Believe it or not, someone actually has looked at this website. Here are a few excerpts I have received recently:

Your web site brought back lots of fun & fond memories.  I worked at the Ann
Arbor Farrell's from 1974 until 1980, moving 'up the ladder' from busser to
fountain to waiter and host.  The most fun was had trying to keep the wheel
clean of orders at the fountain on a Friday night.  My sons and their
friends are still amazed at how fast I can slice up a banana into 'wheels'.
We also had a softball league where we played against all of the other
Michigan (and Toledo) Farrell's, so we got to know the folks at the other
stores.  I'm sure I could rattle off lots of names that you would recognize.

A couple of years ago I found Bob Farrell's email address online, so I sent
him an email thanking him for creating Farrell's and planting the seeds in
me that helped make my business a fun place to work.  I was pleasantly
surprised when he called me the next day thanking me for my thoughts.

I have a few photos that I took with me when they changed the décor and took
them off the wall, so I scanned them and put together a little web page
myself with them.  You might find them interesting:

I too have had many experiences in the Whittier and Rosemead locations.  Every year for my birthday for as long as I can remember I was taken to Farrell’s by my parents I would have a hotdog, which by the way was the best hotdog ever.  Slit right down the middle and toasted to perfection and also a clown sundae.  I am now 32 years old my birthday just passed and so I was thinking about Farrell’s because my parents were going to take me out to eat and I was not sure where to go. And so my mom said next year that I better have it planned out.  So I went on the web and typed it up and well here I am.  I have now forwarded this website to my mom and told her this is where I want to go for next year’s birthday...

    P. R. California

Going to Farrells as a child was a HUGE treat! Birthday parties, after church fun...whatever the occasion, I LOVED going to Farrells. I always wanted to browse and shop in the candy and toy-filled "museum" at the end. I bought a KAZOO EVERY TIME!!! And giant suckers! The very best part was ordering the special GIANT ice cream treat that had to be carried in by several waiters while they were ringing bells and blowing whistles...I remember little animal "toys" on the ice cream. Clown sundaes and GREAT FOOD. I still talk about it and tell my children about how much fun it was. I sure wish another FARRELLS would open in Houston again...

    M.P. Texas

An incredible piece! I have many fond memories of Farrell's in Eugene, Oregon during the 70s and early-80s. A good report card, a birthday, or other special occasion would earn a trip to Farrell's for the entire family, and we always opted for the Zoo, until we got older when the Pig's Trough and U of O co-eds wearing garters were the favorites. I was back in Eugene a few years ago on business, and an associate wanted to take me for a fancy lunch. I told him my preference was Farrell's. I was saddened to see Farrell's gone, but we still went to the Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour. It lacked a lot of the trappings and excitement of Farrell's (as your piece discussing the general decline in customers notes), but was still a lot more fun than foo foo food. It brought back a lot of great memories. I make it a point of going there every time I'm back in Eugene. I have often wondered why Farrell's-type ice cream parlours don't dot suburbia, and wish they would. The childhood memories a place like Farrell's produces are indelible.

    P., Colorado

I was a waitress at the Van Nuys store in 74 and 75. I remember that a television network made a special on the top ten ways to spend New Years Eve, and Farrell's was one of them. Suzanne Somers (at that time a huge hit as the mysterious blonde in the porsche on American Graffitti) and Fabian were the guests. I was able to take care of them off camera. They were wonderful folks, and all the Farrell's team were just super! We really clicked!

    V.P. California

Great site. I ready everything. You have the pulse on Farrells to a tee. I have so many fond memories of the Torrance Farrells. I am sure I saw you there during the last days. I am not sure if you remember, I was there on the last night and I just had to bang the drum for the last time. There was almost no motivation in the place from the employees and we took it upon our selves to have one last hoopla. Sure we went to Ed Debevic's after the closing, but it was just so my friends and I could imagine we were at Farrells. We knew it wouldn't last. If it helps, we stole the bowling ball from the bathroom hallway at EDB just to protest the opening....(my first and only law breaking incident)

I do hope this concept comes back in full force. I have been talking for 10 years about bringing one back. Talk is cheap and did not know all the background dealings going on. Sure hope it all works out. On whim I took my two daughters to the San Diego Farrells this past weekend. I wanted them to relive what I had as a kid. It was not exactly the true experience, but close. We had a pigs trough and saw a zoo being brought out. The candy shop however was blah at best. But the wall paper was that fuzzy velvet, lights twinkled before a birthday announcement and the horn was rung and of course the drum was banged.

