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Farrell's Menu Chronology

Menus often reflect the restaurant's style, and Farrell's is no exception. Here is an abridged history of the Farrell's menu over the years.

Clicking on the thumbnail images will bring up a larger view.

1963

This early menu was printed when only the original parlour existed - on Burnside Rd The menu was large (15 1/2 inches wide by 22 1/2 inches tall when opened). Bob Farrell developed the kitchen items while Ken McCarthy crafted and priced the fountain items. Besides featuring waffles and egg dishes (an unusual offering considering the kitchen didn't open until 11 am), the menu also had these unique offerings:

  • Union Station Locomotive - an ice cream sundae shaped into a train, using banana wheels and marshmallow smokestack.
  • The Zoo was originally called the Portland Zoo, while the Pike's Peak sundae was called Mount Hood.
  • Cheesecake, Pound cake and Pie were offered.
  • A Businessman's Hot Lunch was noted on the bottom of the kitchen menu - presumably some kind of offering "du jour" for the worker in a hurry.
  • Unusual food offerings included Cream Cheese on Date Nut Bread, and Avocado and Bacon Sandwich.
  • The #16 sandwich, called Farrell's Special, was the predecessor to the gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurean's delight, which would not be featured by name for at least three more years.
  • Price of a banana split was 75 cents (cheap).

 

 

 

1966

Similar in size and layout to the 1963 menu, this menu was printed when only four parlours were in existence: Portland-Burnside Rd, Portland-Halsey Ave, Salem Oregon, and Bellevue, Washington. The menu also had these unique offerings:

  • McCarthy's Favorite - a tribute to the "other" founder of Farrell's, this lunch/dinner item consisted of scrambled eggs with corned beef, served with an English muffin and French fries.
  • Mother Farrell's Famous Irish Clam Chowder.
  • The Gibson Girl was added to the menu and featured Vanilla Ice Cream, sherbets, grenadine and Banana syrup.
  • The Zoo sundae was called the Woodland Park Zoo, and the Pike's Peak was called Mount Rainier.
  • Price of a Banana Split: $0.85

Notice the lack of the word "Restaurants" on the logo - the menus from 1963 until late 1966 featured this logo. The word "Restaurants" was added in 1966, and the resulting logo and picture was copyrighted that year.

 

1970

Territorial franchisees printed their own "flavor" of menus. This allowed them to add a local flavor and list their own parlour locations on the menu. This gem is from the Los Angeles franchise - the largest franchisee, with 12 parlours open and two more on the way. The menu was somewhat smaller than the 1963-1966 variant (13 inches wide by 10 1/2 inches high). This is my personal favorite, with blue text accented with red and red/blue titles. The bottom of the menu says "The West's Original Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant". This phrase decorated the bottom of all menus from 1967 until 1970, after the chain spread east of the Rocky Mountains in 1969. Notable items in this particular menu:

  • The Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurean's delight - the largest sandwich in the Farrell's fleet, was made with roast beef, ham, pastrami, corned beef, swiss cheese,...
  • No turkey items were on the menu. Nor were fish items - the only options for the non-meat eater was the shrimp dinner or the tossed salad.
  • The pike's peak sundae was called Mt. Whitney in Los Angeles.
  • Spumoni ice cream, pineapple sherbet, and lemon sherbet were still on the menu, but not for long...
  • The hamburger selection consisted of a hamburger, a bacon cheeseburger, and a bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions.
  • The price of a banana split: $1.00
 

1974

Not much had changed in terms of the menu design at this point. The national menu did not use multiple color menus, and by 1974 the Los Angeles franchisee had sold its stores back to the company, so black and white became the national colors. Notable items:

  • The Patty Melt had been added to the menu.
  • Four party packages were offered for the kids, plus a special party package (the Superannualation Party) was aimed at senior citizens.
  • The number of parfaits had been trimmed from four to two.
  • Spumoni ice cream was a thing of the past.
  • A "Gay Nineties" sundae was added - a single scoop sundae offered only as a complement to kitchen menu offerings.
  • The Hot fudge nutty nutty and tin roof were added to the menu.
  • Price of a banana split: $1.25

This would be the last year for this menu; the company was preparing to roll out a fresh new menu with a different style next year.

