Italian Ice is New York's version of Hawaiian Shave Ice and Benfaremo - The Lemon Ice King of Corona - is unapologetically the Matsumoto's or Aoki's of the pack. They'd (LIKC) probably tell you it's the other way around and who are we to argue with them? Benferamo's has been in the neighborhood for 6 decades and has been serving up the goods to satisfy the sweet teeth of everyone in Queens including a heavy slew of locals and tourists wandering in from famed Flushing Meadows in Corona Park where they may have been taking in the Queen's Zoo or enjoying the week long affair at the summer ending US Open of Tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium. There's a lot to see surrounding Corona Park and The Lemon Ice King is one of them.
Instantly recognizable by its Airstream chrome toned aluminum siding wrapping the corner of a brick and mortar building on 108th street and a line-up out front on any given sunny day, Benferamo's is NOT unassuming. The sign inside reading WE DON'T MIX refers of course to the Italian ice, but you can't help feel that this is either an intentional or unintentional parody on a sign that could be found in many diners here in Queens in the 40's or 50's. It's worth a snicker nonetheless because it also heralds Benfaremo's proud assertion that they will NOT mix your lemon ice order with multiple flavors - whaddya' think this is, Matsumoto's? In fact, many have compared Benfaremo's to the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld fame and it suits comparison - you come here for the Best Italian Ice in the City so don't waste their time and the precious minutes of those in line behind you humming and hawing over flavor combinations - order quick, be on your way, and enjoy.
The colorful rainbow of flavor menu board leaning on the wall may at first make you shake a fist at the aforementioned "rule" but trust us when we say that the best lemon ice concoctions are best served by the pros. The Lemon Ice King of Corona has spent generations perfecting each flavor so mixing "outside of the box" would dilute the tastebud experience. Don't mess with perfection. Benfaremo's Italian Ice is thick, creamy, and full of flavor. We suggest starting the day with the Coffee Italian Ice which puts your foofy Starbuck's Iced Latte to embarrassment. Our midday suggestion is either for the hefty Peanut Butter Italian Ice (if PB is your thing) or the Orange Vanilla Swirl. Come late afternoon the Mint Chocolate Chip hits the spot as does the Cherry Vanilla and be sure to return for a nightcap worthy Piña Colada or Rum Raisin. Kids coming along for the ride order the Cotton Candy or Bubble Gum every time, and they're not disappointed.
Aside from the masterful Italian Ices, Benfaremo - The Lemon Ice King of Corona - also makes a mean Candy Apple. It doesn't have to be Halloween to chomp down on this candy coated delight as Benfaremo's transports your taste bud senses with their renowned Coconut Candy Apples. Where do these guys think they are, Hawaii? We wish.
So much to choose from...
If you don't like the rules, you can leave...
We'll take our coffee on ICE when in Queens NY
Mint Chip baby!
Extra special serving of blueberry