Fresno Beehive

The last Farrell’s closes. Does that mean there’s no hope of reviving the chain in Fresno?

The last Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour closed in early June, 2019. The iconic ice-cream chain was popular in the 1970s and short resurgence in the 2010s.
The last Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour closed in early June, 2019. The iconic ice-cream chain was popular in the 1970s and short resurgence in the 2010s. Archive photo

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour closed down its last location earlier this month, marking the end to one of the California’s best bits of nostalgia.

At its peak in the 1970s, the old-timey restaurant/ice creamery (the wait staff dressed like barber shop singers) had more than 100 restaurants across the county, including one at Fig Garden Village in a space that would later become an Applebee’s.

Eventually, it was torn down and replace by a Chase bank, to the chagrin of fans of Fresno past who missed the infamous pig trough and wondered what ever happened to the Farrell’s marching band drum.

There was even a movement to bring the restaurant back to the shopping center.

For a moment, the idea seemed to not be out of the range of possibility.

The chain reopened a location in Sacramento in 2013. It was a big deal, as many people still remembered the 1972 plane crash in Sacramento that demolished the Farrell’s on Freeport Boulevard.

On Sept. 24, 1972, a restored Korean War-era jet lost control on a runway at Executive Airport in Sacramento during an air show, skidded across Freeport Boulevard, crashed into the popular Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor and killed 22 people.

In 2017, Farrell’s got a new owner and a brand makeover (with TV exposure no less) and it reopened its Buena Park location.

But the Sacramento location closed in 2016 and Buena Park closed in 2018.

That left only the Brea location, which according to Facebook posts from patrons closed sometime in the past two weeks.

Ofc ourse, the Farrell’s brand and concept is still owned by businessman Marcus Lemonis and it won’t likely go away completely.

As Lemonis told the Orange County Register: “I’ll hold onto it until I find another opportunity, even a smaller concept like a quick serve, and trademark it.”

“I’ll put it on the shelf and wait for the right window.”

In the meantime, those in Fresno can always take the Amtrak down to Hanford’s Superior Dairy.

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