top of page
  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

What's New, Saratoga? An Ice Cream Shop With A Unique Twist!

Updated: May 6

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
The New Ugly Ice Cream Shop on Brown's Beach!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! There is nothing better on a warm day than a cold, delicious ice cream. And Saratoga has no shortage of great places to grab a cone. But ice cream fans who find themselves at Brown's Beach on Saratoga Lake this summer are in for a delightful surprise! A new business named Ugly Ice Cream is opening right next to Brown's Beach and will serve soft serve ice cream along with a a variety of other summertime fun snacks like milkshakes, hotdogs, nachos, tater tots, get the idea. I happen to have an inside connection to the owners of this new business, so I have the inside scoop (pun definitely intended) on the Grand Opening (on May 3rd), the menu, the extra special touches and all the fun that Ugly Ice Cream will bring to Saratoga Lake. Read on...

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
They are "Ice Cream Ready" for the Grand Opening on May 3, 2024

The Ugly Ice Cream Story:

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
The Owners of Ugly Ice Cream-Joe, Ariel and John

Ugly Ice Cream is owned by three local business men, Ariel Pagan, Joe Starr and John Starr. Joe and John are local brothers who grew up spending summers on Saratoga Lake and currently have a home building business based in Mechanicville. Ariel Pagan is the mastermind behind the "Ugly" brand as he is the owner of the very popular local breakfast diner, The Ugly Rooster Cafe, with locations in Malta and Mechanicville. Ariel noticed that there wasn't a place to get soft serve ice cream right on Saratoga Lake and started toying with the idea of opening a place to fill that niche. Joe and John thought it was a great idea and jumped on board to become part owners of the new business.

Because of their local roots, the owners are especially committed to making this business a welcome member of the community. They are using local contractors and purveyors where they can, involving the community in the development and promotion of their business and adding jobs for community members.

They also want to make sure they support other local businesses, including other local ice cream shops. There is definitely lots of ice cream love to go around and I, for one, love to spread my ice cream affection to various businesses. My inside connection shared with me that they are thinking of fun, collaborative ways to support and connect all the local ice cream shops. One proposal that is being tossed around is an ice cream punch card. You would get a punch when you visit each of the collaborating ice cream shops and when you get all your punches you get some kind of benefit or prize. That sounds like a "scavenger hunt" I could get behind!

The Ugly Ice Cream Experience:

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Except Ugly Ice Cream Hot Dogs, Of Course!

There is one main word to describe the Ugly Ice Cream experience...FUN! Of course the menu selections will be DELICIOUS, but most importantly you will have FUN ordering, eating and hanging out at Ugly Ice Cream.

The Ugly Food:

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Ice Cream is the Main Attraction!

Ariel has years of restaurant experience owning and operating The Ugly Rooster Cafe so he has the suppliers, the systems and the quality measures down pat. My source shared that Ariel is a very detail oriented person and has high standards to be met with regard to quality of ingredients, taste of food and the customer experience. One of the best things about Ugly Ice Cream is the commitment to using locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. They strive to support small businesses and farmers in the Saratoga area, ensuring the ice cream and the food are not only delicious, but also sustainable and ethically sourced.

As mentioned above, they plan to serve hot dogs, pretzels, pizza, nachos, tater tots, and O'Boys along with the soft serve ice cream and other specialty ice cream treats. One piece of inside information my informant shared with me is they plan to serve a warm cinnamon bun topped with soft serve ice cream. Excuse me....WHAT?!? Sign me up to try that when they open!

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Creamy ice cream cone with yummy toppings.

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Delicious chocolate milk shake.

The Ugly Experience:

The unique twist I started this blog with (and yes, again, soft serve ice cream pun intended) is that when you order your food, you can order it "Ugly". What that means is that instead of it being served to you all pretty and perfect, it will come to you all crazy and messy. For instance, if you order nachos, the preparer will put all the nacho ingredients in a bag, shake it up and dump it in the bowl. A vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles ordered "ugly" will come all smashed up and messy.

If you are lucky, the server may even give it to you with an "ugly" expression to complete the Ugly experience!

Apparently Ariel's high standards for food preparation and presentation are making it hard for him to think about food going out to the customer this way, so we will see if this fun aspect sticks. The food will be DELICIOUS either way!

Once you get your ugly food, there will be a "Feelin' Ugly" mirror set up for that perfect Insta-worthy photo you can share with your friends about your Ugly experience. They will also have an area with games like corn hole so you can relax and have fun with friends while enjoying your Ugly food.

The Ugly Brand:

In keeping with the mission to support the local community, Ugly Ice Cream has utilized small local artists and content creators to curate and craft their FUN and FUNKY brand. There is an "outdoorsy" feel to the decor that fits the Saratoga Lake setting. There is just a happy vibe that permeates the shop from the logo to the fun touches around the space (like the "Feelin' Ugly" mirror mentioned above).

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Fun Camper Order Window!
Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Fun Ugly Ice Cream Signage

Additionally, they are creating Saratoga Lake merchandise such as stickers, hats, t-shirts, etc. so locals can proudly rep their lake. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen a lot of options for Saratoga Lakians to show their support for their hometown lake. Tourists can also buy merch to rep Saratoga Lake and Ugly Ice Cream to remember the amazing time they had at Brown's Beach, Saratoga Lake and Ugly Ice Cream.

The Grand Opening:

So now the nitty gritty details you need to know so you can go have your own Ugly Ice Cream experience.

OPENING DAY: May 3, 2024


OPEN 7 Days a Week (From May-Early October)

HOURS: 11-9 (But they will be open until 10 on Friday and Saturday nights)

LOCATION: 511 NY-9P (Next to Brown's Beach and Doc Brown's Restaurant)

NOTE: Ugly Ice Cream is located at Brown's Beach, but the door to Ugly Ice Cream will not allow direct access to Brown's Beach. Customer's will access Ugly Ice Cream through a door outside of the beach entrance (which allows you to get Ugly Ice Cream even after the beach access is closed!)

I have the Opening Day and the Grand Opening Celebration marked on my calendar. I can't wait to get "Ugly" this summer! See ya there!

Saratoga Lake Ugly Ice Cream
Your ice cream won't end up like this because you will finish it before it has time to melt!


bottom of page