leopolds best ice cream in savannah bowl

Local flavor: Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah

by Michael

Leopold’s has been scooping up their fresh house-made ice cream in Savannah, Georgia since 1919. The store was founded by three Greek immigrant brothers and their legacy continues with one of their sons, movie impresario and sometime busboy Stratton Leopold. He’s joined behind the counter by his wife Mary.

leopolds ice cream in savannah exterior
When we showed up a line of customers snaked its way into the street. Fortunately it moved quickly and Mary handed out cups of water to those standing in the sweltering sun of a Savannah summer.

The ice cream was worth the wait; rich and creamy as it softened a bit from the summer heat which allowed the intense flavors to shine through.  The sundaes are served in old-fashioned bowls which adds to the experience.

leopold stratton ice cream

Stratton Leopold surveys his famous ice cream shop in Savannah, Georgia.

When he’s not wiping down tables or greeting customers, Leopold has produced Hollywood blockbusters from The Big Chill to Mission Impossible: III. Movie memorabilia provides the shop’s vintage décor.

Just like we travel with a Rocky statue as a trip mascot, Stratton doesn’t go anywhere without a movie prop ice cream cone he’s named “Scoop.” The walls of the café are lined with Scoop posing with actors from Tom Cruise to Helen Mirren to Anthony Hopkins and more.

Songwriter Johnny Mercer, who penned Moon River, grew up eating at Leopold’s and even said he’d someday wrote a song about their signature flavor, tutti frutti. It’s a rum-based concoction that’s studded with fruits; the name means “all fruits” in Italian. But fellow Georgia native Little Richard beat him to the punch, releasing his signature song, “Tutti Frutti,” in 1955. The song was controversial due to its lyrics which were considered a bit racy at the time.

best ice cream in savannah

Even statues like ice cream.

The ice cream has whipped up a bit of controversy of its own. Roy Motherhead claims to have invented tutti frutti in Kentucky in the 1950s. But the current Leopold in charge says, “We’ve been serving it since we opened almost 100 years ago.”

Despite its popularity in Savannah, the flavor is still hard to find elsewhere. Recently, Leopold ‘s filled an order for someone who was dying, one of their final wishes was to savor a dish of tutti frutti ice cream, a request that with the use of dry ice and overnight shipping, Leopold’s was able to fulfill. It sounds like something right out of a movie.

stratton and mary leopold ice cream

Mary and Stratton Leopold hoist our trip mascot Little Rocky and their mascot “Scoop.”

Further information:

Leopold’s Ice Cream

212 East Broughton Street

Savannah, Georgia 31401

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