About Us

Retail Counter at 159 First St

Deemed “The World’s Best Ice Cream” by The New York Times.

We at Toscanini’s are serious about making and serving ice cream. In September, 1981 Toscanini’s was founded by Gus Rancatore, Kurt Jaenicke, Pearl Morrison, Janet Rosenblatt, Rich Johnston, Diane Depczenski, Pat Johnston, Joan Walker, Miriam Stewart, Donna Muffoletto, Cornelia Rancatore, Eleanor Rancatore and Mimi Rancatore, all of whom worked for free and made contributions that enabled the 800 square foot ice cream store at 899 Main Street to survive its first year. The time is clouded in mist -and myth- but Mim Stewart is believed to have made the transition from unpaid friend to first scooper. She was quickly joined by David Shaw, from Fordham Prep and MIT.

After years of hard work Toscanini’s is still serious about making and serving ice cream. All of our ice cream is made here in store. We are always interested in new flavors. Some flavors are from other parts of the U.S. like Black Bottom Pie, and others are from foreign countries like Kulfi, Halva, and Nocciola. We try to recognize the fortuitous mistake like Burnt Caramel or Bourbon Vienna Finger Cookie.


Gus Rancatore


Gus Rancatore came to Boston to finish his undergraduate degree at Boston University but things went awry. He still remembers bits of Spanish and the fact that there are three Harrison Grey Otis Houses, all designed by Charles Bullfinch. He and Mimi both worked at the original Steve’s Ice Cream in Davis Square. The opening of Steve’s is noted in a timeline that can be found at the lowest level of the Davis Square Red Line station, although there is no mention of Mimi or Gus.

Gus and Kurt Jaenicke started Toscanini’s in 1981, with the help of many friends who worried about Gus’ future. There were fewer worries about Kurt, who became a doctor. Gus spends time making ice cream, picking up napkins, training people and picking up more napkins. He reads more than he should and enjoys nighttime ice climbing in New Hampshire.

Mimi Rancatore


Mimi is the youngest sister of Gus Rancatore and Joe Rancatore, owner of Rancatore’s Ice Cream in Lexington and Belmont.   After working with Gus at the original Steve’s Ice Cream in Somerville she graduated to white tablecloth fine dining, which is as nice as it sounds.

Her fine dining adventures include working at the original Michela’s with Michela Larson, Todd English, Barbara Lynch, Chris Myers and Steve Solomon. She has also worked at Clio with Ken Oringer and the young Tony Maws; at Pignoli with Daniele Balliani and Dante de Magistris, and at Rialto with Michela Larson, Joanne Chang and Jody Adams and again with Steve Solomon. She can work her way around a menu and a kitchen.

Now, most of Mimi’s time is taken up with back of the house functions, but she is also capable of making superb ice cream. Mimi lives high above the Chelsea waterfront, summers in Block Island, enjoys movies and hang-gliding.

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