I hope you are involved in the new venture no matter who wins the legal battle. Your history is priceless and if I were Bob Farrell, I would be very proud..

A.D. California

I am 35 years old and I still remember going to Farrell's as a kid growing up in Milwaukee. The beautiful inside, the fun decorations, the delicious ice cream, the noisy celebrations, the throwback uniforms. I am glad to see that they are coming back, even if it is only in San Diego. I hope people take to them again this time around and they decide to expand to Florida. If not, I may just have to go out to California and check it out.

S.D. Florida

I just want to say that I love your web site!! I went to the Farrell’s in Southridge all the time. I remember having my 8th birthday party there (I am now 36). I can still remember being there like it was yesterday. I remember going in as a young teenager with my friends for ice cream (and the candy… I loved that candy area).

I often tell my kids (ages 8 & 10) about Farrell’s. I wish it was still there so they could experience the fun that I had (plus have you been to Southridge lately…..). I really miss that place.

It was great to take the trip down memory lane. Hopefully we’ll see a Farrell’s in Wisconsin again!!

P.H. Wisconsin

After seeing a thing on FoodTV about some place that served a giant ice cream desert, I was reminiscing about a place I went to once when I was a kid. I was a little surprised to discover that not only did I remember the name "Farrell's", as I read your web site, I remembered more and more.

I would have visited the Burnaby (Canada) location in maybe 1973 or 74 at the tender age of 10. However, I can distinctly remember (after looking at the new menu) that my brother and I had a 'Pig's Trough', and here in Burnaby the Zoo was called the "Stanley Park Zoo" and the Pike's Peak was called a "Grouse Mountain"

The most unfair thing about the whole thing is now I live in Burnaby (we lived hours away when I was a kid) a mere 2 miles from Lougheed mall and Farrell's is no more.

S.B. British Columbia

My first job was at the Farrell's in Montclair. I worked there until it closed in November of '86. Learned many new skills there, too!

--Frill picks make great blow gun darts. many a war was fought and won between BUS and the kitchen. --You can learn many acrobatic tricks running the zoo. Sometimes accidentally. --Shoving a manager into an ice maker can be a bad career move (Actual incident) --Intercom + demented sense of humor = fun, fun, fun! --Dropping a case of malt glasses from one inch off the ground will STILL break! --Pouring Lemon extract over the cutting board in the fountain and igniting it ALSO a bad career move! (Another actual incident)

When the store closed. I helped move out some of the equipment. They also gave me about ten pounds of open ice cream for my efforts. Here's a hint: Never take more ice cream than your freezer can handle. My neighbors and I had ice cream for about two months! One of the managers also gave me the Farrell's game room sign.

A year after it closed, I drove by and saw that there was activity going on in the restaurant. Turns out they were tearing it down. They were auctioning off what was left inside, and sure enough if I didn't find the zoo stretcher! I bought it for about $3 bucks. Still have it to this day.

D.H. California

love your website, thanks for putting it all together. I grew up at farrell's in sacramento (the howe ave. location) and now wound up owning the oldest soda fountain in san francisco, the st francis fountain. what I'd love to see on your website are historical photos of some of the farrell's locations, especially the long wonderful walk through candyland to get to the cashier. nice work.

L.K. California

[Editor's note: If any of you readers out there have Farrell's pictures that you think might make a good addition to this website, email them to me. I'll try to incorporate the clean pictures (be sure to provide a description]

I was hired at the Farrell's in Woodland hills, the first restaurant in Calif.  We had a ball, made tons of money and worked hard.  The best part of the job was the movie and TV stars that came in.  My family had a lot of antiques and I displayed them in the windows, including an old telephone and old tools.  The entry was packed all night and the wood panel walls provided a perfect place for everyone to carve their name in, it soon became tacky but the in place to be.  The kids had plenty of spendable income and as a waiter I really made the tips.  Our antics sometimes were out of control.  We had numerous earthquakes in the Valley and my favorite thing was to get all the Tiffany lamps swaying and we would pretend to sway along with the building...  Thanks for bringing it back.

