A New Jersey native is bringing the Italian ice he grew up eating on the boardwalk to Roanoke.
Darren Wiggins is the owner of Jersey Water Ice, which started as a mobile business but now has a brick-and-mortar location in northwest Roanoke.
“I initially started Jersey Water Ice because I wanted to bring something different to the area,” Wiggins said. For those unfamiliar with water ice, he described it as a sweet frozen dessert, kind of like sorbet.
The business also offers ice cream, milkshakes, hoagies, salads and soups. While frozen treats will be the focus, Wiggins said he felt adding meals to the menu would help Jersey Water Ice get through the colder months.
Other menu items inspired by Wiggins’ home state include the Italian Jersey hoagie and milkshakes paired with cereal, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Fruity Pebbles shakes.
“When you go into the Olive Garden and they say you get a taste of Italy, I said when you walk into Jersey Water Ice I want to give you a taste of Jersey,” Wiggins said.
When Wiggins was looking for a permanent spot for Jersey Water Ice, he said many people pointed him toward Williamson Road or Grandin Village. Those are nice areas, he said, but he didn’t see the need for such a business there.
“The area that I did it in, northwest, there’s nowhere where you can just grab your kid, go around the corner and grab an ice cream cone,” Wiggins said.
Jersey Water Ice is more of a grab-and-go spot, Wiggins said. It even has a service window, which he said could be particularly useful during the pandemic.
Jersey Water Ice is at 622 11th St. N.W. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Wiggins said hours will be extended during the summer.