Food of the Seventies, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlours

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This was a nationwide chain in the 70's. We never got to go to a party to try the "zoo" but we always watched others enjoy it as we were having ice cream there. When I think of my childhood it includes memories of Farrell's
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The following are comments left about Farrell's Ice Cream Parlours from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

Reagan - August 15, 2007 - Report this comment
These places were amazing and magical to a kid. I loved when our Dad took us there. It was almost a Willy Wonka type experience for us! The big huge lollipops and candy they had by the registers on the way out. I sure they still had them. My sons would have loved them!
Melissa - May 10, 2008 - Report this comment
I never got to go to the parties either, I remember sitting at my table wishing I knew who ever's party it you remember they would come out with the sparklers and banjo to sing to the luckiest birthday person in the world. This world was a better place with Farrel's in it!!
Bets - May 12, 2008 - Report this comment
I loved these places! I always got a sasparilla to drink and a patty melt. Then I watched wistfully as all the "Zoos" went by on their personal litters accompanies by the giant Farrell's drum (nope, never got that party either. Who got these?). Then, at checkout, a GIANT jawbreaker that I would lick and gnaw on for weeks and leave sitting around the house in a wad of paper towels, waiting for my next gnaw. Ahhhhh, the 70's.
ME1970 - August 19, 2008 - Report this comment
I use to want my birthday there every year. i use to hate when they would sing and run around hitting a drum and carrying that huge bowl of ice cream on a stretcher type thing..does anyone remember the ribbons they would give out that said "i made a pig of myself at Farrell's"'t go home without the huge jawbreaker and the candy buttons..
mimi - August 19, 2008 - Report this comment
I had the joy of going here when I was young-In Georgia. The Giant Jawbreakers!!! That was a great memory. Huge smiles
Michele - October 02, 2008 - Report this comment
What an awesome place. And I DID have a birthday party there - which was unheard of, since we live a very small town just north of Tampa FL. It was my 11th birthday. And that huge ice cream platter was great - it was full of every different kind of ice cream. YUMMY!
Paul M - February 13, 2009 - Report this comment
I used to remember staring out the car window as we drove by this place on Telegraph rd in Michigan. It was an old fashioned kind of place, red and white. I think I was jipped, I remember my brother having this huge jawbreaker and he would never tell me where he got it from. That means my parents took him there and never took me! He also got all the inheritance when my parents died. They hated me! lol
MARGIE - February 17, 2009 - Report this comment
Andria - February 22, 2009 - Report this comment
Although I personally never set foot inside a Farrell's once in my life, I remember seeing the one in Eugene, Oregon with regularity and was constantly regaled with stories about the drums, banjo, sparklers, gurneys with ice cream on them, the Zoo and the Pig Trouph. It looked just as Paul M. described it, and it closed sometime in 2007, only to be replaced with an upscale pizzeria. And about those jawbreakers, I have found them in such places as the Sweet Factory candy stores in malls, vending machines, Baskin-Robbins, and occasionally in convenience stores.
jhjhjhjhjj - May 26, 2009 - Report this comment
lol lol
Terry A. Nicklas - June 21, 2009 - Report this comment
As a kid, I remember having and attending several birthday parties at the Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Detroit, MI on Telegraph Rd. and I-96. I really enjoyed the big drum and banjo when the employees would come out and sing, the huge dish of several ice cream flavors and the huge candy baskets. Detroit kids today have no idea what a birthday celebration was really like. Detroit misses The Farrell Family.
eugol dlareg - August 23, 2009 - Report this comment
I used to go there for my birthday when I was a kid. . . remember getting the whole works. Sparklers, big bass drum, siren, everything.
