I don't think any trip to a new city is complete without seeking out its best ice cream. And, in Philadelphia, all signs pointed to The Franklin Fountain as being the ~iconic~ ice cream shop. So, off we went!
The Franklin Fountain is an old-school, cash-only ice cream parlor and soda fountain. Think tin walls and ceilings, mosaic tile floor and beautiful architectural details. While learning about the history, I found this little nugget as the owners began embarking on the business adventure:
The boys made a number of stops along the way at anything that smelled like an old soda fountain through West Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. Their experience at the
convention was filled with industry wisdom, inspiration and a whole lot of incredibly rich ice cream!
The Franklin Fountain aims to serve an experience steeped in ideals, drizzled with drollery, and sprinkled with the forgotten flavors of the American past.So, there was a bit of a line out the door when we arrived, but that allowed us to look over the menu offerings. They have sundaes, ice cream by the cup or cone, college ices, banana splits, milkshakes, egg creams, phosphates, thirst-ades, ice cream sodas, and hand-drawn sodas. You can check out the full menu for descriptions of each of those.
I wanted to keep it simple, so I got a cone (and a box to put it in because #messy). There are lots of cool throwback flavors:
Vanilla Bean: Philadelphia Style: local Cream, Milk and Sugar with real Vanilla
Chocolate: made with Dutch Cocoas, rich and dark
Whirly Berley: Chocolate with Nougat, Salted Chocolate Caramel, Cocoa Nibs
Rocky Road: Chocolate with Almonds and house-made Marshmallow Weave
Chocolate Chip: classic Vanilla Bean with bittersweet Chocolate Chips
Hydrox Cookie: the original Cookies-and-Cream, invented before the OREO.
Peanut Butter: creamy Vanilla with salty and sweet Peanut Butter swirls
Mint Chocolate Chip: white Peppermint, bittersweet Chocolate, fresh Mint Syrup
Coconut: made with real Fruit Shavings
Caramelized Banana: made in honor of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in 2015
Peach: local Peaches and Cream
Strawberry: mashed and pureed real Fruits
Black Raspberry: sweet, dark and velvety
Teaberry Gum: a central Pennsylvania folk favorite, minty Pink Wintergreen
Green Tea: light and savory, Chinese Matcha
Ginger: whole Roots cooked with Brown Sugar, candied Ginger Bits
Rum Raisin: Jamaican Rum, organic Jumbo Raisins
Coffee: locally roasted Coffee added; designed by black coffee drinkers
Cherry Butter Almond: Philly-roasted and salted Almonds, organic Bordeaux Cherries
Butter Pecan: butterscotched memories of the sweet South, Jumbo Pecans
Pistachio: Philly-roasted and salted California Pistachios, no color added
Maple Walnut: English Walnuts in Pennsylvania Maple Syrup
Cotton Candy: fluffy pink and flavored with blue Marshmallow whirls
One of the seasonal flavors was "Honeycomb," which sounded pretty good, so I went with that. After we got our orders, we sat outside to scarf down the cool ice cream on a pretty warm day. I had to keep swatting bees away (maybe honeycomb wasn't the best choice?), but beyond that, it was tasty. The ice cream isn't a totally smooth texture like I'm used to. Homemade ice cream usually does have a bit of a grittier texture.
There was soft ribbons of honey and some more caramelized pieces throughout (though not enough). Overall, a pretty good bit of ice cream and a cool concept. I'd love to try some more of the other flavors.