Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour

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Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant
Private by Parlour Enterprises in the U.S.
Founded Portland, Oregon, U.S. (1963 (1963))
Founder Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy
Defunct2019 (2019)
HeadquartersUnited States
Number of locations
120 (1975)
Owner Marcus Lemonis
Website FarrellsBrea.com   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour was an American ice cream parlor chain founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1963. The chain became defunct following the closure of its last location in Brea, California, in 2019.

Ice cream parlor shop selling ice creams

Ice cream parlors are places that sell ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt to consumers. Ice cream is typically sold as regular ice cream, gelato, and soft serve, which is usually dispensed by a machine with a limited number of flavors. It is customary for ice cream parlors to offer a number of flavors and items. Parlors often serve ice cream and other frozen desserts in cones or in dishes, to be eaten with a spoon. Some ice cream parlours prepare ice cream desserts such as sundaes or milkshakes.

Portland, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Portland is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of 2018, Portland had an estimated population of 653,115, making it the 25th most populated city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest. Approximately 2.4 million people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous in the United States. Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million. Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.

Brea, California City in California, United States

Brea is a city in Orange County, California. The population as of the 2010 census was 39,282. It is located 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Los Angeles.



Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour was started at NW 21st Avenue [1] in Portland, Oregon, [2] by Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy in 1963. [3] Farrell's became known for their offer of a free ice cream sundae to children on their birthday. The parlors have an early 1900s theme, with employees wearing period dress and straw boater hats, and each location features a player piano.

Robert E. "Bob" Farrell was an American motivational speaker, author, and founder of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant.

In 1972, the Farrell's chain was purchased by the Marriott Corporation. [4] By 1975, there were 120 Farrell's nationwide.

Marriott Corporation was a hospitality company that operated from 1927 until 1993, founded by J. Willard Marriott and Frank Kimball as Hot Shoppes, Inc. in 1957, Marriott Corporation opened its first hotel in Arlington County, Virginia, United States as the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel. Marriott Corporation's first international property was opened in Acapulco, Mexico in 1969. Hot Shoppes became Marriott Corporation in 1967, which subsequently split into Marriott International, Inc. and Host Marriott Corporation in 1993.

Thereafter, sales dropped and most of the parlors were sold off in the 1980s. In 1982, Marriott sold the chain to a group of private investors. [4] By 1990, almost all Farrell's locations had closed. [5] [6]

One of the last original Farrell's locations in Portland, located near the Lloyd Center mall, closed in 2001. At the time of its closing, it was privately owned and known as The Original Portland Ice Cream Parlor. [4] The final original location closed in 2006 in Eugene, Oregon. At the time, it was operating under the name of Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour.

Lloyd Center

Lloyd Center is a shopping mall in the Lloyd District of Portland, Oregon, United States, just northeast of downtown. It is owned by Arrow Retail of Dallas and anchored by Macy's. The mall features three floors of shopping with the third level serving mostly as professional office spaces, a food court, and U.S. Education Corporation's Carrington College. A Regal Cinemas multiplex is located across the street. The mall includes the Lloyd Center Ice Rink where Olympian Tonya Harding first learned to skate.

Eugene, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Eugene is a city in the U.S. state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest. It is at the southern end of the verdant Willamette Valley, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Oregon Coast.

In 2008, after a years-long legal battle over rights to the brand, Parlour Enterprises of Lake Forest, California, was confirmed as the owner and operator of Farrell's properties on the U.S. mainland. [5] The company established a franchise model with original founder Bob Farrell as an advisor. [7] They promptly opened seven Farrell's locations in California, including the Mountasia Family Fun Center in Santa Clarita; Rancho Cucamonga (defunct); downtown Brea; Riverside (opened January 2013, defunct in July 2017); Sacramento (opened August 2013, defunct 3 years later, now an Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant); and Buena Park (opened February 2014; renovated February to August 2017). A Mission Viejo location went out of business in January 2016. There has also been discussion of an eventual return to Portland, Oregon. [8]

Lake Forest, California City in California, United States

Lake Forest is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 77,264 at the 2010 census.

Santa Clarita, California City in California

Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California, and the 23rd largest in the state of California. The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live.

Rancho Cucamonga, California City in California

Rancho Cucamonga is a city of about 177,000 residents located just south of the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest in San Bernardino County, California, United States. About 37 miles (60 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga is the 19th most populous city in southern California and the 27th state-wide. The city's seal, which centers on a cluster of grapes, alludes to the city's agricultural history including wine-making. The city's proximity to major transportation hubs, airports, and highways has attracted the business of several large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Big Lots, Mercury Insurance Group, Southern California Edison, and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

There were eight Farrell's locations in Hawaii. The last Farrell's in the state was operated by E Noa Corporation at Pearlridge shopping center in Aiea, Hawaii. After 10 years in service, it closed its doors at the end of their lease in October 2016. [9]

As of April 2016, the Farrell's inside Mountasia Family Fun Center has been re-branded and named Lickity Split by Farrell's, featuring over-the-counter dining and a streamlined menu.

