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May 21, 2012 06:47 PM

Are there any old-time soda parlor/candy shops still around?

I live near Brooklyn Farmacy in Carroll Gardens and enjoy the pies, the egg creams, the shakes, and what they're striving to bring to a city that I know once had tons of shops just like it (my great grandfather owned one in the 20's & 30's).

Are there any still-standing soda parlors/candy shops of the past, anywhere in Brooklyn?

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  1. Hinsch's on 85th St and 5th Ave closed and reopened last fall.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bob96

      bob96, or anyone else for that matter, have you been to the reopened Hinsch's? it seems like (from reading about the reopening) the new owners spruced up the decor a bit, which while generally commendable makes me a little sad - part of the place's charm was just how old it felt. the patrons and waitresses are probably the same, which would keep it from feeling too new (the time i brought my perenially dieting mother there and she tried to order a 2% milkshake only to be firmly shut down by our waitress was most memorable).

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        Haven't been for years, but heard the general feel was the still the same. Their actual ice cream, as I remember it, was nothing all that special, but only by today's luxury-sourcing standards. I'm afraid that eating any decent sundae eaten on marble countertops in the middle of old wood and tile is just fine.

    2. Not that I'm aware of in Brooklyn, but there's Eddie's Sweet Shop in Forest Hills on Metropolitan Avenue. I was going to also suggest the Soda Shop on Chambers Street in Tribeca, but I see that they're now closed.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Greg

        Was just at Eddies and while the ice cream was ok the place has seen better times, theyre really skating by. Havent been to Hinschs since they reopened but I always thought the classic old NY diner atmosphere was much more of a reason to go than the ice cream which I found average.

        Try Anopoli Ice Cream Parlor in Bay Ridge

        1. re: jeeg

          Can't dispute jeeg's description of Eddies, but if the OP is after nostalgia, it's got it.

          1. re: Greg

            Hi Greg,

            I've been to Eddie's about three times in the past two years. Sadly, the nostalgia here can best be described as dusty. It's also pricey. As a result, I fear this would end up being a disappointment to the original poster.

            The only reason I've been to Eddie's at all recently is because we were in the area for Wafa's and it was the cold weather season when Artisanal Creamery in Glendale is closed (Artisanal is only open from May to September).

            On an unexpected happy note, I didn't know that Hinsch's had reopened. I heard only about the closing—not the rebirthing.

            For a little different kind of nostalgia in Brooklyn, perhaps the original poster could check out Roll n Roaster:


            This song just makes me happy!


            Glendale is hungry...

            1. re: Glendale is hungry

              Sadly, Glendale, most of the true nostalgia these days is dusty first, nostalgic second, and quality last. I'm thinking of Hildebrandt's, for example, in New Hyde Park in terms of ice cream joints. Even at Katz's I shudder to think about the last time some one cleaned the neon signs. And don't get me started on Yonah Schimmel's (though I have it on good authority that Schimmel's was never clean). Places like the Soda Shop, Brooklyn Farmacy, Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers Street or even Johnny Rockets (not that you should actually eat there) are merely retro appealing to people looking for nostalgia, not the real deal. And apparently the real deal comes with a coating of dust - both literally and metaphorically.

              1. re: Greg

                Hi Greg,

                Confession: I have eaten at Johnny Rockets. To this day, I don't understand how we ended up there that day we were at The Shops at Atlas Park but, alas, we did. And, we ett summa that stuff.

                The food was edible but (of course) not the least bit interesting or genuine. It's almost worth stopping by though. Don't stay. Just walk in so that you can have the fresh-scrubbed, Disney-esque staff of uniformly fair-skinned youngins suddenly exclaim in unison, "HELLO AND WELCOME TO JOHNNY ROCKETS!!!" Then do a 180 and run away screaming like a little school girl.

                Yes, it's that scary. "Back to the Future" really was, at its heart, a horror movie.

                But, I digress. I still think there must be old-time food establishments in this city that manage to keep it both clean and real. (And places like Eddie's or Katz's can always pick up a mop occasionally).


                Glendale is hungry...

                1. re: Greg

                  Nom Wah has been around for decades. It's the oldest dim sum parlor in Chinatown. Like it or not, there's nothing fabricated about it.

                  1. re: Greg

                    Greg, not a fan of Hildebrandt's? Why? I have been going there forever. Burger salad,pasta and simple sandwiches are all very good. As for the ice cream, I like it.
                    Last week after a great meal at Srip I headed down Hillside and had a nice time sitting at the counter with my family. Ice cream was very good and combined with the chocolate sauce and marshmellow, it all made for an excellent sundae. The service is always friendly and efficient. As for nostalgia, sitting on the swivel seats eating out of the old metal cups, it was all pleasant. I don't know of a better place anywhere near there to sit at the counter and enjoy some ice cream.

                    1. re: stuartlafonda

                      I seem to be making some enemies in this thread. I didn't intend to knock any of the places referenced in my post, just wanted to point out that most of the places that, *in my opinion*, are thick on nostalgia are thin on food quality. There are exceptions, of course. I've never loved anything I ate at Eddie's, Hildebrandt's or Nom Wah (including is most recent incarnation which kept it in the family, but relaunched emphasizing its nostalgic elements). That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy myself at these places, it just means that if I want a good sundae, a good burger, or good dim sum, I go elsewhere. If I'm looking to soak up some nostalgia, these places are all options.

                      NB.: On re-reading my earlier post, I did mean to knock Johnny Rockets. I stand by that.

                      1. re: Greg

                        No enemy here, just exchanging ideas and looking for good food. Nam Wha was
                        dirty before the makeover and I had not been there in forever but recently had lunch there with a group. Not impressed with the food but the place did look cool. With all the options for better dim sum in the area I won't be back. Hildebrandt's on the other hand is both fun and fills an important void, a place for dessert after Sri.

                        1. re: Greg

                          I have also found the food at Nom Wah to be hit or miss - and in the old days it was just plain miss. What I disagree with is lumping it in with the likes of Johnny Rockets, which has a completely generic chain feel to it.

                          Nom Wah has kept a lot of it's original decor, tea tins, etc. It is a far more unique and personal experience.


                      2. re: Greg

                        My grandfather's joke was that they only cleaned the griddles at Coney Island Nathan's once a year, on Yom Kippur. And the best day to go was the day before.

              2. There's also the Lexington Candy Shop on the Upper East Side:
                (Not Brooklyn, sorry!—but just the kind of thing I think you're looking for. Eddie's was another great non-Brooklyn suggestion.)

                1. Is anyone else but me confused by a guy who lives in Brooklyn asking people nationwide if there are any shops of a certain type in Brooklyn?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    Frank: Is your post directed at me? This may surprise you, but the "Outer Boroughs" section of Chowhound is directed to, wait for it, people who live in the Outer Boroughs!

                    And thank you for the Hinsch's recommendation above, looks like a place I'd like to check out.

                  2. On Staten Island, Bay St. Lunchonette still makes egg creams, floats, etc. in a back-to-the-'50s atmosphere. Egger's Ice Cream on Forest still does all the soda-fountain treats and there's also chocolate for sale there. Though for chocolates I prefer Philip's.