It seems like every place we visit, we come across an ice cream shop that is *the* local place to get ice cream. It's generally a step above Baskin-Robbins or Dairy Queen in quality and taste. And on our trip to Savannah, we found one such place in Leopold's Ice Cream.
The history of Leopold's begins in 1919 when Greek immigrant brothers - Peter, George and Basil Leopold - founded their first ice cream parlor in Savannah. Peter had been taught the art of making high quality ice cream in Europe and brought with him a recipe for Tutti-Fruitti, an Italian specialty that was made with different fruits and cream. The original Tutti-Fruitti recipe that the Leopold's started with 90 years ago is the same way it's made today.
Peter's son, Stratton, took over the business after his father and uncles passed away. Before he took over the business, Stratton was already gone from the Savannah area as he had gone out to Hollywood to work in the film industry. Stratton Leopold has risen from a production manager to a producer to now being the Executive Vice-President of Production at Paramount Pictures. He's truly a Hollywood heavyweight. Stratton Leopold's producing credits include The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Mission Impossible III and The Sum of All Fears. Stratton Leopold was also the producer of the critically acclaimed movie, The General's Daughter. Here's a picture of Stratton Leopold behind the counter at his ice cream parlor.
Because of Stratton Leopold's connection to the film industry, Leopold's Ice Cream parlor is decorated with film making equipment, along with a number of pictures of famous people and movie posters. In the back of the place is a Panavision camera, some editing equipment and film reels. The tables and chairs were authentic old style ice cream parlor furniture. The place had a very "retro" feel to it and was a rather cool place to look around.
Leopold's Ice Cream offers nearly 50 different varieties of ice cream- about 30 available all the time and an additional 20 "seasonal" ice creams. But their claim to fame is their Tutti-Fruitti ice cream which people literally crawl back to Leopold's to taste. Leopold's ships their Tutti-Fruitti all over the nation to people who have visited the place, become hooked on the ice cream and then want it sent to them. In addition to ice cream, Leopold's also has a short menu of sandwiches, soups and salads.
There was a good sized after-lunch crowd in Leopold's when we stopped in. Leopold's featured a large counter with an old fashioned soda fountain. The teenaged girls working behind the counter called out who they could help next while customers looked through the glass window down into the tubs of ice cream. Leopold's even offered free small spoon samples to customers. Cindy asked for a sample of the Tutti-Fruitti, as did a lot of other people while we were there. From her first bite, Cindy was hooked. She got a cup of the Tutti-Fruitti.
I'm a big Lemon Custard kind of guy and Leopold's had Lemon Custard, but with a small twist - they add bits of lemon candy in with the ice cream custard. I had to have a cup of that. And, oh my God, was it good. I'm a big Whitey's Ice Cream fan back in the Quad Cities and I think Whitey's Lemon Custard is hard to beat. But Leopold's may have surpassed it. The chunks of lemon candy gave it more of a forward lemon taste. It was absolutely fabulous.
We tried to get back to Leopold's at least one more time while we were in Savannah. But we got there just after 9 p.m. and they were closing up for the night. Really, it took all the will-power NOT to muster another trip to Leopold's while we were there. I'm still trying to watch my weight, but we also had a number of great desserts for dinner while in Savannah, so going to Leopold's usually never popped up after dinner. But if we ever get back to Savannah - and we will - Leopold's will be a "must stop" on our itinerary.