Farrell’s is no more

The last restaurant in that ice cream chain has closed. It was popular on the west coast when I was growing up, and was best known for the dishes of legendary size they would serve.

I can’t say that I went there very often, but I do remember that my friends took me there on my 21st birthday, because although I was now old enough, I couldn’t drink, since I had a biochemistry final the next day. Damn, but I was stodgy and responsible. Also, damn biochemistry, that was a tough course.


  1. felipei says

    my memory of Farrell’s is the owners catch phrase “Give ’em the pickle.” It was a book he wrote after he left the company.

  2. weylguy says

    We took our young kids there for all of their birthdays. The gong, the singing, the ice cream were all great. Toys R Us was just down the street, and it’s also gone. Our kids are grown so it’s all just a pleasant memory now. One has a PhD in molecular biology — he must have been reading your blog.

  3. microraptor says

    Mom used to take my sister and I there when we were kids. Unfortunately, the local one closed down in the 90s.

  4. JP says

    I’m lucky in that my birthday is December 30th, so during the winter break. We actually went out at midnight when I was technically 21; Ben Moore’s, a townie bar, wouldn’t let me drink, but The Brotherhood, sort of a townie/student/punk mix of a bar, did. (Olympia, WA.) White Russians were involved, because it was one of the only drinks I knew by name at the time and knew that I like. (Up to that point I’d mostly had cheap beer at house parties, if I drank at all, and I wasn’t wasting the free drinks I was being offered on that.)

    My friend Andy was very patient when we were walking home and I needed to stop and have a little lie-down on a bench by the sound.

    (We had a proper birthday party at my place the next day, which was more food and presents and hanging out, if also some drinking.)

  5. JP says

    Also my 21st birthday was during the 50-year snow storm in Olympia at the end of 2008, so a lot of my friends were in town because planes were grounded and stuff. We had a nice friend Christmas as well.

  6. JP says

    Our kids are grown so it’s all just a pleasant memory now. One has a PhD in molecular biology — he must have been reading your blog.

    That’s rad. My cousin Ole has been a bio-medical engineer up in Seattle for a long time now. A lot of family were kind of surprised; I really wasn’t, he’s a smart guy. He grew up on a ranch further northeast than where I grew up; I didn’t see him a ton, but we would visit and see each other at holidays, and I remember he came out with us to our place once on Fourth of July to introduce us to real firecrackers.

    He was a teenager when I was a kid/tween; we’ve been emailing since email was for nerds, and he hipped me to Discworld.

  7. brucej says

    For my 21st birthday I was treated to a pub crawl (well we called it ‘going to a bunch of bars’ back then) where I got a free drink at each place. Unbeknownst to me, my friends kept topping off my drinks the entire night, so I neded up pretty well stonkered.

    My birthday is Dec 14th, right in the middle of finals. SOMEHOW, I managed to not only pass, but get a B on my Microbial Ecology exam the next day, which I only vaguely remember taking…

  8. hemidactylus says


    Oh that guy. A staple of human resources mumbo jumbo along with Covey’s 7 Habits. Neither was as bad as the Platinum Rule. Not the rule itself “Do unto others as they’d like done unto them” (except eg. suicidal by cop) but the typical fourfold pseudo-Jungian typological claptrap that accompanied: The Director, The Socializer, The Relater, and The Thinker.

    The pickle principle seemed good customer service advice within constraints of proper rule abiding. And an apt counterpoint to the Red Tape guy I saw in another HR video with late 70s soundtrack (same as contemporary porn and police shows?) who was overly rulebound.

  9. ANB says

    Another old codger here who remembers occasionally going to Farrell’s in Fresno. A single scoop ice cream is more than enough for me now (and rarely).

  10. blf says

    Despite being in or near some of the locations mentioned by others (and in Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge) at appropriate times, I have exactly no memory of this chain. This apparently either means the one(?) time I went(? was dragged?) there I had a very large wee bit too much, or they didn’t serve cheese / allow penguins (deranged, mildly). Possibly all four.

  11. carolw says

    Blast from the past! I had no idea there was even one left. When I was in kindergarten, I had my birthday party at Farrell’s. I invited the whole class, but it was after school was out for the summer, and it was storming, so only one kid came. I remember that to this day, forty-odd years later. I also remember when they had to stop putting the little plastic animals in the giant sundaes because kids were choking on them.

  12. magista says

    I have fond memories of family holidays in Hawaii, where we always had to visit Farrell’s at least once. Always tried to get my dad to order us the pig’s trough.