New flavors, new merch for patrons to enjoy
By Joshua Maloni
Monday morning was a dreary, windy, fall-like day.
But for a moment, just before Hibbard’s Original Frozen Custard opened for the season, it was unusually sunny and bright.
See – even Mother Nature knows to look for the 84-year-old Lewiston landmark’s iconic red “Open” sign.
As is traditionally the case, patrons started lining up shortly after Hibbard’s unlatched the front serving windows. Some did a slow drive-by just before 11 a.m., no doubt eagerly anticipating their first cone or cup in (too) many months.
Catherine Daly of Lewiston was the first customer of 2023. She ordered a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake, which Daly called her favorite.
“I also, when I come here at night with my mom, I get the chocolate custard in a small bowl and we share it,” she said.
“I’ve known the place my whole life, and I’ve always liked the workers here and staff.”
Speaking on behalf of the sweet shop, Dan Buchner noted some new additions for 2023. Namely:
•The Historical Society of Lewiston has teamed with Hibbard’s for a holiday ornament that will be on sale later this summer.
•Postcards and notecards based on an original Maureen Kellick watercolor will be for sale, as will new Hibbard’s-themed logo shirts.
Each day, customers can look forward to vanilla, chocolate, black raspberry and pistachio custard.
“And then we'll have three rotating flavors,” Buchner said.
Peanut butter Oreo debuted as the first of more than a half-dozen new flavors to be mixed in throughout this season.
“It's our peanut butter custard, and it's got all kinds of Oreos sprinkled through it,” Buchner said.
Hibbard’s Original Frozen Custard team members Maggie Fideli and Dan Buchner celebrate the start of a new season.
In recent years, Hibbard’s has staged its own college basketball-inspired bracket to select the most popular custard.
“The new champ has been crowned – it is a different flavor,” Buchner said. “Black raspberry won this year.”
He explained black raspberry “is the third flavor we ever came out with” (following, of course, chocolate and vanilla).
“It's unlike most any other black raspberry. It's just a pure black raspberry explosion.”
Another popular entrant in the taste tournament was “Cookie Monster.”
“It is vanilla custard dyed blue,” he said. “And then it has cookie dough pieces and crushed Oreos.”
Hibbard’s continues to be popular with patrons year after year because, “In a word, it’s quality,” Buchner said. “It's consistency. It's always the same product. You have butter pecan today, you have butter pecan in September – it's gonna be the same, because we’re very consistent in how we make it. It's a quality product. We make it essentially the same way we did in 1939.”
The more people arrived at Hibbard’s on Monday, the more the temperature rose.
Now that spring is, well, springing, Buchner said crowds will be quick to assemble at Hibbard’s.
“People are out – they’re traveling more again; they want to get out; they don't want to be sitting home,” he said. “It's just a great place to come, sit down, before you go to Artpark for a concert, or after you go to one of the local restaurants – whichever you tend to choose. You decide you want to come here for dessert. There's always something. We're popular after a baseball game, or a soccer game, or practice.”
In addition to its world-famous, Barenaked Ladies-endorsed custard, Hibbard’s serve Perry’s Ice Cream.
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said, “While the calendar gives us a date for the start of spring, everyone knows that spring really starts when Hibbard's Custard opens! It gives us hope for those hot, summer days coming up!
“Hibbard's is part of the Village of Lewiston's identity. Customers come from all over Western New York and beyond to treat themselves to the homemade custard recipe that has been popular for decades and decades. Visitors often come to the Welcome Center wanting to know where they can find the custard, and are so happy to find out it's a short walk from our office.”
Hibbard’s Original Frozen Custard is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 105 Portage Road, right across from the Tuscarora Heroes and “Circle of Honor” monuments. Visit online at www.hibbardscustard.com.