Images courtesy of Mark Murphy

1975

By this time, Farrell's had adopted the quarter-fold menu company-wide. This allowed the full Farrell's logo to be displayed when the menu was folded up on the menu holders at the tables. The size of the Farrell's Marquis (relative to the Gibson portrait) is smaller, and typeface was changed for the "Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant" part of the logo. This change was copyrighted, and most menus using this logo after 1975 had the notation "copyright 1966-1975." The inside now presented the kitchen items on the left and fountain items on the right (versus the top/bottom format of previous menus). The opened menu measured 17 1/2 inches by 17 1/2 inches. The inside of the menu was more cluttered than before. Notable items:

  • Pound cake was still featured on the menu, as was a sundae called "Two on a Blanket". This was the last menu to feature either of these items.
  • The Apple Pandowdy, which was featured as a seasonal item in 1971, had found a permanent home on the menu.
  • Soup of the Day was now offered.
  • The price of a banana split: $1.30

Images courtesy of Mark Murphy

1976

This menu, referred to internally as the "Hollywood Menu", represented a major departure for the 13 year old parlour chain. Made of cardboard, not newsprint, the menu was part of an expensive attempt to present a more "upscale" image to the customers. This menu shows the new "Farrell's" logo. Some notable items:

  • Burgers got fancy names - the Bacon Cheeseburger became the "Talk of the Town", the Hamburger became the "Old Timer", etc.
  • Three-bean salad became a standard garnish for sandwiches
  • The Trough sundae was renamed "Two for the Road".
  • More salads were offered on this menu, including Tuna 'n Tomato, and Egg 'n Tomato.
  • The Hot Fudge Cake, Gold Mine and Strawberry Surprise were born on this menu.
  • The price of a banana split was $1.45.

1977

In July, 1977, the Hollywood Menu was abandoned, replaced with the paper menu which was nearly identical to the 1975 offering. The only format change from the previous paper menu was the two-column kitchen section instead of the old three-column style.  Some of the new menu items were retained, most notably the Hot fudge cake and the other cake-based sundaes. Also, the goofy hamburger names were retained (for a couple of years, anyway). This meant the customer had to read the fine print to find out which burger had the bacon on it.

  • Kathy's Pink Surprise and Colleen's Salute returned to the menu after a 3 year absence.
  • The Gastro sandwich now came in two sizes - Mini and Giant.
  • Two for the Road was renamed "Pig's Trough".
  • Price of a banana split: $1.65

 

1979

In an effort to "clean up" the menu presentation, Farrell's produced this two-color menu style. The six columns of food and fountain offerings on the inside were reformatted into three columns. The "Keystone Cop" graphics style was replaced with annoying pictures of dopey-faced bananas and onion rings that walked.   The menu offerings did not change much. Some notables:

  • Ice cream puffs were offered for the first time on this menu.
  • Hamburgers were offered with double, triple, and home run options that added additional patties onto a standard menu burger.
  • The Rocky Road was added to the menu.
  • A sundae called "Our Accountant's Favorite" was put on the menu. Described as "a perfectly round scoop of vanilla ice cream on a smooth plate; dab of marshmallow topping", the price was $99.00. I think the marketing department hoped someone would actually buy one just to see the look on the waitress' face (plus it's got a great profit margin).
  • Caramel topping made a return after some 13 years.
  • The Super Purist (six scoops of ice cream and a pitcher of hot fudge, nothing else), made its return after a brief life on the Hollywood Menu.
  • The Hot Fudge Volcano made its debut. 30 scoops of vanilla ice cream and a 20 oz goblet of hot fudge became an instant hit.
  • The price of a Banana Split: $2.00

This menu became the staple for the continental U.S. parlours until 1983. Many franchisees kept this format through the late 1980's.

Not shown: Mall parlours from 1980-1983 had "dual menus", with the traditional paper menu used except during weekday lunchtime, when a bi-fold cardboard menu with food items and placemat with the ice cream menu was used.

