Home Essex CountyBloomfield A Visit to Holsten’s: The Bloomfield Ice Cream Shop from The Sopranos

A Visit to Holsten’s: The Bloomfield Ice Cream Shop from The Sopranos

by Lisa Batitto
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It’s definitely no secret that The Sopranos and New Jersey share some deep roots — and perhaps one of the most well-known North Jersey Sopranos spots is this local old-school ice cream shop in Bloomfield, NJ. From the vintage appearance of the shop to the casual and extensive menu, it feels like you are traveling back in time when visiting Holsten’s Ice Cream, Chocolate & Restaurant, located at 1063 Broad Street in Bloomfield. This family-favorite spot, which has been open for 83 years, is famous for its delicious desserts (including homemade ice cream and chocolates) — and, of course, its notable appearance in the final season of The Sopranos. We took a visit to this local favorite and covered what you need to know — and before you ask, yes, you can sit at the famous Sopranos booth. Read on to learn more about Holsten’s Ice Cream, Chocolate + Restaurant. 

All About Holsten’s Ice Cream, Chocolate + Restaurant

Holsten’s has been in business since 1939, which means it is 83 years old, and it is so much more than ice cream, milkshakes, egg creams, and sundaes. It also serves up burgers, sandwiches, and omelets — and patrons can even bring home a box of homemade chocolate such as orange cream and hazelnut truffle. All of the chocolates and candies are also homemade — and the team sells gift boxes of these goodies, which make for a thoughtful + delicious present for the upcoming holidays.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the booths were filled with families and groups of teenagers feasting on hot dogs and crinkle fries smothered in Ketchup. The young and friendly wait staff worked behind a counter, scooping dishes of ice cream into metal ice cream bowls in flavors such as coconut chip, black raspberry, and s’moress. Served with a cherry and whipped cream on top, of course.

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The shop opened as Strubbe’s Ice Cream Parlor and became Martin & Holsten’s before officially becoming established as Holsten’s. Ronald Stark and Christopher Carley have owned and operated the restaurant since 1999, but they have been part of it since they were teenagers — working at the restaurant and waiting on customers. Though so much has changed in the world since Holsten’s first opened, the owners are dedicated to maintaining Holsten’s culture and have worked hard to ensure it keeps its old-fashioned look and traditions. In our age of technology and constant connection, there’s something really special about dining somewhere that is so steeped in nostalgia. 

“That why it hasn’t changed much over the years,” Ronald said. “It’s like taking a step back in time.”

Holsten’s Link to The Sopranos

The famous Sopranos table has a “Reserved” sign, a tribute to the late actor James Gandolfini who shot the final scene of the series in that booth. The Sopranos episode made Holsten’s a destination for fans of the series, who also regularly order onion rings to recreate Tony’s last meal. Though some restaurants might not love the tv-enthusiasts who frequently visit, Holsten’s welcomes the fans. The wait staff cheerfully points out the table for anyone wanting to get a look. Pro tip: it’s the middle row, third booth — and yes, it’s available for diners to eat there. 

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Holsten’s is also a stop on a Sopranos Site Tour — which also includes visits to St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church and Skyway Diner, both in Kearny. Holsten’s also appeared in the prequel, The Many Saints of Newark with Michael Gandolfini, who shot scenes outside and at the counter.

Holston’s is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11AM to 10PM and Sundays from 12PM to 10PM. Just so you know, if you’re wanting to sit at The Sopranos booth, definitely come prepared to wait — but we personally think it’s well worth the wait. To learn more, be sure to check out the website

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