Leopold’s Ice Cream was founded in 1919 by three immigrant brothers from Greece: George, Peter, and Basil Leopold. They learned the art of candy and dessert from an uncle who had already settled in America. The brothers perfected the secret formulas and created the world famous Leopold’s VeriBest™ ice cream. They opened their own ice cream parlor on the corner of Gwinnett and Habersham streets in Savannah, where two streetcar lines intersected. Many a rider would jump off the streetcar and entreat the motorman to wait as they got a frozen delight!
Generations of Savannahians have loved Leopold’s ice cream. During the early years, food service was added and Savannah began enjoying tasty treats such as hamburgers, baby clubs, and pimento cheese sandwiches. The soda fountain business was legendary. Everyone remembers the fabulous malts, milk shakes, black and white sodas, banana splits and many more. Famed lyricist Johnny Mercer grew up a block away from Leopold’s and was a faithful customer when he was home from Hollywood. He even told Peter he would write a song about Leopold’s famous “Tutti-Frutti” ice cream, which had become a Leopold’s hallmark and Savannah’s favorite. Leopold’s ice cream and sherbet molds were a holiday highlight in Savannah’s finest clubs. Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlor was always a popular destination after concerts, dances, and football games.
The original Leopold’s Ice Cream shop closed in 1969. Stratton Leopold, the youngest child of Peter Leopold, kept many of the original fixtures in storage while he pursued his dreams of working in Hollywood.
On August 18 of 2004, Stratton and his wife Mary officially reopened the legendary family business. The new location on downtown Savannah’s bustling Broughton Street was designed by Academy Award nominated set designer Dan Lomino. The original fixtures Stratton had kept were used, including the black marble soda fountain and wooden interior phone booth. The shop has a beautiful old-fashioned flair with some modern decorative additions – posters and props from Stratton Leopold’s film career.
We hope that Leopold’s will continue to work its way into the hearts of further generations, in Savannah and beyond as a place to find “Good Things to Eat. Good Things to Drink.™”