Lori Keating - August 27, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember going there for birthday parties..always got the same thing..THE GIBSON GIRL! (which would probably explain the diabetes now! LOL)
Cherie - September 25, 2009 - Report this comment
Of course I loved watching the 'Zoo" Birthday Parties, but the 'clown sundaes' with a grilled cheese (complete with a toothpick American Flag) and fries, topped off with a small lollypop with printed flower on it (at the register on the way out) was good enough for me! Wow! I can still taste that grilled cheese and clown sundae -- the best!!!! Why do these novel, magical places go out of business...?? it's a shame. I'm glad to have the memories, anyway.. and don't forget those stirofoam Farrells hats!
Toby - October 13, 2009 - Report this comment
YES, YES, YES!!! One of the great 70's dining experiences! One of the highlights of my education was a kindergarten field trip to the Farrell's in Oxmoor Center. We got some free ice cream, but I really wanted one of those skimmer hats. They are still around, in SoCal and in Hawaii. There seems to be a effort underway to revitalize this concept, as there are some websites devoted to all things Farrell's. Bob Farrell, the restaurant's namesake, now does customer service training videos for companis such as Kroger.If you live in SoCal, drop in and tell us if its still as great as I remember.
Tracy - November 08, 2009 - Report this comment
All of these comments bring back fond memories. I was lucky and did have a "Zoo" birthday and it was the BEST THING EVER! I mean who wouldn't love a big platter FILLED with ice cream and toppings! It was a very magical experience and one that I still remember some 38 years later.
footballmom104 - December 23, 2009 - Report this comment
I went to one of these in Calfornia when we went there to visit my aunt and uncle in 1978. There were enough of us between the two families to get a Zoo, with all the fanfare. It was great!
janielovesicecream - January 21, 2010 - Report this comment
As I ate my portion of the zoo I used to stare at my little plastic animals and think, wow, somebodies gonna choke on this. HAD A BLAST ANYWAY. FARRELLS ROCKS. The most exciting place for a kid!!! Mounds of ICECREEEEEAM.
lesah5 - January 31, 2010 - Report this comment
Wonderful memories! I a was in Jobs(masonic)and my brother was in Demolay, it was big event for us to go Farrells! Except one time one boys that was with us ate to much and had to be rushed to the hospital. They thought he was having a heart attack!lol I loved the gift shop.Columbus Ohio had the coolest places to go!
Chris Szabo - March 06, 2010 - Report this comment
Another Detroit fan! Telegraph north of I-96. Was lucky enough to have one birthday there, and attend a couple more. Remember the days when the parents all dropped the kids off and skipped town for a couple of hours while the party took place (probably making baby brothers and sisters)? Now a days the parents feel the urge to hang out for the parties which just adds expense to the parents of the birthday kid! Plus, they don't help clean up and bring all their other rugrats even if they aren't the same age group as the birthday kid! ARRRGGHH! For a simpler time when Farrell's was the destination...
RandyC - June 16, 2010 - Report this comment
I worked at the Detroit Farrell's on Telegraph just north of Schoolcraft (which was in the process of becoming I-96 at that point). In fact, I helped open the place in the summer of 1970. I worked behind the fountain both summers and made I-don't-know-how-many zoos. (Who knows--I might have been working there when Terry and Chris were eating there!) I hope it doesn't upset anyone that at least one zoo every evening was a "mistake bowl' from the day shift--all ice cream orders made by mistake went into the zoos. I remember sounding the siren and ringing the bell when the busboys were running around like maniacs carrying the zoos.
13crow - June 30, 2010 - Report this comment
FARRELL'S IS BACK! They have been revived, and one is open in MISSION VIEJO, CA. Also Santa Clarita, CA and the rest are in HAWAII. Look it up online at WWW.FARRELSUSA.COM I am going there this weekend to eat me a PIG'S TROUGH! YUMMMMM
KC - July 08, 2010 - Report this comment
Randy C that is so funny. I went to quite a few Farrell's parties at the Farrells on Telegraph(and my sister was lucky enough to have her party there one year) and I remember those sirens going off when they'd bring the Zoo out. My best friend's boyfriend worked there when we were in high school in the early 80's and he said that they did away with the sirens because it scared the kids. I don't ever remember being scared of the sirens myself. The best thing about Farrells was the noise, the obscene amount of ice cream and all that candy in the cash register area. Doubt any of that would fly well with most parents today.
