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Ice Cream Chronicles (Vol. 12): Sock Hops and Frostops

Sock Hop Soda Shop makes for a colorful presence at The Pearl Market
as well as pretty much any other venue.
Opening day at the downtown Pearl Market saw its share of pomp and circumstance, along with familiar faces and a cache of new vendors. This market has become one of my favorite places of escape from the office environment into the outdoor landscape of downtown Columbus. One of the most colorful new arrivals to the market hearkens back to a bygone era, where the ice cream soda shop was the king of the hangout joints, with a modern day twist.

Now in its second year of operation, Sock Hop Soda Shop is the brainchild of Terri Levine, who I had the pleasure of chatting with during a not-quite-so-optimal day for frozen treat consumption. Essentially, this venture into a realm of fifties nostalgia came from the meeting of two different family-based desires, according to Terri. Her grandfather Eddie had always wanted to own an ice cream parlor, while Terri herself had wanted to bring a fifties-styled diner to the city limits of Columbus. The merging of these two desires led to her establishment her business, whose main focus is catering events both small and large.

While Sock Hop offers both retro fun (hula hoop competitions are a standard occurrence at their events) along with simple diner-styled hot items (grilled cheese, hot dogs and bologna sandwiches, for example) and familiar ice cream treats, the queen of their offerings is truly the ice cream float. Here, Terri combines two longtime Central Ohio companies for her floats. Originating in Springfield, Ohio in 1926, Frostop Root Beer once had stands in all 48 states until generational trends caused it to fade away mostly into obscurity. Sock Hop Soda Shop is one of the integral parts of the brand's revival by acting as its catering arm, providing exposure for the soda's current flavors (along with root beer, Frostop produces retro-styled flavors such as sarsaparilla, orange and cream, and red birch.)

Along with hot food items and familiar frozen confections, Sock Hop
Soda Shop combines two long-time based Central Ohio vendors
(Frostop Soda and Velvet Ice Cream) for its ice cream floats
The other half of that float belongs to Utica's venerable Velvet Ice Cream; the Dager family's product, which last year reached its landmark 100th anniversary, is used exclusively by Terri and her crew. In a nice bit of fortune for her company, Terri's Sock Hop Soda Shop trucks have been designated official Velvet Ice Cream rental trucks for your events of choice.

Now I have a confession - I have a very touchy relationship with root beer and similar-styled products. Traditionally, root beer is something I do not enjoy and my first bout with traditional sarsaparilla (encountered at the formerly-held Forage SF's Underground Market) was a rather unpleasant one. However, had something of a reconsideration when I found myself enjoying Rambling House Soda's version of sarsaparilla, and I figured I can't not try the signature product of a business. Thus, with hula-hoopers practicing their sway in anticipation next to us, I went for the root beer float.

This may be the only time I have a root beer float for lunch, but I found myself highly enjoying it as I listened to Terri continue with her story, from her ties to California to recent events they've catered and discussion about her grandfather. In fact, Sock Hop's newest vehicle, which can be seen at the Pearl Market, is nicknamed in tribute to him. Another fun little secret about the vehicle lies in the phrase "Service With A Twist" on the side: besides the nod to retro fads like hula hoops and the dance of the same name, the vehicle actually was a SWAT police vehicle in its previous life that was both lightly used and a perfect fit for her business.

Terri's expressed fortune in finding that vehicle was perhaps the most memorable part of my conversation with her and representative of where she stood in life at the moment: this was someone who was working hard, but feeling fortunate to be not only doing but also enjoying what she was doing. And it involves ice cream to boot - kinda' hard to beat that, right?

Terri's got a tasty ice cream float ready for you

Sock Hop Soda Shop
At the Downtown Pearl Market
(Tues & Fri 11 AM - 2 PM)
and other privately catered and public events
(614) 975-0081
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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the kind, kind words and the fantastic writing! What a great way to start my morning! It's always makes me happy to see people face to face in this cyber world of ours! Thanks for being a real human in an electronic world!!! :) We love bringing the fabulous fifties to FABULOUS Central Ohio!!!

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