combination. My parents are known to have a scoop of ice cream at night from time to time, but the chocolate sauce seemed to be a new twist. It turned out it wasn't so new to them. They spotted the limited edition candy cane-inspired ice cream at Kroger in Middletown, Ohio, and reminisced about the mint ice cream with chocolate sauce served at Bruno's, an Italian restaurant in Jersey City they went to many decades ago.
I found a photo of Bruno's from back in the day via Google Book Search. Sadly, I can't post it, but you can view it here. It's from one of those "Images of America" books that includes old photos and history of towns and neighborhoods, this one called Jersey City 1940-1960: The Dan McNulty Collection. For anyone interested (you know who you are), you can read a fair amount of it and view a lot of photos at the Google Book Search link. The book says that "Bruno's was one of the most popular and fanciest Italian restaurants in town until it closed in the 1970s." According to a September 25, 1977 New York Times article, Bruno's was later turned into a restaurant operated by Patrick House, a drug rehabilitation and alcohol treatment program. The article describes the former Bruno's as "a Jersey City landmark on Summit Avenue that contained a private room where Mayor Frank Hague and his successor and nephew, Mayor Frank Hague Eggers, dined and held conferences." The Times ran a review of the new Bruno's on October 9, 1977, which included this historical information:
Bruno Valeo began his career by making spaghetti upstairs over a Jersey City tavern called Hillman and Rountree. The place -- it was on Hudson Boulevard -- became a hit with the political crowd, so much so that Bruno was able to open his own establishment, Bruno's, on Mother's Day in 1946.
In 1972, with most of the old crowd dead or moved away, Bruno's shut its doors, apparently for good, and Mr. Valeo retired. Then, just last year at this time, Bruno's reopened, stirring up the ghosts of scores of long-forgotten ward healers and trying to bring back the aura of a city that used to be.
The new owners were -- and are -- the Hudson County Drug and Alcohol Program, better known as Patrick House. The restaurant was conceived as a money-making venture, and not as a place for addicts to work. It is not the old Bruno's, or [sic] course, but it is not bad.
I don't know what, if anything, is at 161 Summit Avenue now, but Bruno's lives on in dessert and memories in Middletown, Ohio.