Brenda - July 31, 2010 - Report this comment
35 years ago today, was one of the most happiest days of my life. I was going to be married the next day and today was full of fun. We had the typical wedding rehearsal, but instead of a dinner afterwards, we all went to Farrell's to celebrate. My mother-in-law hated the idea, but once we got there she started having fun. Everyone in the wedding party thought it was the BEST way to celebrate. I now live in Oklahoma, far away from a Farrell's. But the memory lives on. Thanks for a fun and happy start to my marriage!
jennifer - August 05, 2010 - Report this comment
im here now trying to explain to my younger sister what Farrell's is and to bad for her, she has no idea. sorry that they closed it before her time
Lindy - May 21, 2011 - Report this comment
I remember Farrell's by us was in a mall. I used to get a cheeseburger that was served on a heavy metal plate. I also loved the Tin Roof sundae.
Cathy Lee - May 29, 2011 - Report this comment
It was too much fun watching the Zoo being delivered to people. And watching them leave with thier stomachs so full they couldn't take another bite. Other places that were popular during the 70's was Longellow Elementary, Claira Barton Jr. High School, and Dondero High School in Royal Oak Michigan. Anyone remember Millers Party Store?
Mike P. - September 16, 2011 - Report this comment
Would you believe I worked for Farrell's for 18 years? Actually ended up owning the one on Telegraph in Michigan. What wonderful experiences are remrmbered from all those happy customrs. The best time of my life! I even have one of the Tiffany light from my store. Nice to her frome all these fans.
Debbie - October 24, 2011 - Report this comment
My boyfriend used to take me there on dates in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He would always try to eat the pig trough. I have ribbons in my scrap book for the times that he was able to finish. It was a fun place, hope it comes back all the way!
Lise - May 16, 2012 - Report this comment
Farrells was about a mile away (on Telegraph) from our home. I try to tell my son about the "experience" but how can you describe something that was magical? Closest is Willy favorite was the licorice they sold by the foot...remember? and how all the servers dressed...what great memories
Rob Lambert - May 16, 2012 - Report this comment
My area had a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor at Southridge Mall near Milwaukee, Wis. It opened early in 1971, and was gone by the summer of 1973. It was heavily advertised in newsprint and local TV. Though Farrell's was a quasi-national chain, I don't think it had the loot to advertise, say on prime-time network TV. FRarrell's did rival Baskin-Robbins for variety as well as atmosphere. It was a concept that caught on early (1890s-style shoppe). But interest waned later...when the fast-food places started selling ice cream at lower prices than Farrell's. The Milwaukee Journal ads always showed the man and woman, in 1890s clothing, sharing a sundae. That alone was magical.
Rick - September 14, 2012 - Report this comment
I managed the Farrells on Telegraph road in the early 80's KC, what was your friend's name that worked there. It was a lot of fun. I have gone to the new Farrell's in CA but it is just not the same. Good, but not great like it was in the day.
Shawn - November 19, 2012 - Report this comment
Farrell's was located at NorthLake Mall here in Georgia. A magical place, with yummy food and ice cream. Firmly planted in my memory.
Gary - November 20, 2012 - Report this comment
What year did the Farrell ice cream parlor in Redford, MI close?
Lisa - January 17, 2013 - Report this comment
Open another in Michigan, they will come.
Glenn - February 24, 2013 - Report this comment
Farrell's features fine foods and fantastic fountain fantasies for frolicking, fun-filled, festive families! I can't remember what happened yesterday, but I can remember that from 35 ish years ago?! Grand Rapids and the seventies RULED!
tim - April 20, 2013 - Report this comment
use to plow througn the pig trough as a teen, then wasted the rest of my cash on a jaw breaker the size of a baseball.
robert - April 21, 2013 - Report this comment
I was the first store manager at the Farrells in Ann Arbor (Briarwood Mall) late 1973. Had worked in the one in Grand Rapids and Southfield prior to Ann Arbor. Remember fondly of "Chief" who went on to the Pontchartrain Hotel, "Bubba" Prince, Shafer, Vivian, Witty and Tranchida just to mention a few!
