March 4, 2011

Red's 'back' as promised

The popular soft-serve ice cream stand, destroyed by fire last May, will reopen today.

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND - A South Portland landmark is set to reopen today, nearly 10 months after it was destroyed by fire.

The family that owns Red's Dairy Freeze confirmed late Thursday night that it will begin serving soft-serve ice cream at noon today.

Former employees from as far back as the 1960s have been invited to serve ice cream on opening weekend.

"The cinderblock walls are up, cups and cones are in their places, the jimmies are ready and the giant (original) cone, once again, graces the top of the building," Chris Bolling and his wife, Alison, the shop's owners, said in a press release.

The popular ice cream stand on Cottage Road, near the South Portland Public Library, has been closed since it suffered heavy fire damage on May 16.

On the day after the fire, employees painted a sign on the business saying: "We'll Be Back."

Leonard "Red" Bolling and his wife, Hazel, opened the Tastee Freeze in 1952. Tastee Freeze was renamed Red's Dairy Freeze in 1965.

Since then, Red's has built a loyal following. Many of its customers gathered on Aug. 16 to watch the demolition of the burned building.

Red's Dairy Freeze Facebook page now has more than 2,600 followers.

Laura Bolling, the owners' daughter, said that despite this week's cold, the family expects business to be brisk.

"People have been knocking on our door for weeks now, wanting to know when we will reopen," Bolling said.

If you plan to go today, you may wait a while.

Bolling said Red's plans to give priority to serving the South Portland and Cape Elizabeth firefighters who battled last year's electrical fire.

Red's will be open today and this weekend from noon until 9 p.m.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:


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