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5 Great Old-School L.A. Ice Cream Places

Bennett's

Jim ThurmanBennett's

Last week, we took a look at the six remaining hot dog stands that had been featured in a June 1972 Los Angeles Times article titled "Biting the Dog." Not long after, the Times did a similar feature focusing on ice cream.

In that piece, titled "Here's the Scoop," Billy Adler, John Margolies and Ilene Segalove spent the summer sampling and ranking 40 different chocolate cones. Photos of each cone were accompanied by brand, weight, price, a brief comment and a ranking of one to five stars. The trio chose chocolate, since it varied more in both taste and appearance. We attempted to retrace their steps 42 summers later.

Among the departed ice creameries that undoubtedly will stir memories were Arthur's (Torrance), Chapman's (Glendale), Clancy Muldoon's (Santa Monica), Ham's (Lynwood), Karmin's (downtown L.A.), Morgan's (Rosemead) and Shaw's (Whittier). What's left as of 2013? Only five, which are listed alphabetically (the trio's ranking appears as asterisks).

Baskin-Robbins

Jim ThurmanBaskin-Robbins

5. Baskin-Robbins (*****)

In 1945, Irv Robbins opened Snowbird Ice Cream in Glendale. A year later, Burton "Burt" Baskin opened Burton's in Pasadena. A few years after joining up and franchising, the separate IDs were dropped and the chain became known as Baskin-Robbins 31, with the number 31 being chosen to represent a flavor for each day of the month. 1972 Comment: "Delicious." Many locations.

Bennett's

Jim ThurmanBennett's

4. Bennett's Ice Cream (*****)

Located in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, Bennett's Ice Cream has been around since 1946. The place is still family-run, and they still make all their own ice cream. Bennett's features flavors like pumpkin and its own Fancy Nancy, as well as classic flavors like chocolate, which is deep and rich. 1972 Comment: "Deep Dutch." 6333 W. Third St., Stall 548, Los Angeles; 323-939-6786.

Fosselman's

Jim ThurmanFosselman's

3. Fosselman's (****)

The Highland Park Fosselman's location was visited for the 1972 article. That's gone, as is the South Pasadena store. Fortunately for us, the 94-year tradition continues in Alhambra. Fosselman's also is still family-run and still making its own ice cream, including flavors like Banana Heath Bar, Lychee and Taro. You can even choose what type of cone you want. While a single scoop of chocolate might almost get lost in a waffle cone, the Dutch Chocolate is one of our favorites. 1972 Comment: "Good flavor." 1824 W. Main St., Alhambra; 626-282-6533.

Gill's

Jim ThurmanGill's

2. Gill's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream (*****)

One of the earliest tenants at the Original Farmers Market, Gill's is just a short walk from Bennett's Ice Cream. While Gill's might not have the same exotic flavors as its nearby competitor, the ice cream it makes is plenty tasty. 1972 Comment: "Almost perfect." 6333 W. Third St., Stall 416, Los Angeles; 323-936-7986.

Rite Aid

Jim ThurmanRite Aid

1. Thrifty Drug* now Rite Aid (****)

Opened by the Borun brothers with their brother-in-law in 1929, Thrifty Cut Rate Drug stores would become a familiar Southern California sight. After a series of mergers, the Thrifty name disappeared from the storefronts but not from the ice cream. For the old Times article, the Thrifty at 21949 Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills was visited, and surprisingly it's still there. Best known for its distinctive Chocolate Malted Crunch flavor and cylindrical scoops, the flavors still bring back memories for longtime area residents. 1972 Comment: "Best buy," which is still true, even if it costs $1.79 now compared with the 5 cents (!) of yesteryear. 21949 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills; 818-348-5542.

See also 30 Scoops In 30 Days:

Bennett's

Fosselman's

Rite Aid


Follow Jim Thurman on Twitter @JThur01.

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Related Locations

Rite Aid
miles

531 N. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, CA 91206

818-241-9770

Gill's Old Fashioned Ice Cream
miles

6333 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036-3109

323-936-7986