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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Nearby Nuggets: The Franklin Fountain

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Michael Fleming
Michael Fleming
Wilmington resident Michael Fleming is a marketing and communications executive.

This past summer (ugh – where did it go?! … and will the rain ever stop?), TSD featured the inimitable Woodside Farms Creamery, just about the best seasonal spot you could find in these here parts.

 

More recently, our Summer 2011 Ice Cream Tour took us to Philadelphia, to explore the Franklin Fountain, an old-old school-style ice cream parlor/soda fountain at the corner of 2nd and Market near Old City.

 

A positive write-up in the New York Times had caught my eye, and, hungry and exhausted from ogling 7,000 year old mummies at the Franklin Institute, our crew of four kids and two adults headed over to see what all the fuss was about.

 

The Franklin Fountain is a fun, clever little spot that appears to be riding its moment of nostalgia quite well, thanks very much.  Really just a sliver of a store front, the Fountain has cheery, efficient counter staff, decked to the nines in vintage Mark Twain-era apothecary gear (which is what the original “elixir” makers were after all) and handlebar mustaches who know how to move people quickly and are happy to answer a child’s fifteenth question about the difference between a “Southern Sympathizer” and “Lightning Rod” sundae.

 

Everything is fresh and homemade and served with style.  The digs themselves are a treat, with vintage cash registers, Victorian knick-knacks and shelves of classic retro brands like Glee gum and Nehi sodas.

 

If you do go to sample ye olde fashioned homemade raspberry soda or their classic root-beer float, be sure to bring ye olde pot of gold.  The Franklin Fountain doesn’t take American Express, and it doesn’t take Master Card, Visa or Discover either.  Just cash.  And lots of it.

 

Their signature “Vesuvius” chocolate sundae (ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, killer brownie – all homemade) was a volcanic twelve bucks.  My rootbeer float, $8.

 

The Franklin Fountain is a charming novelty; they inhabit some pricey Philadelphia real estate and use only the most quality ingredients, so I didn’t mind forking over the small fortune  — on this one occasion.  Where else are you going to enjoy a New York Egg Cream or “Dr. Dovey’s Classic 1904 Banana Split?”

 

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