My father is a man of simple tastes. He knows exactly what he likes, and he likes what he knows. Take, for example, his birthday. Every year, with few exceptions, his celebratory meal consists of a fully dressed burger (grilled at home, if possible), mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. For dessert, he has a penchant for a my mother’s chocolate applesauce cake, an exceptionally simple, pan-style cake lightly dusted with powdered sugar. And when my mother happened to be ailing or was out of town on a trip, he served his three boys Chipped Beef On Toast, boiled hot dogs, or ordered a pizza. Culinary master and healthy eating advocate he was not, God bless him, but simplicity was his hallmark.
Anyone who knows me knows that my personal kryptonite is ice cream. And one of my fondest memories as a child was when my father would make me and my brothers malts for dessert. It was three ingredients: vanilla ice cream blended with chocolate sauce and malted milk powder. He attributed the origin of this concoction to when he would visit local soda fountains where he grew up in the Midwest.
So you can imagine my excitement every time I visit Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, an old time, legit soda fountain located in Carroll Gardens. The space itself was once the storefront of Longo’s, a pharmacy that served the neighborhood stretching back to the early 1900’s. It had long since shuttered and was left in a particularly dire state. That’s when entrepreneurial spirit, mixed with a lot of hard work and a sizable helping of serendipity (by way of a Discovery Channel Construction Intervention), led to its rebirth.
When you walk into Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, the first thing you notice is what hasn’t changed, though you might not know it unless you are of a certain age. Whether it’s the penny tile floors, the twirly red-topped counter seats, the medicine cabinets, or the pressed tin ceilings, the painstakingly restored space exudes authenticity. If you stepped into a ubiquitous soda fountain in the 1920’s, this is what it would look like. And that authenticity doesn’t end with the interior design. You’ll find that same passion carries over to their milkshakes, malts, egg creams, and more.
Since opening in 2010, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain has become a multi-generational favorite. The savory menu features delectable diner-style food like a grilled cheese sandwich and a pastrami hot dog. Be sure to save room for dessert: specialty sundaes like the Mr. Potato Head (potato chips, vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, caramel sauce and whipped cream) are legend. No gimmicks here, even Food Network has taken notice.
But even if you’ve just had a meal elsewhere, pop in for the soda fountain offerings. The soda jerks are happy to make you an ice cream float, a malted milkshake or a classic New York Egg Cream. No matter what you order, it comes with a side of New York–and more specifically, Brooklyn–history.
513 Henry St
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