Soda Jerks menu
Where: 219 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena –
Phone: (626) 583-8031
Reservations: Not needed
Service: Tableside/counter wait
Atmosphere: Old fashioned soda and
ice cream parlor
Outdoor Dining: Yes
Credit Cards: Major
Kid’s Menu: Yes
Senior Discount: No
Food to Go: Yes
Catering Menu: Yes
Price Range: Lunch: $8.25 - $18.95,
Avg. $8.50 - $10.50
Dinner: $7.50 - $30.95, Avg.
$17.95 - $23.95
Jerks will be at its current location till Labor Day weekend
Memorabilia hangs everywhere
ice cream parlor style chairs were already old-fashioned when I was a kid 40
"Howard Hughes Club"
by side cone
Chocolate Shake came with a little extra on the side
"Mt. Wilson" Sundae
DOT COM DINING A Look At San
Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com
Soda Jerks a Step Back in Time
By Bill Coburn
Soda Jerks in Old
Town Pasadena is a step back in time to the old-fashioned soda parlor or ice
cream parlor. When you walk inside, you immediately notice all the old-time
memorabilia, from antique bicycles hanging from the ceiling, to soda and ice
cream marketing signs from decades ago, to the wooden booths and the chairs at
the tables that reminded me of an ice cream parlor I went to when “Hey There,
Georgie Girl” was a big hit, and which were really old-fashioned even then.
Besides sodas, made from hand pumped syrup and soda water, there is a large
selection of Fosselman’s Ice Cream, malts, shakes and freezes made from
Fosselman’s, specialty sundaes, and what they call “Old Pasadena Sundaes.”
There’s also a big counter display case full of candies, and as Keelan pointed
out to me, “Dad, the Reese’s here are cheaper than they are at the local liquor
store.” Okay, he said the name of the store, but this article isn’t about them.
Some of you may have
heard rumors that Soda Jerks is closing. That’s true, but only to a certain
extent. The partnership at this location is dissolving, but the managing
partner that I’ve always dealt with, Kevin McCafferty, tells me that he intends
to open at a new, bigger, hopefully nearby location, and that he hopes that the
downtime, if any, will be minimal. And the truly good news for Soda Jerks fans
is that he has already started a mailing list where you can sign up to be
informed about the new location when it’s ready to go. So stop by between now
and Labor Day, the scheduled closing time for this location, and add yourself to
the mailing list.
FYI – there’s a
whole section of the menu that discusses the history of the soda jerk, and of
the background about Kevin’s family history in the soda jerk business. It
started when Kevin’s grandfather paid off a $250 delinquent milk bill during the
depression and inherited an ice cream store. The whole story was, to me, quite
fascinating, but I don’t really have space to go into it in this article, so I
suggest you visit their web page on the San Gabriel Valley Menus.com website.
You can also get to Soda Jerks menu directly by going to
www.sodajerks.us. Or better yet, stop in and read it off the printed menu.
I’d been to Soda
Jerks a couple times on business dealings with Kevin, and had tried freezes and
shakes, which always hit the spot. But I’d never eaten there before this week,
and having done so, I can assure you that Soda Jerks isn’t just a soda and ice
cream parlor. They’ve got some pretty good food.
We started by
splitting an order of chili cheese fries, and we all agreed that the chili was
quite good. The order was enough for all three of us to split, as a starter,
and while I usually don’t enjoy chili cheese fries, because the fries get too
soggy, I enjoyed this one, because there were enough fries not covered in chili
that I could dip into chili and get the chili cheese fry effect without the
sogginess. I ordered a cup of split pea soup, and it was delicious, nice and
thick, with plenty of carrots and ham. Keelan tried it and liked it too, and
he’s about 50/50 when it comes to split pea soups.
One of the
eccentricities of Soda Jerks is that each menu item has a name that is not
necessarily food descriptive, but does relate to “the old days.” For instance,
I ordered the “Frank Sinatra”, which is a chicken breast sandwich with bacon,
jack cheese, and caesar dressing. Keelan ordered the “Howard Hughes Club”, a
club sandwich with fries (you get your choice of four sides), and Katie had the
“Johnny Unitas”, a hamburger with avocado, bacon, and jack cheese.
their food. Keelan noted that it was different to have a club sandwich that had
ham but no bacon. I really don’t know if the names of the food relate to how
people ordered their food, for instance, did Hughes prefer ham on his club to
bacon, hence the name? Maybe Kevin knows, stop in and ask him. My sandwich was
quite tasty, even though I wasn’t sure why I was ordering a sandwich dressed
with caesar dressing. It’s definitely not my usual M.O., but I enjoyed it, as I
did the potato salad I ordered as my side. Of course, it’s not Mom’s potato
salad (it never is in these restaurants I visit), but it was quite good. Katie
also really enjoyed her burger
BTW, Keelan ordered
a kid’s chocolate shake, Katie had a chocolate malt, and I ordered a Coca-Cola,
because I wanted to try it made the old fashioned way. Katie’s malt came with
an overflow mxer on the side. I liked the soda over the modern canned and
bottled Coke, and Katie and Keelan enjoyed their shakes. Of course, I’ve never
heard of anyone who didn’t enjoy Fosselman’s.
On to dessert,
Keelan ordered a “Kid’s Double Cone” which was kind of odd in that it was a side
by side cone, not two scoops piled on a single cone. He ordered green apple
sorbet and cookies and cream, sort of an odd combination, but he was happy. I
tasted the green apple sorbet, and folks, it was green apples. It was good, but
I was surprised at how true the taste was to a green apple.
Having attended the
Mt. Wilson Trail race the previous week, I pretty much felt compelled to order
the Mt. Wilson sundae. That’s a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream with marshmallow
sauce, a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream and a
cherry. It was a really good dessert, and later when I spoke with my sister, I
told her I had achieved the food coma that we Coburns so love to reach.
Soda Jerks also
serves breakfast, hosts birthday parties, and is generally a good time, near as
I can tell. So stop in soon, and get your name on the mailing list. You’ll
have a good time while you’re there, and you’ll be assured of being notified
when the new location opens up. And be sure to tell them you read about them in
Dot Com Dining!!
Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website
featuring more than 160 restaurant’s menus, as well as downloadable coupons. He has
nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating for
much longer than that.