*** I think most San Diego residents know from the press coverage, that as of July 31st 2006, Farrell's has closed it's doors. A sad day for all.....
Caution, the following post may bring on severe side effects associated with a case of terminal nostalgia!
I don't think that you could've grown up in Honolulu in the 70's and early 80's without having gone to Farrell's at least once! Bright, loud, and rollicking, the pounding of the drums, and the siren going off when a "zoo" was being delivered! Farrell's is very near and dear to the hearts of those raised during that era.
Then, it seems like overnight they all started closing one by one, until I walked by the location of my favorite in Kahala Mall, and found they were gone......
Until today that is. I had read that one of the last two Farrell's(the other is in Santa Clarita) in existence is located in Mira Mesa just about 12 miles North; but I had never made the effort to go there. After all they say "you can never really go back home again".... But I made mention of Farrell's on Ono Kine Grindz, and man if we didn't start waxing nostalgic! So of course, a trip was in order.....
The Farrell's in Mira Mesa is located in a mall across from a Target store, next to a Domino's pizza. The location looked really plain and we almost missed it, how so "Un-Farrell's" - like :
As we walked in, all of the "classic" kitsch-y, faux 90's Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour decor was on display. From the booths to the tiffany lamps, to the red and gold wallpaper, to the player piano, it was all there. The old Farrell's spirit and excitement was missing however. It was unusually dark, and Adults out-numbered children 5 to 1, and it was very quiet. Maybe because it was Father's day, who knows! There were three what looked like Middle-Aged Siblings with a Gentleman who was obviously their dad having lunch and ice cream. We were seated and handed the classic Farrell's Newsprint Menu! With great joy I turned to the back and saw that The Zoo, Volcano, and Pig's Trough, were still on the menu! In fact most of the ice cream desserts that I remembered were still on the menu. On the downside, no Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurean's Delight, bummer! And in deference to the location there was stuff like Pot Stickers, Asian Chicken Strips, and Tempura Vegetables, on the menu. Very strange. The classic Patty Melt and Whing Ding Hot Dog are still on the menu however.
We ordered a "Crunchy Burger" (not a classic I know) and a Banana Royale (a classic). The burger was pretty good, tasty, well cooked, as good as I remember. The Banana Royale was also good, no frills vanilla ice cream, real good thick fudge, and nuts. The Missus kept asking me why the fudge was so thick, and I had to explain that this is not the thin, runny, squeeze bottled stuff. I eventually showed Her the fudge warmer.
So what's the verdict? I actually enjoyed my burger enough to return. Farrell's is a little worse for wear, and alot of the atmosphere is gone, but those memories are still there. There's a site with an exhaustive history of Farrell's.
Here's to the memories!
Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour
10606 Camino Ruiz
Mira Mesa, CA 92126