G.L, California

My first job was working for Farrell's at the Temecula, California resturant and another funny thing is, I grew up in Torrance and went to the Farrell's there as a child... Being a hostess and cashier for Farrell's, I heard so many wonderful stories from people and how they used to go to Farrell's all the time when they were younger.

K.S., California

I worked at Farrell's in Ann Arbor, Michigan for about 4 years starting in November 1974. I started as a Senior in high school right after my family moved to the Ann Arbor area from Indianapolis (where I first visited Farrell's)... My (younger) brother also worked at the Ann Arbor store during high school.

Working at Farrell's brings back fond memories and it was one of the best times of my life. We had a great team and we really enjoyed the work...  I started in the Fountain and eventually waited on tables and became a Host and/or Shift Assistant. My brother started as a bus boy and also worked in the Kitchen, Fountain, and Waiting on tables.

I also recall the jingles we would say over the speakers when bringing the Gastro to the table:

Around the corner and down the aisle -- here comes Julie with a great big smile -- because she's carrying Farrell's Gastronomicaldelicatessanepicurian Delight.

It is great to hear that a new Farrell's has opened up and maybe the idea is poised for a comeback. My kids will be ready to work in about 8 to 10 years ...

P.S., Michigan

Very much enjoyed your site on Farrell's. I to worked at Farrells for two years in one of the Detroit stores.

To this day the customer service I give my clients is based on what I learned and did at Farrell's. Also, the people I still stay in touch with in Detroit (I now live in Houston) are people that I worked with at Farrell's.

We used to hang out in the parking lot for many hours after closing at night.

Anyhow thanks for the memories!


Thanks for all the info on Farrell's. I know most of it is true, as I lived it. I was a manager in the Portland area for 11 years. I worked mostly at Lloyd Center but also at Washington Square, Kenniwick, South Center, The Park Food Court , and I closed 122 and Halsey. I started at a franchise in high school in SW Portland (Raleigh Hills). I knew Bob Farrell very well as The Lloyd Center is near his home. I had the priviledge (sic) of singing Happy Birthday to him and his grandchildren on many occasions.

J.R., Montana

First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed your documentation of Farrell's history. I knew much of it, but certainly not all.

I worked for Farrell's from 1972 to 1979 and some part-time after that. I began at the Columbus, Ohio store (a free stander, F66) and later trained for management at the Cincinnati store. I did stints at the Castleton store in Indianapolis (briefly) and then the South Bend, Indiana store. I met my wife there, who also worked at Farrell's, a pattern that I bet has been repeated many times. I got my own store in Peoria, Illinois. We left Peoria and moved back to Columbus when I decided to change careers completely.

M.M., Ohio

Love the Farrell's site. It brought back many fond memories. I worked at Farrell's (South Bend, IN, Columbus, OH, with an "as-needed" help deal in between at my husband's store in Peoria, IL) from 1976 - 1982, at wait, fountain, cashier, bus, hostess, whatever. I enjoyed hearing the Farrell's theme song, "Farrell's is Fabulous Fun" again. (I never thought I'd say that, after endless repetition of those ubiquitous tapes!)

Thanks for the memories. Farrell's still lives on in our hearts!

J.M., Ohio

I was the manager of the Baltimore Farrell's from 1982 until we closed in 1991. I started as part of the opening crew of the Langhorne, Pa store.(I worked Fountain) Your website has brought back many memories. It gets me to think, again, what if we hadn't closed.

The Baltimore store was used to test the lunch menu that consisted of croissants, french onion soup, carnations on the tables in perrier bottles, and other goofy things. They even taped the TV commercials there.

I believe that Farrell's would still be thriving if left to exist throughout the country.

