Update – July 19: We’ve added an artist depiction of the new Riverside location
Get ready to ring the bells and sound the sirens for “The Zoo” and the “Pig’s Trough” as the much beloved Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour is returning to Riverside!
The recently relaunched chain announced plans a few days ago that it will open its fifth Southern California restaurant (and second Inland area location) near Castle Park in Riverside. The new location will take up residence inside the former Black Angus steakhouse at Park Sierra.
Farrell’s says the Riverside location will be the chain’s largest thus far, with the bigger building allowing for an expanded candy store (a favorite part — and memory — for many Farrell’s patrons).
Long time residents, particularly those who grew up in Southern California during the 1970s and 1980s, will fondly remember Farrell’s. The festive atmosphere combined with the candy store — plus all that ice cream! — was part Disneyland “Main Street U.S.A.” and part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In other word’s, a kid’s dream come true!
Starting in Portland, Oregon in 1963, the chain was bought in 1972 by Marriott Corp., which expanded Farrell’s to 120 locations spread across the country by 1975. The chain’s largest cluster was in Southern California, with over 20 locations throughout the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, including Riverside and Montclair. (For those who don’t remember, the Riverside location opened in 1970 at the then-Tyler Mall — about a half-mile east from the newly-announced location — and stood where Yard House / AMC Theaters stand today.)
By 1980, however, the chain was beginning to languish, partly due to its far-flung locations, the ever growing fast-food industry (and changing eating habits), poor management and failed makeover and re-branding campaigns. By 1985, only 59 company-owned locations remained (including, we think, most Southern California locations, which we seem to recall closing during the mid 1980s). But by the early 1990s, all company-owned locations had closed.
The most recent incarnation of the chain, now based in Orange County, so far includes only four locations: Santa Clarita, Mission Viejo, Brea and Rancho Cucamonga.
And to that, we say welcome back to Riverside!
- Orange County Register – Next SoCal Farrell’s to be chain’s biggest ice cream parlor (June 18, 2012)
- Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour
- HappyItIs.biz (Farrell’s history)
- RaincrossSquare.com – Then & Now – Galleria at Tyler (Aug. 2007)
Images courtesy of: * HappyItIs.biz, ** Riverside Public Library