Barkingkitty - May 20, 2013 - Report this comment
We used to hit the Farrell's on 28th St in Grand Rapids when I was a kid. and like most others leaving comments here, it was etched on my mind and brings nothing but wonderful memories. Nothing but fun was had by all. Thanks for the board,this was fun to read!
Donna - October 09, 2013 - Report this comment
Worked as a cook at the Farrell's in Troy Michigan. Age 16, 17 and it was a total blast. Was sitting at a restaurant tonight and the lady in the next booth was telling her date about the Zoo and all the fun that came with it. Turned around and said "I remember that, what a great memory." We couldn't remember the name so I called my brother who still lives in the area and he said "Farrell's.". Found this website. Thanks everyone for a sweet precious memory.
Karen - January 18, 2014 - Report this comment
Farrell's Ice Cream parlor was an integral part of my college career. There was History, Calculus, and my job as waitress at Farrell's. What fun we had... Mr K's, Penny's B, The movies and I met my husband of 27 years there. If anyone else worked at this Briarwood location in the late seventies I would love to hear from you.
DON - April 12, 2014 - Report this comment
Remember going to the one on telegraph oh 35 yrs ago or so was always soooo cool wish it was still around to take my daughter too!! When & why did it close??
Sonja - May 09, 2014 - Report this comment
Does anyone remember how much the Zoo cost in the 70s?
Doug - August 26, 2014 - Report this comment
Yes, I remember the one in Georgia just on the inside edge of the mall on Northeast side! It was so much fun that I still remember it today & would love for my kids to go sometime before they get too old to have the same memories! Taking my wife to Hawaii Farrell's to give her a taste & make our own memories!!
FB - January 16, 2015 - Report this comment
The current menu doesn't include somehthing I remember being called "Pike's Peak." It was bigger than the Pig's Trough and smaller than the Zoo. Does anyone else remember it?
Joel Block - February 11, 2015 - Report this comment
I'm looking for a photo of the button that says "I made a pig out of myself at Farrell's."
John K. - May 10, 2015 - Report this comment
The Redford, MI Farrell's was a fantastic place for a celebration or just for whenever. Our family usually got a Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicureandelight and split it 6 ways!. Delicious! Loved the decor and atmosphere there, and the food was wonderful. Our friend Walt used to work there, and had the fun-loving personality to match. I sure miss Farrell's.
Paula V - August 20, 2015 - Report this comment
Super special place lots fun memories i wish it was still around for our kids!!!!
#1 Farrell's Fan - August 20, 2015 - Report this comment
Any kid growing up in the 70's would remember Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor's! The Original one in Portland, Oregon near Lloyd Center closed in 2001 but there is rumors they may reopen one. Sure hope so! Im needing a Grilled Cheese sandwich, a Green River soda and a Clown sundae♡♡! I know there's some Farrell's left in California and one in Hawaii, but haven't been to any of them.
Rob Lambert - August 23, 2015 - Report this comment
Further perspective on Farrell's. While it has been 42 years since Milwaukee, Wis. had a Farrell's (in Southridge Mall), and I vaguely remember my last visit there, the videos that have been posted on YouTube (mostly out of California) of the new Farrell's make the restaurant chain resemble a sports bar, such as Red Robin. I don't recall the Farrell's of 1971 selling burgers, Philly steaks or chicken wings. The Farrell's of 1971 focused on sweets: Ice cream, soda, candy and cake. At least the staff attire retains some (not all) the 1890's look. I don't suppose the new Farrell's serves alcohol, which would be a travesty. In the early years, Farrell's relied on franchisees to advertise locally, as no TV commercials seemed to make the big networks.