G.S., Maryland

We had a "Taylor" soft serve machine for making malts and shakes. You probably know what I am referring to. We could make malts and shakes by mixing ice cream, milk and syrup on a mixer. That was a somewhat slow process, though, so the machine allowed us to simply dispense some soft serve into a mixing cup, add the syrup, and then a half-minute on the mixer gave you your shake or malt. The machine had to be emptied, dis-assembled and cleaned every night, and it took some time. On slow nights we'd shut it down about an hour before closing time. Any malt or shakes in the last hour we'd just make by hand. So, one night we had not only shut down "Taylor" (we talked about it like that. "Turn Taylor off", "Is Taylor working?"), but we had even put most of the ice cream away, and got an order at the last minute for a shake. The guys in the fountain told the waiter it would take a few minutes, and one of them disappeared into the back of the fountain. About five minutes later the shake appeared, and was delivered to the customer. The fountain guy who disappeared into the back, well, he had gone out the back door of the parlour, and walked across the parking lot to the Jack in the Box on the corner, where had ordered a shake, brought it back, and poured it into a Farrell's glass! They were always trying to get out earlier than anyone else, and there was NO way they were going to make a big mess of the fountain that late! (I don't -think- the manager knew about this, at least not until later...)

K.S., California

I remember Circus Vargas coming to Montclair Plaza. When they came to talk to us about it, they were supposed to set up the "Big Top" between the store site and the rest of the restaurants down Monte Vista by the freeway. When I got there, they had set it up right in front of the restaurant. They took our best parking, and any potential increase in business was nullified by the fact that you couldn't see the store from the mall! We did get a steady flow of circus freaks and elephant <expletive deleted>, though.

And, for the record? I was the guy who went to Jack in the Box to get the shake. And it wasn't just a chocolate shake. I had to add mint syrup to make it a chocolate mint shake. I borrowed the 50 cents from the shift manager. When he told the GM what had happened, Mark just smiled and said, "It had to be Garry!"

G.P., California

What a super job you did. THANKS so much, you have answered a lot of questions that I had. I worked in Farrell's in North Little Rock, AR in 1976-77 and moved our of AR. Years later I heard that they closed it down and couldn't imagine why. I have fond memories of Farrell's. It was a great place to work... I miss it.

R.R., Arkansas

I worked at Farrell's back in the 12th grade (1975) - Southfield, MI store. I started out washing, and soon moved into (what seemed to be) the cool position of working at the fountain. I remember the guy that trained me, he would remind me that the whipped cream can always had to be horizontal - and if I forgot that, he would slam it down on the counter to remind me. Working the fountain was hard work, and I remember coming home really tired.
And I do remember the change when Marriot took over - it seemed to change the store somehow, and the managers were not fun and did not inspire loyalty.

J.C., Louisiana

...The local baseball and softball Little League park was around the corner from the Northridge location. We would go there as a team sometimes after a practice or to celebrate a win. My Brownie and Girl Scout troop would have celebrations there, as well as my elementary school. In Jr. & Sr. High School, we would go there after school events such as dances, plays and sporting events. After a movie date in high school, it would be the perfect place to talk and have a sweet, yummy treat with your new "crush" of month. I wish that my children, ages 4 and 15, had such a wonderful place to make such fun and wholesome memories!

S.D., California

My first real job (as a High School Senior) was at Farrell's Northlake Mall (Atlanta Ga.) when the store first opened. Started as a busboy/dishwasher and by the time I moved on, I had been trained and worked at every position in the store..(Fountain was my favorite). In college, I worked sort of infrequently at the Cumberland Mall store. I met my first true love there, made many many friends, and had good
times that I will always remember.

Thanks for the allowing me to slip into the past a bit.

A.S., Pennsylvania

The Troy site was in the parking lot of Oakland Mall and it was a huge money maker.  I stopped in one day after a mall trip, plopped a quarter in an Asteriods video game, and played the same for eight hours straight on the SAME quarter! (I could play endlessly on one quarter, but those reflexes are long gone now!)

Anyhow, the employees and the manager were shocked to see the row of ships that I had accumulated. The manager, in true Farrell's spirit, gave me free "Big Swigs" as the hours went by and we had some cool off and on conversations. Everyone was so nice to me and I thought "this would be a cool place to work", so I asked the manager for a job. He didn't even hesitate and I asked when I could start. I guess he figured I was Farrell's material with my quirky Asteroid talent. So, I gave my game up to a little kid, who absolutely loved this as I heard him say "Hey Mom, look this guy is letting me have his game and look at ALL these ships I have left!"

So, being "real good" at Asteriods got me a job. But that's is not the only thing it got me - I met my wife there! In fact, I was in charge of the kitchen and pantry when she hired in. I was her trainer. It was like destiny - two months after meeting her, we were engaged and have been happily married for over 16 years now!

