After 54 years of serving delicious ice cream to the local community, Joe Prestejohn, the owner of Cabot’s Ice Cream in Newton, Massachusetts, is turning over his family’s business to new owners.
Prestejohn’s parents bought Cabot’s Ice Cream in 1969. Before owning Cabot’s, the couple owned a restaurant and bar in Boston that was lost to a fire. They tossed their liquor license and shifted their focus to old-fashioned premium ice cream and comfort food. At the age of 11, Prestejohn and his sister, Susan began working for the family business. By 25, Prestejohn had taken over after his father fell ill and he has been pouring his heart and soul into it ever since.
While Cabot’s is known for its generous portions of old-fashioned ice cream, it’s become a Newton landmark because of its consistency and quality. “We haven’t changed much in the store over the years, and we purposefully did that,” explained Prestejohn. “Everything else in life changes and we wanted to keep things the same.”
For over 50 years the establishment has remained unchanged and its employees continue to serve ice cream in old-fashioned soda glasses. They offer over 40 different flavors and more than 30 toppings. While Prestejohn prefers their coffee-Oreo ice cream, the old-fashioned vanilla, chocolate and Oreo flavors have been fan favorites for years. In late 2022, their 64-ounce milkshake (or “frappe,” as those in New England like to call them) was considered the largest in Massachusetts.
When Prestejohn decided to semi-retire, he was determined to find predecessors committed to maintaining the high level of customer service and quality that Cabot’s is known for. Additionally, he wanted owners who would honor the legacy of Cabot’s and continue to support the local community. He identified Kay and Kevin Masterson, the owners of Johnny’s Luncheonette – another popular Newton-based diner.
“The Mastersons really understand the importance of keeping what we had the same,” said Prestejohn. “Plus they are very active in the community.” During COVID, the duo donated and delivered thousands of quarts of soup from their restaurant to those afraid to leave their homes.
Despite the change in ownership, Prestejohn’s love and dedication to his family’s business is sure to be remembered. “Having been in the business for so long, we’ve seen so many people come and go,” Prestejohn shares. “We’ve helped people celebrate birthdays, school events and sports celebrations. Being involved in so many successes over the years has been an honor.”
Prestejohn will continue to serve as a board member for various non-profit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club and the Carroll School for the Blind. Visitors of Cabot’s may also have the chance to occasionally see him behind the counter making sundaes and frappes on Saturdays.
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