#1 Farrell's Fan - August 23, 2015 - Report this comment
Farrell's in SoCo does sell wine and beer. You can see their menu on their website at Wish they had copy of the old menus..really like to compare prices from the 70's and 80's to today!
Rob Lambert - August 24, 2015 - Report this comment
Thanks for the tip, #1 Farrell's Fan! I found one of the California location menus. WHEW! The menu and prices are typical sports bar...HIGH! $13 for a burger, $10 for a banana split, $4 to $6 for a sundae or shake, $3 for a Coke and $15 for a small birthday cake. Prices in 1971 Milwaukee were much lower, but still high compared to fast food. I only found very little across the net regarding the old Milwaukee Farrell's. No ads or pictures, but a few blogs from ex-employees and customers. I get it: Sports bars are still in. It still bugs me how a good family venue becomes just another sports bar over time. If it were 1971 Milwaukee, and I was only nine years old, I wouldn't have wanted some drunk stumbling in on my ice cream party, yelling obscenities and picking a fight with an adult in my company. That's what sports bars generate.
Rob Lambert - August 28, 2015 - Report this comment
After rediscovering an old store map of Southridge Mall (Greendale, Wis.) from 1971, the space that housed Farrell's for two years had Ruby Tuesday for a tenant in the 1990s, closing in 2003. Vacant for some time, the space more recently housed a children's theatre. In 1971, this was near Gimbels department store. Found one small newspaper ad with a few sale specials. Old fashioned soda for 50 cents (at McDonald's, 20 cents). Banana split for two dollars (most non-chain places, $1.25). Hot fudge sundae, 95 cents (most non-chain places, around 50 cents). Single scoop ice cream cone, 60 cents (most other places, about a quarter). This is why Farrell's didn't survive long in Milwaukee. This is why Farrell's didn't survive long in Milwaukee. Customers, first lured in by the 1890's themed party atmosphere, quickly were turned off by the high prices, preferring a good, lower budget restaurant like the local Dutchland Dairy or one of the fast-fooders.
Homestead 73 - September 02, 2015 - Report this comment
Farrell's, Mary Avenue, Sunnyvale - 1972 and 1973. Such a fun place! Loved the troughs! Actually worked there one week as a dishwasher when I was 14. But here's the confession, stemming from confusion: later in high school, went there weekly, often with dates. Read a sign that said "no tipping of minor employees." Confused, I never tipped the waiter! For a year! They always assigned the same poor guy to me. Eventually I figured out my mistake and made up for it. But I'm embarrassed to this day! Thank you for your graciousness and forgiveness, dark haired guy with five o'clock shadow who always waited on me anyhow, with a smile no less.
Ann - June 04, 2016 - Report this comment
I loved going to Farrell's and had my 9th birthday party there. The drum always scared me, though---too loud. I remember the big silver bowl with all the different colors/flavors of ice cream in it. So beautiful to look at, even though I was very picky about what flavors of ice cream I would eat.
Barbara - June 05, 2016 - Report this comment
I remember going to Farrell's in Portland, Oregon in the 60's. It was always a treat to get invited to a birthday party. Always a Portland Zoo. I think I still have some of those plastic animals around here that I brought home. My other favorite was a Hot Fudge Nutty Nutty. 2 cups of hot fudge!
Helene MacMillan - August 13, 2016 - Report this comment
I am trying to get the name of a different ice cream parlor that was in Atlanta in the seventies. It was a proper surface name followed by the word Emporium. Driving me nuts!
Helene MacMillan - August 13, 2016 - Report this comment
I am trying to remember the name of a different ice cream parlor in the Atlanta area in the early seventies. It was a proper sur name followed by the word Emporium. HELP?
Rick - August 24, 2016 - Report this comment
My family made the ice cream and sold it to Farrell's in Michigan, Toledo, and I believe in Fort Wayne Indiana. I was the first ice cream man to deliver on Telegraph Road followed up by an 18 year old named John. All of your memories are correct and many many more. It was a great place with great ice cream, great food and great people it was an experience. That is hard to replace into days society.

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