Inside the Corona del Mar ice cream shop that’s over 80 years old

Equal parts impressive crew and offbeat family, the working class Chandler crew at the Corona del Mar ice cream shop is every bit as much of a wonder as the treats they produce. Eighty years in business, the place operates in its familiar postwar style, running four days a week around the clock, thanks to a set of orange boxes that hang from every-thing — from the windows, to the front doors, to the picnic tables.

When the news came in that months before, business at the original gift shop would be moving to the Harbor Place lot, Cheryl Chandler knew she had to keep her bar open. Chandler says she even knew about the building on the waterfront that had an air of mystery, which she decided was its elusive owner. The Chandler family bought it for $435,000. “I spent the next 30 years in there,” Chandler says, “shearing and trimming — that’s a great metaphor.”

The Chandler family set out to find someone to run the shop, and they call their announcement that Dominick “Joe” Cosentino had been hired “the happiest moment of the family’s life.” Cosentino says he was surprised to find himself working at an Italian restaurant in the first place. When he saw a nearby KFC restaurant empty, he figured this would be the place he would strike out and start his own business. Instead, he found himself working under Joe, where they cut the wheels off of carriages and sang country songs.

Today, in the signature Amalfi swirl, the caramel cones are glazed with caramel, they’re blended with Mexican caramel syrup and coffee-flavored syrup, which makes them extra airy. Cosentino runs the crew at this angle and does a half dozen or so hours on Saturday. He and his wife, Cathy, back home, serve up their home-made mocha shakes that are served in all kinds of teacups — how adorable is that? — as well as cortados. Chloe and Noah, Milo and Riley (all 4 years old) join in the family fun with their endless supply of Minnie Mouse pop cakes.

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