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nelumbo

ISO an Old-Time Ice Cream Parlor, Like Farrell's in Wheaton Plaza

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I'm looking for an ice cream parlor, similar to Farrell's  (I'm thinking of the one in Wheaton Plaza 30+ years ago), or maybe the old Giffords. The key here would be a selection of ice cream products, including sundaes, with a substantial amount of indoor seating. A Friendly's would be an acceptable distant second - ie a restaurant type establishment that has regular food but also serves a variety of ice creams. IHOP would not make the cut because the quality of the ice cream is too low and it is more of an afterthought to the main menu.

I was surprised to find that all the Friendly's around DC are gone, although there are still some up by Baltimore.  Friendly's isn't close enough to what I am looking for to make it worth driving to Baltimore.

The main issue with most of the ice cream/gelato/whatnot stores in the area is the lack of seating - if they have any seating at all, it is one or two tables in more of a "cafe" setting, and not what I think of as "ice cream parlor".  I had hopes for the new Retro Creamery at Tysons, but it sounds like 1) there is no seating and 2) they don't have their act together yet in terms of service/having ingredients on hand/etc.

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On 1/5/2018 at 7:36 PM, nelumbo said:

I'm looking for an ice cream parlor, similar to Farrell's  (I'm thinking of the one in Wheaton Plaza 30+ years ago), or maybe the old Giffords. The key here would be a selection of ice cream products, including sundaes, with a substantial amount of indoor seating. A Friendly's would be an acceptable distant second - ie a restaurant type establishment that has regular food but also serves a variety of ice creams. IHOP would not make the cut because the quality of the ice cream is too low and it is more of an afterthought to the main menu.

I was surprised to find that all the Friendly's around DC are gone, although there are still some up by Baltimore.  Friendly's isn't close enough to what I am looking for to make it worth driving to Baltimore.

The main issue with most of the ice cream/gelato/whatnot stores in the area is the lack of seating - if they have any seating at all, it is one or two tables in more of a "cafe" setting, and not what I think of as "ice cream parlor".  I had hopes for the new Retro Creamery at Tysons, but it sounds like 1) there is no seating and 2) they don't have their act together yet in terms of service/having ingredients on hand/etc.

I highly recommend Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream on 14th st in the District. They quality of the ingredients they use is of the highest quality, and they permit you to try just about any flavor you like. I recall visiting the shop a few months ago, and the seats were few on the first level, but there is an upstairs. I didn't venture to the second floor, but will ask around if there is  parlor seating. But if there is not, The scoop shop  is certainly worth the trip even though it may not fit what you are looking for in terms of seating. 

kat

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On 1/12/2018 at 7:35 AM, kitkatpaddywak said:

I highly recommend Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream on 14th st in the District. They quality of the ingredients they use is of the highest quality, and they permit you to try just about any flavor you like. I recall visiting the shop a few months ago, and the seats were few on the first level, but there is an upstairs. I didn't venture to the second floor, but will ask around if there is  parlor seating. But if there is not, The scoop shop  is certainly worth the trip even though it may not fit what you are looking for in terms of seating. 

kat

Kat, I ventured upstairs when my kids were visiting me last month, and there is ample parlor seating up there. The upper level is spacious, nicely decorated and has a giant chalkboard for those who feel like expressing themselves. The first time I visited, I didn't even notice the stairway!

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5 hours ago, DIShGo said:

Kat, I ventured upstairs when my kids were visiting me last month, and there is ample parlor seating up there. The upper level is spacious, nicely decorated and has a giant chalkboard for those who feel like expressing themselves. The first time I visited, I didn't even notice the stairway!

Thank you! I knew by posting someone would know the answer! 

Ice cream enthusiast,

kat

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In South Florida there is Jacksons Ice Cream Parlor and in San Francisco Ghirardelli has an ice cream shop with seating.

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This probably doesn't fit the question asked but makes me wonder how Thomas Sweet in Georgetown is these days.  It's not terribly big but I think of it as an ice cream parlor.  Does anyone go there anymore?  I recall President Obama getting ice cream there at some point with one or both of his daughters, but that's the most current reference to it I've seen.

