(Soda) Jerks Welcome: A Visit to Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

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.

Several diners sitting at the counter of Brooklyn Farmacy while a staff member prepares a meal at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A row of cabinets with a collection of vintage trinkets on the shelves and several small tables with diners seated at the tables at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

An old wooden cabinet displaying books, old typewriters, and empty bottles in the background at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

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.

Vintage tile floors reading Longo's Pharmacy with surrounding pattern and partial feet via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Vintage figurines of girls on scooters on a mirrored shelf at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Lynn and Justin sitting at the Brooklyn Farmacy counter via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

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.

Egg salad sandwich with potato chips on the side at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Egg salad sandwich
Chocolate cream pie from Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Chocolate cream pie
Egg cream with foamy top from Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
And of course, an egg cream

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

Mon-Thu 9:00am-10:00pm
Fri 9:00am-11:00pm
Sat 10:00am-11:00pm
Sun 10:00am-10:00pm

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– J.

14 thoughts on “(Soda) Jerks Welcome: A Visit to Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain”

  1. History, Charm, AND ice cream? You guys always know how to inspire a weekend excursion – I’m already figuring out when/how to get there. If you can believe it, I’ve never had an egg cream before, but the authenticity of this place makes me think it would be a great place to try one. By the way, I LOVE your description of your dad’s favorite foods – through that description alone I feel like a person can really get a sense of who he might be!

    1. Now, why did I have the feeling you would dig this place, Lauren? I’ve tried out plenty of egg creams, and some of them were better than others. Brooklyn Farmacy has my favorite. Perhaps, it’s the ratio of ingredients they use, or their method of mixing them (sort of jostling more than mixing). Thanks for the kind reception to the post. I hope you make the trip out, and by all means, let me know what you think!

  2. This is great. Wrapping a unique experience in nostalgia. Love the way things we see can have us recalling our youthful memories. We have got to get to Brooklyn. We haven’t spent enough time there yet and there is so much offered there. Again a fun post!

    1. Thanks, Tip. This is definitely a case of “all aboard the nostalgia train”, but I must reiterate that the food and drinks here are top notch as well. Are you familiar with egg creams? I’d honestly never even heard of them until moving out here. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I’m definitely a big fan. In fact, I’ve actually tracked down the proper ingredients to try my hand at making them at home. Now, malts…well, I consider myself a licensed expert on that subject.

  3. Oh, I could go for an egg cream! It’s been years. I enjoyed this….that egg salad sandwich looks very old school, too. Longos sounded familiar, but it might be someone who runs a coffee place in the village – Porto Rico coffee, maybe you know it. It’s been there forever. Back when I was part of a group running a bakery cafe, we bought our coffee from them. Funny thing about those associations. 🙂

    1. Hey Lynn! Yeah, I’m a recent convert to the church of egg creams. Had never even heard of them until I moved East. But I’m definitely a big fan now. Are you meaning Porto Rico Importing Co on Bleecker Street? If so, I’ve walked by that place a hundred times. Have to drop in next time and check it out.

  4. How cool is this place! Such a throwback! I am obsessed with those tile floors and the old counter you can sit at! Not to mention the chocolate cream pie

    1. Hi Stef! We felt the same way. It’s rare to find places like this anymore. Oh, and that pie was definitely yummy, but there are so many other things I have yet to get to on their menu.

  5. Oh my, this description (not to mention photos) makes me want to visit this place RIGHT NOW! I love that era and the restoration is incredible. And I have never had an egg cream, must remedy! But first I will be eating a good half-dozen of those little pies. The addition of toasted meringue on top speaks of an attention to detail that can only mean super good things for their food. Loved your shared memories of your dad as well—he sounds a bit like my dad in his cooking style! 🙂

    1. Hey there, Cynthia! Thanks for commenting. I bet you’d like Brooklyn Farmacy. An Egg Cream is basically carbonated chocolate milk, though if made properly, not as sweet. That pie is delicious, as is everything else we’ve tried there.

    1. I know, right? It’s what I think of when I think of soda fountains now. And I love their egg creams and malts so much I actually ended up hunting down all the ingredients they use so I could make them at home. I’ve had so much practice at this point, I believe I’ve earned the honorary titles of Jr. Soda Jerk and Maltmaker, Level 1. 😉

  6. A wonderful article. A tribute to my kids Pete and Gia who created all that there is there. They do so with hard work, love, consideration and inspiration. They give many people a lot of pleasure. Am proud of them. .

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Anna! You have every reason to be proud, Pete and Gia have built a wonderful neighborhood spot. We are among their many fans, and we’re glad this article communicates that 🙂

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