The soda fountain is part of America’s rich history, whether it refers to soda fountain “shops” or the equipment itself. The latter mixes carbonated water with fountain syrup in an amazing array of flavours to create a fizzy drink, sometimes with ice cream. The former is what places that had soda fountains came to be called…though they also sold “remedies” (of the questionably useful variety) alongside candy and cigarettes
Essentially, I guess, they were a cross between a chemist, newsagents and café!
Soda fountain machines have been around since the early 1900s and were everywhere in the States in the 40s and 50s, the places and the drinks they made popular with teens and early 20-somethings.
When soda became more readily available in bottles though, they began to die out and the soda fountain itself became rarer to find. Today only a handful remain across the US, as we detailed here a while back, but one new store opening in Minneapolis is bringing it back!
La La Homemade Ice Cream, based on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, South Minneapolis, is opening up complete with authentic soda fountain and “soda jock” to serve the wide variety of flavours.
Run by Jennifer Lisburg, La La will offer a good choice of ice cream too – 16 flavours rotating with the seasons. As an example, there will be rhubarb and sweet basil-vanilla in the summer to pumpkin and Pfeffernusse for the holidays. Two signature flavours will be available all year round – honey-dipped raspberries folded into raspberry ice cream, and toasted coconut and semisweet chocolate blended into vanilla ice cream.
The soda fountain will use house-made syrups too, so I imagine there’ll be some weird and wonderful concoctions available!
La La will seat just 18 – so if you’re in the city and fancy popping along, you might have to queue, depending on how popular the place gets.
I’m just glad to see the soda fountain returning. In these days of soda cans, bottles and fast food dispensers, they’re a rare treat and a throwback to an almost craftsman-like quality of creating soda!