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The Nite On The Town Card is an exclusive membership card that enables the holder to dine at a dizzying variety of the San Gabriel Valley's most popular restaurants at a discounted price.

Simply include your card when paying your check. If you are a party of two, one of your entrees (equal or lower priced) will be free or substantially reduced in price. If there are four or more in your party, two of your entrees will be free or reduced in price and you can visit each restaurant up to three times during 2011 and get a great discount each time

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Beckham Grill, La Fiesta Grande, El Portal, Stoney Point, Radhika, Firefly Bistro, Cafe Mundial, Central Park, Matt Denny's, 1810, Cha Da Thai, Dish, Italian Kitchen, Bella Sera and dozens more. 

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Dot Com Dining Restaurant Reviews  Click on photos (except logo) to see them full-size

You can also find our Dot Com Dining columns weekly in the San Gabriel Valley Weekly (print media), Mountain Views Newspaper (print media and online), and SierraMadreNews.Net (online)

View the Soda Jerks menu

Restaurant: Soda Jerks

Where: 219 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena – FOR NOW

Phone: (626) 583-8031

Reservations: Not needed

Cocktails: No

Service: Tableside/counter wait service

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

Soda Jerks will be at its current location till Labor Day weekend

Old fashioned counter

Memorabilia hangs everywhere

Even bikes

These ice cream parlor style chairs were already old-fashioned when I was a kid 40 years ago

Patio dining

More antiques

Chili Cheese Fries

Split Pea Soup

The "Frank Sinatra"

The "Howard Hughes Club"

The "Johnny Unitas"

Side by side cone

Chocolate Shake came with a little extra on the side

The "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.

 

Everybody enjoyed 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.

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