In August 2016, Farrell’s was featured on CNBC's series The Profit , where Marcus Lemonis made a deal with the current owners and stakeholders of the Farrell's brand, three locations stayed open with a last push to bring back the iconic restaurant and ice cream parlour. Also in August 2016, the Sacramento and Rancho Cucamonga locations closed.

By Super Bowl Sunday 2017, Buena Park also closed, but reopened in mid-August when the renovations were completed.

The Riverside location closed in late July 2017. The Buena Park location closed on December 30, 2018 leaving Brea as the last remaining location. The Brea location closed its doors on June 8, 2019 leaving no remaining locations. [10] While Lemonis owns 51% of the brand, he has no ownership in the Brea location.

The menu is printed as a tabloid-style newspaper. It features appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, and dozens of different sundaes, as well as malts, shakes, sodas, and floats. Unusual offerings include a glass of soda water for 2 cents, and the traditional free sundae for customers celebrating a birthday. [11] Some of the sundaes are huge and intended for a group to share. The largest, the "Zoo" sundae, is delivered with great fanfare by multiple employees carrying it wildly around the restaurant on a stretcher accompanied by the sound of ambulance sirens. [12]

One of the more amusing highlights of their original menu was a "Low-Calorie Diet" recipe sheet you could theoretically "adopt" to if you ate too much ice cream. A bowl of "Bees Knees and Mosquito Knuckles" were among the "impossible-to-eat" dishes that were featured in the joke-menu.

Sacramento location tragedy

On September 24, 1972, a privately owned Canadair Sabre jet (a variant of the F-86 Sabre) piloted by Richard Bingham failed to take off while leaving the Golden West Sport Aviation Air Show at Sacramento, California's Executive Airport. It went off the end of the runway and crashed into the ice cream parlour; 22 people were killed and 28 injured. [13] [14]

In the news

On April 9, 1982, a small private plane crashed into the road and burst into flames in front of the Farrell's location in Torrance, California. The pilot and his two passengers were killed but no one on the ground was harmed. [15]

In 1983, the Selective Service purchased Farrell's "Birthday Club" data and mailed warnings to young men telling them to register for the draft before their 18th birthday. Farrell's blamed the situation on an unauthorized sale by a list broker, and the government announced they would stop using the list. [16]

In April 2014, an out-of-control automobile ran into a line of patrons waiting outside the Buena Park, California, location of Farrell's. One person was killed and six others were injured. [17]

On August 23, 2016, the television show The Profit featured Farrell's Ice Cream Parlours, and frankly discussed the financial health of the company and their locations, as part of a reality television show. An investment was proposed as part of a turn-around for the company and as a result, Marcus Lemonis became the majority shareholder of the Farrell's franchise. He later took over ownership of the Buena Park location. [18] [19]

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1972 Sacramento Canadair Sabre accident

On September 24, 1972, a privately owned Canadair Sabre Mk. 5 jet piloted by Richard Bingham failed to take off while leaving the "Golden West Sport Aviation Air Show" at Sacramento, California's Executive Airport, crashing into a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor. Twenty-two people died and twenty-eight were injured.

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  1. Pioneer Salt, Giant Pancakes, and Sexy Salads: How Portland Conquered the Food World - Portland Monthly
  2. Parkrose High School - Equus Ferox Yearbook (Portland, OR), Class of 1966, Page 290
  3. Giegerich, Andy (December 17, 2004). "Portland's dollar drain". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 Goldfield, Robert (November 21, 2001). "Original Farrell's ice cream parlor gives way to condo project". The Portland Business Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
  5. 1 2 "Farrell's looks to restart growth Owner outlines expansion plans for iconic ice cream chain". Nation's Restaurant News. August 31, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  6. "History". Farrell's USA. Archived from the original on October 14, 2016.
  7. "Franchise information". FarrellsUSA.com. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  8. "Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Returning To Portland". KPTV Fox News 12. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  9. "About". Farrell's Hawaii. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  10. Valdespino, Anne (June 11, 2019). "The last Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, in Brea, has shut down". Orange County Register. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  11. "Menu" (PDF). Farrell's USA. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  12. "Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, the Zoo Returns". Orange County (California) Register, November 3, 2009.
  13. "Aircraft Accident Report Spectrum Air, Inc. Sabre Mark 5, N275X" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board . March 28, 1973. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  14. "The Crash at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor in Sacramento, CA - September 24, 1972". Check Six. 2002. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
  15. "The Age of Aries In Torrance, California April 9, 1982". Check-Six. 2002. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  16. "Selective Service to Stop Use of Birthday List". The New York Times. August 4, 1984. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  17. Zarembo, Alan (April 26, 2014). "1 dead, 6 hurt when SUV crashes into Buena Park ice cream parlor line". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  18. Luna, Nancy (January 30, 2017). "Can Marcus Lemonis of 'The Profit' save Farrell's Ice Cream?". Orange County Register. LinkedIn. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  19. Luna, Nancy (May 18, 2017). "Millionaire Marcus Lemonis of 'The Profit' to reopen Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in mid-June". Orange County Register. Retrieved July 5, 2017.