Feeling nostalgic, I guess.

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Understand, however, that the Wheaton Plaza Farrell's was a sit-down place, with a fun, sometimes theatrical atmosphere - whenever there was a birthday, the entire crew would come out, in their red-and-white striped uniforms and old-timey hats, with sparklers, and a birthday cake: It really was a fun place for a kid to go, and completely unlike places such as Jeni's and Thomas Sweet.

And I *know* you remember the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria that was there, too.

Places I remember being similar (albeit less raucous) are Wiley's in Langley Park, and the original Gifford's in Silver Spring - true ice-cream parlors, rather than a Starbucks-like atmosphere (that's not a criticism; just a descriptor).

I don't know of anywhere in the DC area like Farrell's used to be - real estate has just become too damned expensive around here. The ice cream wasn't even that good, if I recall, but nobody cared - sort of like Chuck E. Cheese, except without the grisly pizza and video games.

There's also Ultrazone Laser Tag, where every Northern Virginia parent has been multiple times - you can go up the street to Rita's when you're finished playing.

My guess is that you're more likely to find places like the old Farrell's in smaller towns - what a wonderful experience that would be, just one more time.

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On 1/14/2018 at 12:50 PM, Pat said:

This probably doesn't fit the question asked but makes me wonder how Thomas Sweet in Georgetown is these days.  It's not terribly big but I think of it as an ice cream parlor.  Does anyone go there anymore?  I recall President Obama getting ice cream there at some point with one or both of his daughters, but that's the most current reference to it I've seen.

Feeling nostalgic, I guess.

Thomas Sweet was a treat, but last two times we ventured there the atmosphere was different.  It appears the location (speculation) may have been sold or changed management - the service and selection altered.  The product was fine, but portions seemed smaller.  Not sure if anyone else has been recently or has any input.

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On 1/15/2018 at 7:36 AM, DonRocks said:

Places I remember being similar (albeit less raucous) are Wiley's in Langley Park, and the original Gifford's in Silver Spring - true ice-cream parlors, rather than a Starbucks-like atmosphere (that's not a criticism; just a descriptor).

There also used to be that (much more posh) ice cream parlor in the lowest level of the National Gallery of Art. Proof: https://www.si.edu/exhibitions/ice-cream-parlor-3299

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1 hour ago, nelumbo said:

There also used to be that (much more posh) ice cream parlor in the lowest level of the National Gallery of Art. Proof: https://www.si.edu/exhibitions/ice-cream-parlor-3299

American History rather than NGA I think. I loved that place.

My childhood favorite ice cream parlors were Lovell's, in Elmira NY, and Buckman's, in Rochester NY. (both now long gone.) Farrel's was OK, but I only experienced it a few times during the 3 years we lived in Los Angeles. There used to be Swensen's here... I went to the one by GW on an early date with the now-husband.

(I also miss Abbott's, but that's a custard stand, not an ice cream parlor. And I can go there when I visit the parents. But the only one I like is the one at Charlotte, on Lake Avenue.)

If you find an ice cream parlor around here, I will be very happy and will go there.

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More Ice Cream reminded me of Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe in Bowie, in case that's easier for you to get to. Also not quite what you're looking for, I think, but something. I went once when I lived in Anne Arundel County and enjoyed my ice cream, but it's been too long now to remember details.

If you're ever in Ocean City I think Dumser's Dairyland is exactly what you're looking for.

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On 1/16/2018 at 7:39 AM, Ferris Bueller said:

Thomas Sweet was a treat, but last two times we ventured there the atmosphere was different.  It appears the location (speculation) may have been sold or changed management - the service and selection altered.  The product was fine, but portions seemed smaller.  Not sure if anyone else has been recently or has any input.

I walked up there with some colleagues and our interns 2-3 years ago (summer 2015, I think). We thought the ice cream was delicious -- my coffee Oreo was so good I want to go back now that I'm thinking about it -- and our servings were plenty large.

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