B.L., Michigan

I really love your Farrell's website! Unfortunately I only got to go there twice for other people's birthdays parties, but it remains my favorite eating experience to this day. It's a shame they went out of business. Kids today don't know what they're missing. Not only was it great fun, but it also gave you a history lesson in Americana during the Gay Nineties. You were given a real experience along with the price of your food. Chains today are pitifully bland and completely forgettable, but Farrell's was filled with flair and personality. The player piano music would always lift your spirits and the menu's pictures and typeface were utterly charming. Thanks for the great website!!!!!!!!!!!

L.S., America

I worked from the opening of the Cincinnati store as a cashier and eventually into the training manager for that district in the late 70's... The visit to the Farrell's lingo link was entertaining as I still use some of those phrases. Like so many others, I met my husband at Farrell's, had a bazillion great times and still find that Farrell's foundation to be a solid place, full of life and business lessons.

P.R., Ohio

Thank you so much for your wonderful Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour site. I read over almost the entire site, and found the history of the Farrell's chain to be very interesting. I recently moved to Santa Clarita, CA, and was excited to find that there was a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour very close to where I live. I remember going to the Farrell's in Whittier, CA, as a young boy, and thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere there. I was disappointed when I found that the parlor had been sold, and subsequently had closed. I had not seen another Farrell's again until I moved here. Last night, I took my two daughters for ice cream, and relived the experience of the player piano, the birthday drum, and the Zoo. I look forward to many more of these experiences in the future.

B.S., California

Our Farrell's was on the biggest mall in Tucson, AZ, but it faced the outside and there was no indoor mall entrance. Thus it was more like a free-standing Farrell's. The location at the mall was perfect for business. It was right at the end of a mall entrance off the main street. This entrance also aligned with the exit from the biggest city park in Tucson, home of the only baseball park, Hi Corbett Field (at the time). You could set your watch by the crowds leaving the park after a game. As their cars reached the intersection, immediately in front of them were the bright lights of Farrell's! We got "hit" many a night after games, and had some late nights when games went to extra innings.

We had grand window displays. Our female assistant manager had much artistic talent and rotated the displays seasonally and for various holidays. Customers and shoppers alike would study the window displays.

I'm surprised that there's not much mention of the candy section. In our Farrell's, the only exit was through the candy section. The barriers and candy displays forced a circuitous route ending at the cashier. I don't know what impact the candy sales had on the bottom line, but I recall it being a big part of the experience. Since cash registers were tedious back then, long lines would form through the candy section. They must have resulted in some candy sales (and some shrink, too!). At that time (1975) supermarkets and convenience stores did not have such wide selections of candy. Farrell's selection was fabulous.

D.S., Arizona

I was at lunch today and the discussion turned to ice cream. After mentioning all the great ice cream places we knew, one of us asked, "hey, remember FARRELL's? Whatever happened to them? So I did a search and found your delicious website!

I used to frequent two very cool stores. The one in my hometown of Woodland Hills, CA was the BEST! All the local football team guys, cheerleaders and actors of the area worked there.

The other one I went to was in the town of my OTHER alma mater, in Tempe, AZ right near ASU. Wow, what memories your site brought back. The early 70's were amazing times and FARRELL's was the place to be!

R.T., California

I thoroughly enjoyed your site! How did I find it? I was watching the Food Network and caught the last couple minutes of a bit about Farrell’s (on their Top 5 show)… I couldn’t believe there was still one around! So a Google search led me to your site. The history was the most fascinating; it was great to get a ‘global’ overview of what happened and why… since I have my own personal memory:

I worked as a cook at the Whittier, CA store from 1977 to 78, then moved into management training and became Assistant Mgr. at the Torrance store from 78-80. It was an absolute blast… as you probably remember, Farrell’s didn’t attract the same sort of entry-level workers as McDonalds; we tended to get creative, intelligent, often misguided and uninhibited people, would-be young actors, etc… which made working there great, and managing there somewhat of a challenge.

I have a couple of other observations as to what happened to Farrell’s, but it’s only my two cents:

1. Remember that in the late seventies/early eighties, suddenly fitness became huge in America (or at least in SoCal). What we now see as typical was just starting then: doing aerobics, going to the gym, watching your cholesterol…. and eating yogurt, which was allegedly better for you than ice cream. This was why salad bars were so hot. Fitness and ice cream didn’t seem to go well together. That was probably another reason for the ill-fated shift toward food.

