Anton Nocito of P&H; Soda Co. tells us that if all goes according to plan, he’ll be among the beach vendors this summer when Rockaway Taco and friends take over Rockaway Beach’s boardwalk concessions. While he also weighs the possibilities of returning to the New Amsterdam Market and the Hester Street Fair, he’s speaking to Workman Cycles about creating a cart that will be equipped with a pony keg and soda tap (the company has been making such carts for over a century). The cart will peddle the usual flavors as well as seasonal varieties like cherry and lemon verbena, and perhaps most exciting of all, there’ll be a new cola flavor, too.
Nocito tells us his current favorite cola is made by Fentimans, so expect something closer to that than to Coke or Pepsi: “I’m going for a spiced, herby flavor — a little lemon, that type of thing.” He’d eventually like to team up with Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina for the occasional soda-fountain pop-up in one of the concession stands, and the guys from Roberta’s have tossed around the idea of a frozen margarita incorporating P&H; soda. Eventually Nocito would like to install taps in all three of the concession stands. “I think everyone is hoping that this will bring that beach back to what it was 50 years ago,” he says. “I think that’s why everyone’s getting really excited about it.”
Who knows whether that’ll be the case (50 years ago there was a roller coaster there, after all), but one thing’s for sure: Rockaway’s beach-grub outlook looks way better than that of Coney Island, where corporate cafeteria behemoth Sodexo is ready to drop its hammer.