I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! In this Taste and See Southwest Florida, we asked you where you go to get a scoop. Most of you screamed for Love Boat Ice Cream in Fort Myers, so we went to see why.
Love Boat Ice Cream first opened its doors in 1967 on San Carlos Boulevard. When Hurricane Charley hit Southwest Florida in 2004, it wiped out many of the area’s favorite mom and pop shops, including the local favorite ice cream shop.
Store manager Jennifer Borst wasn’t around for the destructive storm, but is familiar with the story of rebuilding. "I believe that they were working out of freezers and a trailer just to be serving customers before they opened the doors back up."
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Love Boat is serving up more than 70 flavors of homemade ice cream from its brand new building about a block away from the original location.
Since March, customers now have more than 30 parking spaces instead of the handful of spaces at the flagship location. However, some regulars say they are already outgrowing the new space.
Even with the season officially over, business is so good, managers decided to open the old location for business from 5 to 10 every night to help with the overflow. "It means a lot when customers say it's not only the ice cream that brings us back, but it's coming in there and always having good service," says Borst. “It's a piece of Fort Myers. It's a destination, not only for our locals but we have people who come on vacation and they know one of their first stops is Love Boat Ice Cream, so it's pretty neat."
The butter pecan is the most popular flavor that brings regulars back for more, followed by the chocolate peanut butter and coconut almond fudge.
Ice cream lovers can indulge in all three scoops for the price of a small, or five dollars. Veterans and first responders get a 50 percent discount off their frozen treats.