2. Marriott management. I didn’t work under Bob, so Marriott was all I knew. But even as a bunch of 18-year-olds, we knew these guys were clueless. They would fly in with a stack of bluebar printouts, spend zero time learning about the culture or clientele of our particular store, and impose a bunch of truly illogical and irrelevant changes. We would occasionally get visits from Mr. Marriott himself, which we thought was cause for hope until we realized that he was the brother who was kept as far away from headquarters as possible...  with apologies to Mark Cuban, these truly were guys you wouldn’t let manage a Dairy Queen…

3. Quality control: this should probably be a subpoint under “Marriott.” During my three+ years, we had numerous products changes, all declines in quality. Cheaper ice cream, cheaper meat, etc… Farrell’s was never the cheapest place to buy ice cream; people went there because (a) it was rowdy in a family kind of way, and (b) we had really good ice cream. When we sacrificed (b), and Chuck-E-Cheese came in and beat us on (a)… well, the Torrance store is now an Italian place and the Whittier store is a parking lot.

J.T., California

Never worked for Farrell's, but I grew up eating at the Phoenix location at Chris-Town Mall all throughout the 1970's. I remember the Big Swig before the knockoff Big Gulp was introduced at the convenience stores. The menus, the candy (mamoth jawbreakers, rock candy)...all great!

Quick question - do the Ice Cream Zoos of today still have the small colored opaque plastic animals embedded and hidden in the ice cream like they used to have in the Zoos that I ate in Phoenix? [Editor's Comment: plastic animals were discontinued in the mid-70's after a child choked on one that went undiscovered in a Zoo. In 1982 animal crackers were added to zoos to represent the wildlife.]

Is there some sort of lobbying organization to make sure any Farrell's rebirth or renaissance maintains the characteristics of the mid-70's Farrell's parlours? [Editor's Comment: You can submit your thoughts and ideas to the current developers of Farrell's. Their website is You can also fill out a comment card when you visit their parlour(s).]

J.L., California

I've been with a restaurant development company for about ten years, and we're always looking at different things. My wife is adamant that the concept would be successful in Wichita if it was well-managed. Insofar as it's my job to maintain a healthy skepticism when evaluating restaurant concepts, the decidedly mixed track record of Farrell's led me to dismiss her opinion as nostalgia. However, after reading your history of the concept, it seems that there was certainly a strong customer appeal, though clearly profitability was a struggle across a wide mix of geography and demographics. Maybe something was missing from the original concept that would have put it over the hump? [Editor's Comment: Farrell's parlours did make money across the market through the 1960's. I spoke with Ken McCarthy, co-founder of Farrell's., and he mentioned that by 1972, after he had retired from the day-to-day operations, Farrell's had it's first parlour operating in the red. This was in response to the company cutting product quality after he retired, and focusing on opening stores rather than running them well.]

As you appear to be quite knowledgable about the history of the concept, I'm curious to know if you are aware of any testing by Farrell's of extending into the breakfast daypart--pancakes and eggs and such? In your opinion, would that have been an insurmountable operational challenge within the framework of the concept? Typically you have pretty nice food cost on these items, they're relatively simple preparations, and they're popular with kids. Plus it could be huge on weekends. [Editor's Comment: Breakfast was widely tried in 1982, mostly to stem large drops in guest traffic and revenue that the company was experiencing that year. Only a handful of Farrell's actually did well with breakfast, and by mid-1983 the experiment was largely dropped.]

D.T., America

I haven't had time to explore all of the web site, but so far it is great. My family owned the Farrell's in North Little Rock Arkansas and for a brief time the one in Oklahoma City. I worked there when I was 16 and later help manage both stores. I still have alot of items from there such as menus, glasses, training materials, and a clown sundae dish or two. I also share the sentiment of several of the people who wrote. I too miss the store and look back fondly on my times there.

D.P.,- Arkansas

I just wanted to thank you for your site. It was really fun looking at the photos and walking down memory lane a bit. I have so many fond memories of going to Farrell's at Cinderella City for birthdays and also for team sports parties. I distinctly remember all my friends and I saving up our money to take our basketball coach (she was a high school student volunteer coach) to Farrell's for her birthday and ordering The Zoo! I wish I had photos. I also had a major flashback when looking at the menu...the Clown sundae! Wow. The weird things you file away in your memory banks huh?

