Zaharakos Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

329 Washington Street, Columbus
Open every day 11 am – 8 pm
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What bloggers say about Zaharakos!


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
The Chicago Sun-Times visited Zaharako’s when it re-opened its doors, and spoke with Tony Moravec (Zaharakos’ owner and president of a Columbus pharmaceutical company), who told them: “There’s nothing like this in the country today Lots of places have gone back to the 50s but you’re not going to find anybody who’s gone back to the turn of the century to this extent.” He also explained, “Back in the ’40s, Zaharakos is where (J. Irwin) Miller used to talk about modern design with the likes of Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames over ice cream.” (Excerpts from “Hot Fudge and History,” Chicago Sun-Times)
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.”

Altadena, CA reviewer

A museum as well as an ice cream parlor. The interior is wonderful. Antique soda machines from all over the U.S. Delightful wooden trim. Make their own ice cream.

Tripadvisor reviewer,
posted April 2017

Nashville, TN reviewer

This building is worth the trip. It is beautiful and spotless. It was almost empty so we sat down at the beautiful fountain counter and got instant service. Don’t know what to say other than: ORDER A HOT FUDGE SUNDAE. It is an extraordinary experience…

Tripadvisor reviewer,
posted June 2016

Tampa Bay, FL reviewer

This is the best restored, fanciest over 100 year old ice cream shop I have ever been to. The ambiance and history of this place is what sets it apart from all other ice cream shops. One side has all the seating and ice cream and the other side truly is a museum displaying all sorts of 100-year-old ice cream and soda dispensers. They have a small gift shop area of wooden toys other items kids back in the day played with before technology, ha.

Yelp review,
posted Sept. 2016

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Columbus Area Visitors Center
506 Fifth Street, Columbus Indiana 47201
812-378-2622 | 800-468-6564