At 11am, Mary Leopold unlocks the door of her family’s ice cream parlor and steps outside to welcome a throng of customers eager to get in and enjoy Savannah’s favorite scoops. Her greeting is a warm one, thanking us for coming and explaining that what we are about to eat is made in small batches using recipes that date back to the beginning, in 1919.
It is wonderful ice cream: silk-smooth, rich but not fatty, sweet but not cloying, ranging from the purest-of-pure vanilla to a marvelous flavor called Savannah Socialite, which is milk and dark chocolate speckled with pecans and ribboned with bourbon-infused caramel. What all the flavors share is confident dignity. None are outlandish or silly or over-the-top intense. Each is just what it’s supposed to be: fully satisfying, and a reminder that ice cream can be supreme comfort food. There are cones and cups, sundaes and banana splits, made-to-order ice cream sandwiches, floats, shakes, sodas, and parfaits.
The place is old-fashioned ice-cream-parlor charming, with an eager, uniformed staff who take good care of customers, including the presentation of little cups of water that taste buds are so happy to welcome between spoonfuls of rich ice cream.
While ice cream is Leopold’s raison d’être, there also is a menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches, espresso drinks, and freshly squeezed lemonade.