The Franklin Fountain: We All Scream For Antiques (and Ice Cream)
If there’s one thing being married to my wife has taught me, it’s that some people are really passionate about their ice cream. I am admittedly a bit of a philistine when it comes to the subject, but true ice cream aficionados can tell you the best places to get frozen treats within a 50-mile radius and will intensely debate the merits of one shop over another. This is still my wife we’re talking about, by the way, but a quick look at online reviews of ice cream parlors reveals that there are many others like her.
This is why a long line stretching outside an ice cream parlor on a hot summer day is a good sign that you are in for something special, and the Franklin Fountain in the Old City section of Philadelphia always requires a wait in peak ice cream season. They offer a wide range of ice cream sodas, sundaes, milkshakes, and of course, dozens of flavors (including vegan and seasonal offerings) that are made and sold at the store. The prices are higher than you’d expect to pay somewhere like Rita’s Italian Ice, but the quality is higher and in keeping with the owners’ commitment to the freshest local ingredients. In an age where cost-cutting has legally required many manufacturers to label their products as “frozen dairy desserts” instead of “ice cream,” that really does make a difference.
The Franklin Fountain was founded by Eric and Ryan Berley, two brothers who also bought Shane’s Confectionery two doors down (tip: if you buy something there, you get 10% off your purchase at the fountain). The Berley’s mother, Carole, ran an antique shop in Media out of her home and, according to the Franklin Fountain’s website, decorated their dining room with an ice cream parlor motif. Ryan worked as an antiques trader, and Eric went to study ice cream making (ice creamology?) under a chef in New York. The pair combined their interests to open the Franklin Fountain in a beautiful historic building decorated like an old soda fountain.
The result is a store that is a stunning sight, even for an ice cream heathen like myself. The ceilings are pressed tin, cabinets display antiques and curios, and an impressive bust of the eponymous Benjamin Franklin gazes down on you from the top of the bar. The marble counters and tiled floors are gorgeous, and even if you are only in it for the sweets, it is worth taking a walk around the interior to soak in all the details – for example, I was amazed to see that the fans on the ceiling are belt driven. The fact that you can enjoy all the efforts that went into the building while enjoying a massive ice cream sandwich just makes the experience that much sweeter.
Matthew Christopher PA Philadelphia Jan 06, 2024 Food Nostalgia Places to Visit
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Matthew Christopher Jan 06, 2024
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