I‘m not sure what the parameters are that allow ice cream shoppes to proclaim ‘homemade’ ice cream. I was searching around Melrose, but it seemed that every location served ice cream that was ‘homemade’ by Richardson’s in Middletown. Soc’s makes thing clear when it says “made on the premises,” so I got a Reverse Chocolate Chip cone.
Despite the way this place sounds when you say the name out loud, I couldn’t find any baseball iconography anywhere around the stand. It turns out that instead of being named for our red stockinged nine, this place was actually named for the original owner who went by the name Socrates. In 1989, Soc’s was bought by the Calakoutis family and has been in their control since.
The ice cream stand is located on the Lynn Fells Parkway just into Saugus, right now there’s a hideous bit of road construction going on, but as soon as you start to get frustrated, there is Soc’s. It’s a roadside stand that’s separated from the road by an ugly chain link fence, but once you turn into the lot all you see are smiling faces. There’s an inside area with a few booths, but most people were out under the trees where the picnic tables are stuffed as thick as can be. During the winter when the ice cream is gone, they keep things going by using this area to sell Christmas trees.
With two windows open and a short line, this seemed like it was going to be easy. However, the line to my left took a turn for the treacherous when the dad unfolded a piece of paper from his pocket with an extensive to go order, and to the right was a girl who worked at the shop who was treating all of her friends to her employee discount. After some extended mindless banter, I finally got to the window and had a sample of the Smores ice cream. With improper punctuation (S’mores would be proper) and whole mini marshmallows in the mix, I wasn’t so impressed.
I wound up with a reverse chocolate chip cone. Large chunks of white chocolate were held in the milky creamy chocolate ice cream. This was a clean and fresh cone, but there were two things about it that really made it stand out. My first bite seemed especially cold and I was expecting that as a result the ice cream was going to be extremely hard, but that assumption was wrong. Despite the cold, the ice cream had almost a soft-serve consistency, making this quick and easy and refreshing. I’m not sure what they do different in the process, but it oddly lived up to my expectations as I had initially thought that Soc’s was just a soft-serve joint.
Things were so calm and nice here that I forgot when I put my camera on the table to pick it back up. It wasn’t until I had left and was walking around Melrose looking for a sandwich that I realized my camera was gone. When I pulled back in the driveway, I saw the red light flicker on the table in the same place I left it. Most people were eating cones in their cars as dusk had finally passed, and no one had even noticed it sitting there. I picked it up and drove back toward a waiting gyro.
Cone – kids $2.85 small $3.35 medium $4 large $4.50
Sundae – small $4 medium $4.50 large $5 super $9
Frappe $4.29 extra thick $4.75
Soc’s Ice Cream
Open April – late October/early November
Hours 11a-11p ?