Thursday, August 03, 2006

The scoop on the Chocolate Shoppe's "Central connection"

Armed with a notebook or camera, I'm pretty fearless. That's why earlier today, when I noticed a Chocolate Shoppe outpost being set up on the square in front of Cafe Soleil, I stopped to check out reports of a "Central connection" suggested in a comment Doug Strand left on a previous post.

There were lots of folks at work setting up equipment so they'd be ready to sell ice cream cones to people attending the final event of the 2006 Concerts on the Square, but Chuck Deadman, who founded the Chocolate Shoppe in 1962, was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to set the record straight on the "Central connection"

Chuck is an alumnus of Madison Central High School, but he's not a graduate. Blame (or credit) belongs to a girl. Here's the scoop.

Chuck grew up on Helena Street and attended Marquette Elementary School (my alma mater). His family moved to Green Bay for two years and then returned to Madison, where they lived on Baldwin Street, which meant he was in "the neutral zone" (he could choose to attend either Central or East). He chose to attend Central for two years from 1948-1950 (8th and 9th grade). Then he chose to transfer to East, where he graduated with the Madison East High School Class of 1953.

Here's a photo of Chuck Deadman and his wife, Nancy (the reason he chose to transfer to East)

Chuck told me his brother, Mike Deadman, did graduate from Central in 1963. Chuck also had fond memories of some of his former Central classmates who graduated in 1953, including Joe "Buffo" Cerniglia. I told him I'd email him some URLs from the Central History blog, so he could see some recent photos from the All-Central Reunion and Festa Italia.

I asked Chuck about the connection between the Chocolate Shoppe and the Ice Cream Shop that used to be located at the corner of Fourth Street and East Washington Avenue (across from East High School) and he said that there wasn't one. However, he told me that members of the Cnare family (owners of the Ice Cream Shop and among the founders of Badger Cab Company), the Thomsen family (which has owned Schoep's Ice Cream since 1937), and the Deadman family have been friends for decades.

While I can't remember ever buying an ice cream cone from Doug when he worked at the Chocolate Shoppe (but I do remember a really cute guy from La Follette who worked at the Chocolate Shoppe near C&P on Cottage Grove Road), I do know that when it comes to the best ice cream cones, sundaes, and malts in Madison, I don't even think about those guys from Vermont: I head right to the closest Chocolate Shoppe location.

1 comment:

D Strand said...

I worked mainly at The Chocolate House on State Street during the summers of 65-67, but I did work occasionally at the one on Monroe Street about two blocks from the field house.
I had a sundae called the Strand Special which was made of butter pecan ice cream, butterscotch topping, marshmallow topping, whipped cream, and a cherry. The Chocolate House's butter pecan was the best I ever tasted anywhere. I still get it when I'm on State Street!
If I saw Chuck Deadman, I would ask him if he ever thinks of his old partner Larry LaDuke, the man who surprisingly hired me and whom I remember very fondly. He teamed me up with Joanne Herfel on our first day, me to do the heavy work and Joanne to flirt with the customers! In those days we had the utmost respect of our boss and Larry was worthy of it!