Superior Dairy Ice Cream- Hanford..OMG!!
I happened to be in the Hanford area with three of my work colleagues. We had read about the Superior Dairy Ice Cream Shop in Hanford online and decided to check it out. When we walked in we were transported back in time to an old time diner with formica booths and a counter. The ceiling was textured and looked as if it was from another era. A banner was hung from the walls stating the restaurant has been in business for 75 years. The menu was printed on paper placemats. We decided to get a four scoop sundae with hot fudge and split it between the four of us. We each ordered one flavor- banana, rocky road, maple nut, and vanilla. It was $5.70. When the waitress brought it to the table we all looked at the sundae- looked at each other- and started laughing in amazement. The sundae was a foot high and had whatappeared to be the equivalent of a half gallon of ice cream loaded into the bowl. It was topped with gobs of whip cream and cherries with the hot fudge and walnuts were on the side. It was monsterous but mesmerizing! I couldn't stop staring at it. We began to dig in and it was delicious and wickedly decadent. The ice cream was creamy and flavorful. We just kept eating, laughing and staring at it. Eventually we couldn't eat another bite. We were unable to finish it(between four people)-and half of the sundae was still left! I highly recommend this great ice cream shop.
On my pass earlier this month through the Central Valley, I finally made my way to Hanford and the historic Superior Dairy Products Company. Frankly, I was disappointed. The ice cream was a distant third compared to Moo in Bakersfield or Jeb's Swedish Creamery in Kingsburg. And it costs more.
The ice cream base comes from Foster Farms/Crystal. In years past, the milk came from Foremost Dairy. I asked the counter lady for suggestions on where to start for a first timer. She pointed out the Peach saying its only available this time of year. A sample taste revealed more artificial flavorings than fruit. The fluffy ice cream has higher overrun than ultra-premium, ice crystals, and a plasticky finish. I wound up with butter pecan, mostly because I wanted to buy something in return for tasting, but soon chucked it. A single cup is $3.75 or 50% more than Jeb's, and a smaller serving size too.
I imagine that like Fenton's in Oakland, this is the type of place to take a seat and order a fountain specialty. It's not about the ice cream itself but the sundaes, splits and milkshakes. I found the ice cream quality no better than Dreyer's supermarket brand but it was fun to take a look at this historic spot.
Foster Farms acquisition of Crystal Creamery
Growing up I spent my summers in Hanford and Superior's was a ritual. I have two of their old milk bottles in my kitchen. I use to have one of their menus framed and over my stove. I now live in Texas. I will be in Hanford in a few weeks with my daughter and the one and only place we want to go to is Superior's. I'll have a strawberry sundae. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
As the sign in the shop implies, Superior Dairy has been a long time favorite of Kings County residents (and residents from other counties as well). Finishing one of those sundaes is a rite of passage for locals. Glad you were able to experience one of Hanford's true treasures!