How many ice
cream parlors do you know that are decorated with memorabilia from a Hollywood
film career? I’ve only encountered one, when I was attending the Savannah Film
Festival the week before last: it’s Leopold’s, conveniently located next door
to a 1940s movie theater now owned and operated by SCAD (Savannah College of
Art and Design), which puts on the festival.
dates back to 1919, when three Greek immigrant brothers (George, Peter and
Basil Leopold) opened the original establishment and learned their trade. The
great songwriter Johnny Mercer grew up just a block away and was a regular
customer, visiting Leopold’s whenever he traveled back home in later years. The
current proprietor is Peter’s youngest son Stratton.
ice cream parlor’s website, “Though Stratton left Savannah to pursue his
Hollywood dream, Leopold’s Ice Cream continued to be a Savannah tradition
carried on by other members of the Leopold family. In the summer of 2004,
Stratton and Mary officially opened the new Broughton Street location. They
continue their legendary family business proudly using many fixtures from the
original store including the black marble soda fountain, wooden back bar and
telephone booth. Leopold’s Ice Cream is hand-crafted in historic downtown
Savannah using the original, secret recipes and techniques handed down to
Stratton by his father.
location was designed by Academy Award-nominated designer Dan Lomino, who
applied his Hollywood magic to create the wonderful store you see today. He
used many of the original Leopold’s fixtures and incorporated props, posters,
and signed photographs of actors Dan and Stratton have worked with over the
years. Leopold’s is once again a fun, family-friendly ice cream parlor circa
surveying the walls, which are decorated with one-sheets of movies Stratton has
worked on, a showcase filled with props from Mission: Impossible 3, and a selection of electronic movie slates,
not to mention an old Moviola and a Panavision Panaflex camera.
As a fan of
vintage Americana and an ice-cream aficionado I can tell you that Leopold’s is
worth going out of your way to visit. Be prepared to wait in line, as people
gather every day of the week to get their ice-cream “fix.” I fell in love with
their chocolate-chocolate chip flavor but I doubt you’ll be disappointed with
anything you order.