I'm 37 years old and just the other night I was reminiscing about my childhood and mourning the things I can never share with my 8 month old daughter. Farrell's was at the top of the list. She'll probably never see a Farrells. It's sad really. It's mind numbing to think that she'll want to go to Chuck E Cheese for her birthday parties...oh the horror!

L.M., Englewood, CO

Hello. I worked for Farrell's in Sacramento, California for 4 years 1971-1975 and El Paso, Texas for 18 months 1975-1976. It was one of the best times of my life. I started as a bus boy,advanced thru the fountain, became a waiter, and finally a manager. I was working at the Howe Ave location on the horrible night of September 24th, 1972 when a plane from an air show hit the Farrell's in the Crossroads shopping center.

It's amazing to me how far ahead of it's time Farrell's was, even though it's concept was from the past. A work associate of mine who is interested in menus found your site after hearing me talk about the terrible transition from the paper menus I worked with to the ungodly color menus that showed pictures of the BLT & T. The training videos and attention to detail in serving times are concepts that more restaurants should pay closer attention to today. I still have some Farrell's shirts and some vests that my mother made for me to use as a waiter. I just can't seem to part with them. I also still have some mugs with the "Farrell's is Fabulous Fun" inscription. They are currently in my freezer awaiting my next adult beverage. Thanks for the website!

D.A., America

I grew up in San Diego, CA, just down the road from the La Mesa Farrell's, and while my Brother and I only had a couple of parties at that fabulous fun-filled Farrell's, over the years we were guests at many, many, many of our friends Farrell's birthday parties. The candy counter gauntlet was always one of my favorite stops. At the La Mesa store, they had a giant ice cream concoction that was a bit smaller than the Zoo, named the Mount Helix (after a local landmark) but I don't know if it was a special item or just a re-naming of an existing menu item. We have many pictures and many memories of good times spent at Farrell's.

Flash forward to 2004, I'm living in Texas with my wife who grew up in Los Angeles, and also has a few of her own Farrell's memories. Our daughter is about to have her first birthday and we decide we are going to fly to San Diego and have all the grand-parents meet us at Farrell's for our little girl's party. My brother gets wind of the event and he flies in too, in part because he can't believe there is still a Farrell's in existence. While the new Farrell's wasn't exactly like the one I remembered as a kid, it was close enough to bring back that old time feeling. First thing I did was go and select some rolls for the player piano, the menu was still printed on a funny psudo-newspaper just as I had remembered. The place was quite filled for a Tuesday night and we saw three Zoo's get delivered, and the announcement that one Trough had been consumed by a young lady. They also made a big announcement for our baby's first birthday complete with some bell ringing and siren drills. Everyone ate dinner, which was fair to good, and had sundaes, which were excellent. The candy counter was smaller, and lacked as much of the old-time fare as I remembered from my youth, but it was fun to look at. But above all, the thing that made the night was the staff, who still realized that, in addition to our food and ice cream, we had come to Farrell's for some fun. They did not disappoint us. And while many of the little touches might not have been as crisp as they were back in Farrell's hey-day, the overall effect was definitely the same for all of us...Fun. My daughter's wide eyes said it all, and we have pictures and video so she'll have her very own Farrell's memories.

B.M., Texas


Thank you so much for the web site! I grew up in Chula Vista and grew up making a Pig of Myself at Farrell's and celebrating many birthday parties and sports events at Farrell's. I beleive ours was a free standing store. Ours was definitely the Gay Nineties theme. We moved to Huntsville, AL circa 1980 - where there was no Farrell's. I missed that place so... In 1997, I brought my six year old daughter to San Diego in search of Farrell's. I was temporarily upset when I could not find it, but then realized there was one in Mira Mesa. Yes, I travelled that far. I had to show my daughter Farrell's. And, yes, again I made a Pig of myself. I am pleased to hear that Farrells' is attempting re-growth as I think Farrell's is profitable. I was not pleased to see part of the Gay Nineties theme disappear - that was part of the magic. Please bring Farrell's back to USA and include Huntsville (Madison), AL in the business plan. I believe that our community wants and needs more family oriented, wholesome places to be rowdy and enjoy ice cream.

P, Huntsville, AL