This old-fashioned ice cream, sundae, milkshake and soda shop tries to be as authentic as possible. Next to their antique cash register is a sign that reads “please do not ask for credit”; they only accept cash. The servers are called soda jerks, after the people who would operate drugstore soda fountains back in the day (according to Wikipedia). Although jerks reached the pinnacle of their fame in the 1940s, the female “jerk” who served me seemed to be dressed like an Amish person, so I don’t know what time period they were going for… The soda options are endless, as Franklin Fountain has a vast collection of colorful syrup flavors. The ice creams are homemade and sundae descriptions on the menu excerpt vintage recipes (although the Broken Hearts sundae, which once sold for 20 cents, goes for $10 now). Fun fact: their hydrox cookie ice cream is named after the original Oreo cookie!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I ordered the Irish Mashed Potato Shake ($7). The milkshake is basically a classic Irish potato dessert in ice cream form. Their coconut ice cream is spun with plenty of cinnamon and then topped with a generous amount of whipped cream and a puddle of caramel. It was soooo good. I ate mine with a spoon like it was a sundae because it was pretty thick. Halfway through, I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore, but I managed to finish 3/4 of my decadent milkshake.
My friend Heather (shout out!) got a mint chocolate chip college ice with whipped cream ($6). The college ice is basically just a small sundae – a scoop of ice cream and one topping. See below for the menu’s cute explanation of how the dessert got its name.
“Once upon a Simpler time, a young Fraternity gent asked a pretty College girl out for a Row or a round on his Velocipede, later accompanied by some Ice Cream refreshment. College Ladies were known to prefer a small amount of sorbet or ice cream accompanied by a fruit or nut dressing.”
Heather said the treat tasted “the way ice cream should taste” and the whipped cream was “as if you were living on a farm and just milked the cow that morning.” I can attest to the freshness of the whipped cream.
Franklin Fountain is pretty pricey, but you’re paying for the quality. It’s the perfect place to treat yourself or your friends – no excuses needed. The old fashioned charm of the ice cream parlor transports you to a simpler time when drugstores served food and your soda options weren’t limited to Coke and Sprite.
The Bottom Line:
116 Market St. (Old City)
Philadelphia, PA 19106