ZAHARAKOS OLD-FASHIONED ICE CREAM PARLOR
Zaharakos Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor
This elegantly-restored 1900-style ice cream parlor and museum was named “The Number One Thing Every Hoosier Must Do” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine. One writer said it is “…a confection of mirrors, marble, Tiffany glass, carved woodwork, and polished soda-fountain plumbing.” The one-of-a kind Victorian ice cream parlor and museum is a treat for kids of all ages, from the music coming from the 1908 Welte Orchestrion to the homemade sodas and ice cream. Try a local favorite, the Green River, made the old-fashioned way. The gift shop features handmade toys, trains, and ice cream items. Plus, the Commons playground and kidscommons are right next door!
Ginger Crichton of Midwest Living wrote, “The whirl of activity was mesmerizing as we walked into Zaharakos. We heard the thunk-thunk-thunk of old metal ice cream cases opening and closing. Servers dashed by carrying trays loaded with ice cream in old-fashioned clear glasses. In the back room, an organ piped out tunes. Today at Zaharakos, the food is fine—we sampled a gooey-good grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of chili and four (!) kinds of ice cream—but nostalgia is the star. We lingered long after our last taste of raspberry chocolate chip, plunking quarters in a 1914 Banjo-Orchestra Replica, peeking into ornate Victorian-Era rooms and marveling at elaborately decorated soda fountains.”
The #1 Indiana destination
Indianapolis Monthly magazine put Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor at #1 on its list of “The Top 50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do”:
“At this 110-year-old marble palace, the sundaes are hand-dipped and cherry-topped. But what makes this Columbus institution really sweet is the counter-side charm of Wilma Hare and her fellow soda jerks, who will pull you an ice cream soda the way it was in 1900 and serve it with a side of sass”
Also, Thrillist.com named Zaharakos the best ice cream shop in Indiana in June of 2017, and said, “The homemade sodas and sundaes taste like a simpler time, though some of that could come from the fact that it feels like you’re eating in an ice cream museum, with much of the shop’s original fixtures in decor still intact.”
Chicago Sun-Times insights
Historic Landmarks Foundation award
From Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana news release:
“Tony Moravec won recognition for his restoration of a beloved Indiana treasure, Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Columbus. Known far and wide for its authentic vintage interior, the institution closed in 2006 after 106 years in operation and the community mourned. Moravec stepped forward to redress the loss. He not only refurbished the interior’s walnut and oak woodwork and onyx soda fountain, he also recreated a nineteenth-century storefront to replace the 1950s façade that didn’t match the authentic interior. He even bought back the 1908 Welte organ that had been sold to a California collector.”
Click and drag to view the inside of Zaharakos
Watch visitor Dave Seminara’s YouTube video tour of Zaharakos (3:04)
Zaharakos’ Banjo-Orchestra plays Sweet Georgia Brown (2:36)
50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do!
Think you’re a real Hoosier? Size up your experiences against our list of the places you must go, food you must eat, and sights you must see before you can truly call yourself a child of Indiana.
No. 1 — Sit at the counter at Zaharakos > At this 110-year-old marble palace, the sundaes are hand-dipped and cherry-topped. But what makes this Columbus institution really sweet is the counter-side charm of Wilma Hare and her fellow soda jerks, who will pull you an ice cream soda the way it was in 1900 and serve it with a side of sass: “When that ice cream hits the carbonation, it will explode like a volcano. And I will laugh at the look of panic on your face.” All you need to do is poke the paper straw through the layers of fizz and cream and, quickly now, start slurping! (from Indianapolis Monthly magazine)
London, England reviewer
Just had a single scoop; I don’t think I have ever had a better scoop of butter pecan ice cream ever!
posted August 2018
Lakewood, OH reviewer
Over the top! Online photos don’t do this place justice. What a step back in time, and the museum of old soda fountain dispensers is amazing.
posted June 2018
Lexington, KY reviewer
This is a must stop when passing through this town, it’s just a few miles from the interstate. Service was good and the ice cream is probably the best I’ve ever had! There are some cool sculptures around as well to check out!
posted Oct 2017
You may also like…
learn about our community and our world
the ultimate, free energy-burner
KIDS’ BOOKS & TOYS
at the Visitors Center