Frank Nasto Jr. of Nasto's Ice Cream in Newark has died

The beloved owner of Nasto's Ice Cream Co. passed away on Christmas Day. Frank Nasto Jr., 86, had become an icon in the Garden State for his sweet Italian specialties like spumoni, tortoni, and tartufo, a wide variety of ice creams, and fresh fruit sorbets. 

While it's a Newark sweet spot, the frozen confections ship nationally, a success made possible by Frank Jr. and his brother Alphonse. Alphonse passed away in May at 92, making Frank's death seven months later the end of an era in Newark.

"My father was a great man," Frank Nasto III said. "He dedicated his entire life to work and his family."

Frank III now runs the shop with his brother D. They are the third generation to run Nasto's, still in its original location founded in 1939 by Frank Sr. and Angelina, who used recipes from their homeland in Nocera, Italy.

"We always promised ourselves that we would make Mecca to Newark and come to the point of origin, we'd come to Nasto's," a customer said. "And we have the time to do it between Christmas and New Year's."

Nasto's is a landmark in Ironbound, serving the community for 83 years. Frank Jr. retired about 10 years ago but is considered a legend. He had famous visitors like Gov. Chris Christie and a cameo in The Sopranos

"He never really retired because this was his life," Frank III said. "He tried to instill those old-fashioned beliefs into me, and I try to follow in his footsteps, but they're big shoes to fill."

A wake will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 4–8 p.m. at Buyus Funeral Home, 426 Lafayette St., Newark.

A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., followed by a funeral mass at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark.