HUDSON, Fla. — The words “Mr. Nick” are screen printed across the front of the bass drum in Nick Horn’s ice cream pub. The drum set, which sits on the makeshift stage, is a must-have for the music junkie.
“I jam out before the customers arrive,” he said with a laugh.
The man in the black chef’s coat and matching hat, with a ponytail sticking out the back, owns the fun and quirky space. The walls of his ice creamery are decorated with music posters, "Star Wars" memorabilia and tons of cows.
One item on the mantle means the most.
“That was Horn and Ferris Dairy,” said Horn, holding a glass milk bottle nearly a century old. “When my father was 7, he used to be the one to deliver these.”
The bottle has been on display since Mr. Nick’s Ice Cream Pub opened its doors in January.
A box with old family photos and a vintage milk crate arrives on Thursday afternoon. The black and white photo from the 1930s of Horn’s great grandfather will join the bottle on the mantle.
“You always like the little local business that keeps the family going,” said customer Rachel Bottass, who visits with her kids once per week.
Nick is putting a tasty new twist on a family tradition. His great grandfather, Samuel Luther, started a dairy farm in Muskogee, Okla., in the 1920s. Nick’s grandfather, Millard Horn, ran the farm in the 1960s.
Now Nick is creating something new from dairy.
“I come back because the ice cream is superb, homemade,” said a regular named Bobby.
Nearby, Rachel’s daughter, Josephine, chomped on a spoonful of peanut butter ice cream.
“If I could, I’d come back three times per week,” she said. “It’s probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had”
Reviews like that bring a smile to Nick’s face. He attended ice cream school at Penn State University in 2017. Two years later, he opened his shop in Hudson, which serves traditional ice creams and spiked versions.
The salted caramel is a big seller. So is the adult version of the Bananas Foster.
“It’s kind of a novelty,” he said of the spiked flavor. “It is a pub.”
There is beer on tap, but the ice cream is what keeps customers coming back.
“It’s carrying on the bloodlines, so to speak,” said Bobby.
The booze-free versions are a hit with kids.
“I live two minutes away and it is extremely dangerous because I’d probably come here every single day,” said McKenna Colwell, who drove past four ice creams shops to visit Nick’s.
It’s a tasty twist on the Horn family heritage.
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