Beloved West Central ice cream parlor first opened in 1939
Ice cream lovers in Spokane rejoice: Doyles Ice Cream Parlor on West Boone Avenue reopened last weekend.
Owner Jerry Gill has had the business since 1991, but it first opened in 1939.
“It was closed for four years before I opened it in ‘91,” said Gill, explaining that he closed the ice cream store two years ago to take care of his mom, who was very ill. “Family comes first, you know. I couldn’t do this at the same time as I took care of her. Mom passed away last May.”
Reopening was postponed because the much-loved ice cream shop needed some repairs and some updates.
“The plan was to open around Bloomsday; but it seemed like everywhere I turned something had to be fixed,” said Gill. “I had to replace the walk-in freezer. That was pretty expensive.”
Yet this weekend’s opening was a roaring success.
“I sold close to 50 gallons of ice cream,” said Gill. “I make the ice cream right there at the shop, using the original equipment from the early ’40s. The machines are built like tanks, so that’s good, but on the other hand if something breaks you can’t buy parts anymore; you have to make the part.”
Doyles Ice Cream Parlor features 14 different flavors including black licorice, Hawaiian Delight and Chocolate Thunder.
“My favorite is Fresh Banana, and I think that’s everyone else’s favorite, too – that’s what I sold the most of,” said Gill. “A new flavor is Toasted Coconut Almond; that disappeared real fast, too.”
The ice cream parlor is a West Central Neighborhood time capsule: the décor is classic ice cream shop, with a checkered floor and high stools at the counter. On the walls and on shelves customers are treated to Gill’s personal toy collection while they wait in line for ice-cold treats. Doyles also features fountain sodas, milkshakes and banana splits.
“The Hawaiian Delight is still a favorite, and it’s still the same: orange and pineapple,” said Gill. “For the chocolate lover we have Chocolate Thunder, which is chocolate ice cream with a chocolate swirl and walnuts.”
Judging by Doyles’ Facebook page, throngs of ice cream lovers can be expected in West Central during this hot weather, but Gill said he doesn’t want it too hot outside.
“If we get much above 90, it’s almost like a rainy day where people stay inside – I’d say 85 to 90 is the perfect weather for us,” Gill said.
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