Purity Ice Cream Shop, the “Ice Cream of the Fingerlakes,” has continued its legacy of serving a wide variety of homemade ice creams and family favorite foods under its new owner, Kevin Sullivan, over the last month.
Sullivan, an Ithacan native, owns several local restaurants including Luna Inspired Street Food, Loco Cantina, Pronto Craft Pizza & Artful Salads, Ithaca Ghost Kitchen and Jack’s Grill.
After 23 years as Purity’s owners, Bruce and Heather Lane put the business up for sale in June 2021 as they planned to retire and spend more time with their family. Purity manager Sam Newlin said that the shop is going through an adjustment period, but the switch is going well.
“We are actually operating at the highest we’ve been in awhile,” Newlin said, “We just got food in the back, and we’re doing more online orders and setting up kiosks and a lot of new employees.”
The shop continues to provide its regular frozen treats, including the traditional banana split to more unique creations like the Mad Mint Sundae — a brownie with scoop of mint ice cream, crushed oreos, hot fudge — and Expedition Sundae — two brownies and a cookie topped with 8 scoops of ice cream and three sundae sauces. In addition, it has added food items to the menu for lunch and dinner. Purity serves diner favorites, including burgers, fries and chicken tenders.
“Not much has changed,” Newlin said. “I think that’s what’s great about Purity – it’s all still the same. It would be kind of foolish to really mess with it because we have something great going on already.”
This sense of familiarity and nostalgia remains a draw for many patrons.
Tom Hill, an Ithacan native who currently resides in Westchester, New York, makes sure to head to Purity every time he visits the city. Hill was in Ithaca for Cornell’s family weekend to spend time with his daughter, who is a first year. Hill visited with his wife and three other children, who were all excited to return to Purity for some fun bonding time.
“It’s been a tradition to come back and hit Purity at least once while we’re back in town,” Hill said. “When I come back, I think, ‘Is it just nostalgia?’ But no, the ice cream is really good.”
Jorge Inamagua ’22 said they enjoyed the shop’s nostalgic and familial atmosphere on their first visit. With their friend visiting Ithaca for the weekend, Inamagua thought Purity would be the perfect spot to try out a locally renowned business while grabbing some food and catching up.
“There are a lot of cool things here,” Inamagua said. “I really like the atmosphere a lot. It’s definitely a family place.”
Some visit not only for the food, but for the welcoming environment. Purity features a large dining area with plentiful tables, where customers can spend time with family and friends as they enjoy their treats.
“Whenever I post a picture with Purity Ice Cream,” local patron Michelle Piccolo-Hill said. “Everyone –– whether they grew up here or went to school here –– inevitably comments, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Purity!’ It really is an Ithaca staple.”