During my research of historic ice cream parlors, I’ve found that some of these shops have had periods where they’ve shut down. For one reason or another the parlor closes down for what appears to be for good. Then along comes a former customer, a family member of the original owner or the owner himself to reopen the place.
Typically, the parlor isn’t closed for long — one or two years at the most. That said, there is one that looked as if it was gone for good. Leopold’s of Savannah, Georgia, was founded by three immigrant Greek brothers in 1919. Peter, George, and Basil Leopold operated the parlor on the same corner for fifty years. Then, in 1969, Peter’s youngest son, Stratton, closed the shop, moved almost everything into storage and headed off to California for a career in Hollywood.
Over thirty years had passed and Leopold’s became just a fond memory for many of Savannah’s citizens. That was until Stratton decided to return with his wife to the city of his childhood. They pulled the old fixtures out of storage, enlisted the help of an Oscar nominated set designer, and reopened Leopold’s in a new location. Most “old ice cream parlor gets a new life” stories would end there, but Stratton gets a much deserved Hollywood ending. In 2010, the Toronto Sun ranked Leopold’s fifth on their list of ten best ice cream parlors in the world. I can only hope Stratton knows someone in Tinseltown who can turn this into a feel good movie.