 

1982

This menu is from the Hawaiian franchise on Kauai. The Hawaiian parlours reflected the unique character of the islands; the menus reflected this with some of the unique offerings. Since nearly everything had to be shipped from the mainland, prices were usually at least 35% higher than the continental menus. Some of the features of this menu:

  • Burgers and sandwiches were offered with a choice of french fries or white rice.
  • A special food section called "Island Favorites" featured such items as Teriyaki Beef, Hawaiian Fruit Salad, and Saimin.
  • Madam Pele's Volcano was the Kauai version of the Hot Fudge Volcano.
  • A franchise special, Luna's Favorite, was offered with choice of carrot cake or hot fudge brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream.
  • The Top Banana sundae was offered. This sundae was on menus nationally for a year or so. 30 scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, 5 bananas, lots of strawberry, chocolate and pineapple topping plus the usual whipped cream, almonds and cherries in a big bowl, the public greeted this monstrosity with wild indifference.
  • Price of a banana split on Hawaii: $3.95

 

1983

"Impact '83" saw the rollout of a new menu to all company parlours. This menu had four pages of food items, with ice cream relegated to the back two pages (plus a fold-out tab).  This menu was the second iteration in the series, and was rolled out in November, 1983. Notable items:

  • New York strip steak dinner was offered
  • Basket Meals were offered, including the Vegetable Combo, Chicken Strips, Fried Shrimp, and Deli Sampler.
  • The Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurean's Delight was renamed the Deli Special.
  • Nothing notable happened on the sundae menu.
  • In May 1984, the salad bars in company parlours were eliminated. New salads were added to the menu, including a Taco Salad, Tuna Salad, Chef's Salad, and Cobb Salad.
  • The price of a banana split was $2.95.

In December 1984, a smaller but similar appearing menu was rolled out, which eliminated 80% of all food items (leaving only 5 hamburgers, a club sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich and a salad offering). Ice cream offerings were increased, adding a number of 6 scoop sundaes such as the Black & Tan, Hot Butterscotch Delight, Marshmallow Fudge, and Super Fudge sundaes. The Pig's Trough was doubled in size from six scoops to twelve scoops. 

 

1985 (part 1)

While company-owned parlours went through menu gyrations, most franchisees "stayed the course" with the paper menu and associated offerings. This menu is from the San Diego franchisee, which was still operating four parlours at the time. Some unique offerings that only this franchisee offered:

  • Polish Dog Sandwich
  • Bar BQ Beef Sandwich
  • Americas Finest City Sundae - created by Becky Waer, it consisted of strawberry ice cream, blackberry topping, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry.

1985 (part 2)

The paper menu returned to company-owned parlours after a two year absence. Food items were returned to the menu after a short absence. The Pig's Trough was returned to its classic six-scoop architecture.  Prices were also adjusted on items to provide more value to the customer.

  • The Banana Split Fruit Salad debuted in this menu, as did the Chili Sundae.
  • Farrell's version of Build-your-own burger was unveiled, where the customer could pick their choice of 16 toppings to add to the burger (at $.30 each). Some of the stranger toppings included chopped almonds, peanut butter & jelly, and banana slices. Fresh hamburgers went away, replaced with frozen patties (although this time the patties were a special product produced for one of Marriott's other restaurant divisions, and it actually tasted good).
  • Ana Banana replaced the Fudge-Ana and Straw-Ana. the Ana Banana offered a choice of toppings, including Blackberrry.
  • Price of a banana split: $2.85.

This menu style was the last company issued menu.

2001

The Farrell's franchisee in San Diego has been operating parlours continually since 1968. This menu is from late 2001.The quarterfold style opens up to an inside which takes the best of the early menus. Some notable items:

  • Food offerings are numerous and over-the-top, with "Krabby Cake" burgers, Bacon Cheeseburger with Avocado, and Chinese Chicken Salad.
  • Unique sundae offerings on this menu include Mudslides, S'More, Monkeyshines, and Black Forest.
  • Rocky Road and Chocolate Chip are available as ice cream flavors.
  • Price of a Banana Split: $5.65.

 

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2002

The first parlour opened by Parlour Enterprises uses this menu. Fairly balanced between food and fountain items, the following items are noted:

  • Pizza is offered - pizza was originally offered by company-owned free-standing parlours from 1979 through 1982. Nowadays, pizza is popular with kids, so it is widely sold with the party packages.
  • The Gastronomicaldelicatessenepicurean's Delight gets it full name back after nearly two decades.
  • Slugger burgers - the west coast does not have the "White Castle" chain, so this is the closest to a 'slider' that one gets in California.
  • A "Build-your-own" sundae section is offered.
  • The Zoo sundae is notably absent from the ala-carte menu (although it is referenced in the party section on the back page).
  • Price of a Banana Split: $6.25