Come July, the staple street food is ice cream – the weather just calls for it. People walking the boardwalk while enjoying a waffle cone is a daily site this time of the year. David and I recently reminisced about our childhood ice cream memories. Ice Cream men who drove their spiffy vehicles around the neighborhood, playing a variety of tunes. They knew every kids name in the neighborhood and parents felt safe letting us buy our own treats. David recalls having soft serve cones that were dipped in chocolate made right in front of his eyes. I fondly recall the huge Missiles, which were my favorite, and they cost a whole 10 cents.
Ice cream is deeply ingrained into the American psyche and has been available in America since its founding in 1776. There are records of Thomas Jefferson serving it as an ‘expensive’ treat to guests at his home in Monticello
Mrs Marshall’s Cookery Book, published in 1888, endorsed serving ice cream in cones, but the idea definitely predated that. Reliable evidence proves that ice cream cones were served in the 19th century, and their popularity increased greatly during the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. According to legend, at the World’s Fair an ice cream seller had run out of the cardboard dishes used to put ice cream scoops in, so they could not sell any more. Next door to the ice cream booth was a Syrian waffle booth, unsuccessful due to intense heat; the waffle maker offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles and the new product sold well, and was widely copied by other vendors.
Ice cream became popular throughout the world in the second half of the 20th century after cheap refrigeration became common. Lucky for us, summer’s ultimate treat is still served with old-world panache across the country at these gourmet parlors…
Our first stop down memory lane is Cool Scoops in North Wildwood, New Jersey. “Put on your poodle skirt and saddle shoes, comb your DA and join us for the time of your life! We double dog dare you!” Cool Scoops offers customers a state of the art, 50’s style Ice Cream Parlor where you can relive those “Happy Days and the Doo-Wop Era!” Black and white tiled floors with neon lit dining areas complete the picture – even their website is full of retro tunes and lots of fun!
|Cool Scoops in New Jersey is a Blast from the Past!|
Farrell’s Ice Cream originally opened in Portland, Oregon back in 1963 and had almost 60 establishments in their hey day; however times and management changed so now are only found in Southern California & Hawaii. “Farrell’s is ready to take you back in time to a place where kids, teens, families and young adults will once again be able to rediscover the excitement of food, fun and ice cream. Its decorated just like an old fashion ice cream parlor ”
|Vintage Photo from Farrell’s|
Across the country to Florida we go! South Florida’s favorite old-fashioned ice cream is Jaxon’s Ice Cream Parlour located in Dania Beach. Founder, Monroe Udell, has been serving up the best ice cream for over half a century! “People drive from near and far to visit this South Florida landmark. A magical atmosphere and an amazing selection of freshly made ice-cream and delicious entrees brings crowds back to this old-fashioned ice cream parlour again and again.” Jaxson’s even boasts one of the nation’s largest Collections of rural American memorabilia, including a world class automobile license plate collection.
|Monroe Udell – Jaxson’s Founder|
There is a rumor that the best ice cream parlor in Rhode Island is, hands down, Gray’s Ice Cream. You don’t believe us? Then you’d have to believe its fans which have kept the parlor alive since 1923. “For eighty years, Gray’s Ice Cream, has been putting smiles on the faces of ice cream lovers, young and old alike. As for recommendations, “Frozen pudding, a rum-based ice cream loaded with apricots and raisins, is a Gray’s tradition and not something even die-hard ice cream fanatics encounter every day.” “Whether they’re famous or a farmer, summer beach goer or a local, people have always visited Gray’s for their favorite ice cream treat.”
|Gray’s Ice Cream Parlor circa 1930|
|“A Gray’s cone coming out the order window:
that’s ginger ice cream on top, coffee on the bottom. Mmmmm.”
While there are certainly a lot of couture ice cream places in Chicago, none of them can top, Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream, in Illinois. This parlor is one of the oldest ice cream shops in the area, and it has been raking in customers since 1935. “Restaurant owner, Gus Poulos, created his first batch of homemade ice cream that was far richer and more satisfying than any other in that era, anywhere in Chicago. Word traveled fast about the quality of Homer’s Ice Cream. Its humble beginnings as a two-table ice cream parlor did not last long. Soon people from all around, up and down Chicago’s North Shore came to Homer’s.” Legend has it Al Capone, having a lakefront house in nearby Glencoe, was a frequent visitor and most appreciative customer. Al Capone spent many hours in the Wilmette location and always had an unusual entourage. He was one of Gus’ most pleasant customers.
|Homer’s Handmade Ice Cream|
It’s evident from coast to coast that Ice Cream is still a very large part of the American landscape – and boy am I thankful for that fact! How about you?
All together now, ♫♪ “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”♪♫♪