Could Classic Vanilla Get Any Better?
According to Ice Cream Maker Bob Lagas, It Could, and He Makes It
Bob Lagas, born in Rochester, N.Y., moved to Warrensburg with his family when he was 13 years old. He graduated from Warrensburg High School and then went on to college. After college he worked at C.R. Bard from 1978 to 1984. “I didn’t know any better, so I decided to go into business for myself,” he said.
In 1985 Bob Lagas became self-employed. “I got into popcorn,” he said. “Caramel corn, regular popcorn, cotton candy and all that sort of stuff. I went to popcorn school to learn how to make the caramel corn,” he said. Lagas ran his business in a kiosk in Aviation Mall for four years. “Business was good in the summertime. January, February and March were like a slug in the sun,” he said with a laugh.
In 1988 Lagas said he thought ice cream and popcorn would be a good fit. “So, I said ‘let’s see how this will go in Lake George (Village).’ I didn’t go to ice cream school, I was self-taught. Norman Dobert helped me a lot … he was a good source of information.” Apparently, it was a good idea. Lagas operated Bob’s Ice Cream at 289 Canada Street for 25 years. “Things became too intense in the village and I was out-bid on my lease at the end of 2013,” he said.
Lagas and his wife Gayle contacted a local real estate agent to help them find a new location for their business. “They found a location in Bolton Landing that was suitable,” he said. “By August 15, 2014 we had all the permits in place and we re-opened our business (across from Tops Market) in Bolton Landing.”
Lagas said last summer he had to purchase ice cream from area distributors. “Now we make our own ice cream on site,” he said. Lagas makes 23 flavors of ice cream. “I make very good vanilla. I worked hard on this recipe and nobody can duplicate the flavor of my vanilla,” he said. “Right now mint-chocolate chip seems to be the most popular flavor.”
Lagas serves soft ice cream as well. “Ours is 90 percent butterfat. People like the high content,” he said. Lagas sells sugar and waffle cones with one, two or three scoops of hard ice cream packed on top. “Our three-scoop cone contains over 12 ounces of ice cream … that’s a lot of ice cream.”
Lagas said he will hand-pack pints of hard ice cream on request. “If there’s a line out the door, don’t ask me to do it,” he said. “It’s really hard to do if you want to do it right … and I want to do it right.” In addition to ice cream and popcorn, Bob’s Ice Cream also offers frozen bananas, pretzels, yogurt, sundaes and soft drinks.
Lagas said if business becomes overwhelming when schools are on summer break he plans on hiring a couple of people to help at the ice cream shop. Lagas says he won’t comment on how business has been so far. “That’s not fair … I don’t have a full year to compare it to,” he said. “I have a three-year lease here and I plan on staying here for the full three years, no matter what.” The shop is open seven days a week from 11 am to 10:30 pm.