Sweetest Way to Travel Back in Time

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2006cIce cream has an uncanny ability to transport one across the dimensions of space and time. A scoop of fresh gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato might whisk you away to Florence, while a taste of frozen custard at the Shake Shack may, ever so briefly, have you thinking you’ve landed in St. Louis. And then there are those places that work like time machines, taking you back instantly to a lost era. Jahn’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant in Richmond Hill, Queens, is one of those places. (Another, for the record, is Eddie’s Sweet Shop in nearby Forest Hills).

Jahn's Hillside Avenue location, which opened in 1923, is the last remaining branch of a small chain of ice cream parlors founded in the Bronx, at 138th Street and Alexander Avenue, by "Papa Jahn" in 1897. Step inside Jahn’s today and, save for some wear around the edges, the place looks nearly as it must have more than 80 years ago. Red booths and carved wood inhabit the darkened space, which feels more like a bar than any modern ice cream operation (or faux retro ice creamery for that matter). The room is illuminated only by amber sconces and stained glass fixtures advertising old-school soda brands like Moxie.

The menu is filled with original artwork and ephemera, including an egg cream how-to and this loving ode to "The Romance of Soda Water": Youth as it sips its first glass, experiences sensations which, like the first sensation of love cannot be forgotten, but are cherished to the last.

There are "Tummy Ticklers" -- sundaes small and large -- with titles and captions like "The Tree" ("This one grows in Jahn’s not in Brooklyn"), "A Shissel" ("If you can’t eat it – use it for washing"), and the "Brooklyn Kibbitzer" ("Shut up and eat"). The showstopper, of course, is "The Kitchen Sink," the shop's signature giant dessert. The mother of all sundaes serves eight for the sum of $42.65.

In an age when we are witnessing the some of New York's most indelible food institutions close up shop (R.I.P. 2nd Avenue Deli), Jahn’s soldiers on as the living ghost of New York's ice cream parlors past. The ice cream at Jahn's may not be the world's finest, but it's the sweetest way to travel back in time.

Jahn’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant, 117-03 Hillside Avenue, Richmond Hill, New York (718.847.2800).

For more information about the 2006 Independent Food Festival and Awards, visit tasteEverything. In 2005, The Food Section presented the award for Best Thing to Happen to Rice Since Sake to Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.


 





Comments

Great review and wonderful photos. Jahn's is destination worthy. Take the J subway to 118th St/Jamaica Ave.

 

I remember the Jahn's near Fordham Rd in the Bronx. This was where we went with my friends from FU and sometimes with my Mom after shopping at Alexander's.
Good to know it is still alive somewhere.

 

I grew up spending many nights at the Jahns in Union, NJ. I could write a book on the memories with friends, ice cream and french fries. It made my night to know there were some still left - I'm sure a trip to Queens will be in the works soon - Thanks for sharing!

 

I would love to visit some of those places before they close.

 

wow, I like the way the place looks just as it must always have been from the old days... mere an experience being there would be worthy. Thanks for sharing and the great photos!

 

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a Thai food site. It pretty much covers foog & cooking related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 

Great Blog! I got some good ideas here. You are bookmarked! Thanks!

 

Nobody mentions the Brooklyn Jahn's that used to be on 86 St. What memories I have of that place. I never got the kitchen sink until August 2005 at the Jahn's on 37th Ave. Was it ever worth the wait!

 

My Mom took me to Jahn's,next to the Keith,for my birthday,from 1956-1966

 

Just had lunch at Jahn`s a few months ago. Still every bit if past history remains.
Was a pleasure to be at Jahn`s again.
Harry

 

I just went to Jahn's in Richmond Hill today. I didn't even realize that it still existed until a friend told me the other day. I remember going to the one in the Bronx as a teenager.

 

Amazing! Jahn's on Fordham Road really did exist. I was beginnning to think I was in the twilight zone. The picture of Jahns in the 2007 New York Buildings calendar brought back instant memories of sundaes and the legendary "kitchen sink." But the calendar month of June is dedicated to Queens and the website only mentions Queens locations. Thanks, marianne & Susie (Alexander's definitely -- Washington's Birthday madness!) for reliving the memories.

 

Sad to hear that the Richmond Hill location closed. Great ice cream, great historical connection, a lot of good family memories there.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19068674&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574908&rfi=6

 

The real Jahn's was on Kingsbridge and Fordham. The Jahns stores in Brooklyn and Queens weren't the real Jahns! The Bronx rules!!!

Brooklyn + Queens = Faggots and Pussies

 

SAD TO REALIZE JAHNS IS JUST A MEMORY. WAS A CLASSIC EATERY, BOTH FOOD & ICE CREAM. OVER THE YEARS THE FOOD WAS NOT AS GOOD BUT STILL A BACON CHEESEBURGER THERE WAS HARD TO BEAT. MUCH BETTER THAN MICKY Ds OR BURGER KING. WONDER WHAT WILL OPEN THERE, WISH I HAD A LAMP OR 2 FROM JAHNS, WOULD BE HANGING IN MY APT. RIGHT NOW. JUST REAL SAD TO SEE IT GONE, REALLY GONE, EVEN THE OTHER JAHNS ARE CLOSED. THERE WAS 1 ON QUEENS BLVD. NOT THERE NOW. WAS THERE ONCE, FOOD NOT AS GOOD. BYE JAHNS.............

 

I remember going to Jahn's in Brooklyn with my parents many years ago. Then when I got older I used to take my kids to the one in East Meadow? by the roller rink. I even had the opportunity to visit the one in Miami Beach, right there on Collins Ave. Never got to have the Kitchen Sink but I did get a "Tall in the Saddle" a few times! Jahn's was such a part of my childhood right up there with McGuinness's, Nunley's, the BIG Nathan's in Oceanside, the ORIGINAL Nathan's in Coney Island and of course the original Lundy's in Sheepshead Bay (remember running for a table?)

 

UPDATE: March 2010

Jahn's Richmond Hill is closed but there is one other one in Jackson Heights in Queens.

37th ave and 81st street.

Enjoy.

 

It's difficult, but not impossible to go back in time. I still prefer the 2011 years.

 

Was there a Jahns ice cream & restaurant located on Valentine
Ave near Fordham Rd. About thirty years ago?

 

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