Standing behind a long serving counter inside his iconic ice cream shop in Newton, Joe Prestejohn scooped strawberry ice cream into a waffle cone to serve a customer on an unseasonably warm afternoon.
Customers from near and far have flocked to Cabot’s Ice Cream for more than a half century, and more likely than not, they’ve run into Prestejohn as he’s worked there in some way since his late parents, Joseph and Catherine Prestejohn, purchased the shop in 1969.
Come next month, though, Joe Prestejohn will be retiring and turning Cabot’s keys over to Kay and Kevin Masterson, owners of Johnny’s Luncheonette, another go-to retro-style diner in Newton.
Prestejohn told the Herald on Friday he’s stepping back because he’s tired, having just turned 65. He was just 11 when he started scooping ice cream when his parents opened up the spot which “has turned into quite an institution.”
“Being in the restaurant business means a lot of hours and a lot of days,” Prestejohn said. “You really don’t count the hours, you just say ‘Tuesday. I’m working, and it could be morning, day and night.’ These past couple years have been that morning, day and night.”
Charles River Regional Chamber President Greg Reibman broke the news on the chamber’s website Thursday. That story, which Cabot’s shared on its Facebook page, drew many community members and former workers to recall memories.
“This is a place that has meant so much to so many people across the entire region,” Reibman told the Herald. “Lots of memories, lots of celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, first dates there, but they’ve also been there when they needed some comfort in sad times.”
Prestejohn said he is “extremely confident” that Kay and Kevin Masterson will keep up Cabot’s success that customers have grown accustomed to. The Mastersons have assured him they don’t want to make any changes to the Cabot staff or inside the diner, he said.
The Mastersons could not be reached for comment Friday.
“I have been talking to a lot of people over many, many months,” Prestejohn said, “and I thought these people would be the best fit because they run their business similar to mine. They treat their employees great, they treat their employees like family, they treat their customers like family.”
Loyal customers and a supportive community, Prestejohn said, allowed Cabot’s to continue creating old fashioned hot fudge sundaes and homemade belgium waffles topped with ice cream and whipped cream amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The diner put a tent up in the parking lot to accommodate outdoor dining, and when it got the green light to go back to indoor seating, Prestejohn said he tried to accommodate both options. However, staffing challenges pivoted the diner back solely indoors, he said.
Cabot’s has 42 staffers, some of whom have worked for Prestejohn for more than 25 years. The owner also relies heavily on high school students as part-timers. He and sister Susan Lipsky always try to have at least one of them be there all the time, but lately, it’s been both of them to ensure smooth operations.
Prestejohn said he and his family have purposely kept everything the same inside the diner which features red leathered booths, a long serving counter, black-and-white checkered tile floors, vintage lighting and a soda fountain.
“We’ve always been known as standing still,” he said. “It’s so nice to hear when a family comes in and they say ‘Oh, I used to come here when I was a little kid, and now I’m bringing my kid. This is his first Cabot’s experience.’ There are so few places where you can do that these days, you can’t go back to where you were a kid once.”
Denial of responsibility! insideheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.