Update 11/19/2009: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Returns to Portland
In the 70s and early 80s in Portland, if you were a parent with a sensitive child who didn’t like to be the center of attention, Farrell’s was the place to bring him on his birthday to thoroughly embarrass and humiliate him.
Bright lights, banging drums, sickening quantities of ice cream, and teenagers disguised as members of a barbershop quartet: a recurring nightmare and also my childhood memory of Farrell’s.
The first Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour opened in Portland in 1963, followed quickly by numerous franchises (58 by 1970). The heyday of the chain lasted through the 70s and into the early 80s. (You can read the whole story here.)
The locations I recall having reluctantly visited, thankfully in some cases for other poor kids’ birthdays, were the Farrell’s at Raleigh Hills, Lloyd Center, and Washington Square Mall.
Farrell’s lives on in various places, including California and Hawaii. Bob Farrell, the founder, is now a motivational speaker, known for the suggestive phrase “Give ‘Em the Pickle!”
You can read the first installment of a 30-something Portlander’s flashback here.
Bryan Dorr says
Farrell’s was a fun place. I remember having one of my birthdays there! And yes, I REMEMBER the attention you got if you were the birthday boy or girl–and the boatload of ice cream.
While attending UO I lived next door to the Farrell’s in Eugene. We used to go there with hangovers and just hope for no birthdays.
Being from Sunny So Cal, it was a rite of passage to have at least 1 bday party at Farrell’s between the ages of 5 – 10. One was all you needed because every one of your friends had the same passage, so you were at Farrell’s every weekend for those 5 years. Everyone wanted to be the bday king/queen at least once, so you got to keep all those cheap plastic monkeys to yourself. It was fun, traumatic & jungle overload all at the same time, much like its modern-day cousin: Chuck E Cheese.
I still hate monkeys to this day.
I used to love Farrells. I remember they had this huge ice cream dish, I think it was called “The Zoo” for parties. It had little plastic animals all over the top of it. I would always come away having eaten waaaay too much. Ahhh, warm fuzzies of days gone by.
Wow you are bringing back some of my oldest memories. I LOVED Farrell’s!
farrells was awsome best place to get a sugar hi
jeanann russell says
please SOMEBODY BRING BACK FARELL’S ICE CREAM RESTURANT! thanks, jeanne
In the early 80s when I was in High school, the only place to go for a late night treat after a performing the school play was Farrel’s in Raleigh Hills. I lived in West Linn and after the show the whole cast and crew would all pile into cars and drive over for ice cream, because Farrel’s was open until 1am. Back then everything, except taverns and bars, were closed by 10pm. It was on one of those occasions that I shared a Pikes Peak with 3 others. I loved their big sundaes that were made for more than one. It was so fun to share the ice cream with friends that way.
I wish someone would bring Farrel’s back.
Oh yeah….I lived in the ground floor apartment of the house right behind the alley when Farrell’s opened in Eugene in….I think it was around 1967 or 68 when my babysitter had hair longer than her butt and walked in the rain barefoot… It was torture living so close to such an amazing spot. I did, however, get to go there at least once.
The whole area has changed a lot! There isn’t a corner grocery with banana popsicles or the laundry or the quiet tree lined street right there. Instead, it’s a busier one-way and the whole back yard/ alley has been converted to parking.