For ice cream aficionados, Franklin Fountain is something of a gold standard. The authentically retro parlor at 116 Market St. offers top-notch ice cream made from locally sourced ingredients, an assortment of sundaes and sodas, and very long lines.
Responding to the clear demand for more of their product, owners Ryan and Eric Berley (known as the Berley brothers) have opened Franklin Ice Cream Bar at 112 Market St., just two doors east of the flagship.
The new place offers hand-dipped, made-to-order ice cream bars, milk shakes, frozen custard (soft serve) and most of the flavors available at Franklin Fountain in cones, cups or small hot fudge sundaes topped with whipped cream. They do not have the variety of over-the-top sundae creations or the flavored sodas on the menu at the original location, but no one seemed to mind.
On our first visit, I tried the vanilla custard on a sugar cone. It was among the best I’ve had anywhere. The egg-based vanilla custard was creamy, delicious, smooth and not overly sweet.
My husband had one of the ice cream bars which, incidentally, are in the shape of keystones to pay homage to Pennsylvania. He chose vanilla, dipped in dark chocolate (you can choose milk, but why would you?), then rolled in cocoa nibs. The toppings rotate: There is a nice selection of nuts, cookie crumbs, candies and crunchy cereals as well as pink peppercorns and sea salt.
On a subsequent visit, I enjoyed a strawberry ice cream bar that was dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in cocoa nibs. Sublime. My friend had a chocolate ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate with a sea salt sprinkle. She loved it.
Prices run from $5 for a regular custard to $10 for the hot fudge sundae. Bars are $8 and milkshakes start at $8.50. Franklin Ice Cream Bar is open daily with hours as follows: Monday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m.; Friday from 4-11 p.m.; Saturday from 2-11 p.m.; and Sunday from 2-10 p.m. More information can be found at franklinicecream.com/.