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Hail the Gods of Ice Cream--Carvel is Coming

Those of you who grew up in New York will know whereof I speak. The rest will think I have finally totally lost it.

Washington is about to graduate into the heavens of ice cream, as the New York-based soft-serve franchise Carvel makes its District debut.

The news came on today's Site of the Day, Inside the D.C. Bubble, which alerts us that

CARVEL IS COMING to Columbia Heights. Banner went up next to the Wachovia Bank at 3325 14th St. NW, near the Giant Supermarket. Can anybody say CookiePuss? Does anyone remember CookiePuss?

To be even remotely understood, this item must be read in the thick, gravelly voice of Tom Carvel, the late founder of the chain, who regularly read his own commercials on radio and TV in the 1970s and 80s. Carvel made Frank Purdue seem like a broadcast professional. Carvel would often end his spots with a mumbled entreaty to consumers to try the Flying Saucer, the Thinny Thin, or some other of his new confections: "Willyapleasethankyou."

Carvel is generally dismissed by the foodie crowd as overly chemical and utterly lacking in subtlety. I'm sure they're right. But there are few purer pleasures in the ice cream world than a vanilla Carvel cone with sprinkles, and when we use the word sprinkles, we refer exclusively to the brown kind and never in any way, shape or form to the multicolored silliness that pretends to answer to that name.

Until now, Carvel mavens have had to go to a very good little stand in Ballston in Arlington; for a time, there was also an outlet up Rockville Pike. But now Carvel is coming to the city to do battle against the big, boring chains and the rare but sometimes exquisite one-shots (Max's in Glover Park, the Argentinian import Isee Icy in Georgetown, Del Ray Dreamery in Alexandria, and outside the D.C. border, but nonetheless the reigning king of local ice cream, York Castle in Silver Spring.)

See you in Columbia Heights. Oh, and when the doors open there, please drop me a comment. Willyapleasethankyou.

By Marc Fisher |  January 17, 2006; 7:03 AM ET
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Comments

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Where's the love for Fudgy the Whale?

Posted by: Cookie Puss | January 17, 2006 9:03 AM

Cookie Puss! Fudgie the Whale!
And the two other trademarks Carvel holds: Flying Saucer and (drumroll, please)...
Wednesdae is Sundae!

Posted by: Fisher | January 17, 2006 9:25 AM

According to carvel.com, many of the burbs are getting Carvel as well. Used to drive from Tyson's into busy Merrifield for a fix. Now I can enjoy get my thick shake fix near my home in Leesburg!

Posted by: Tempo | January 17, 2006 9:48 AM

Isnt this the 2nd coming of Carvel to the DC area. I distinctly remember the Carvel commercials on TV growing up during the 80s and there being a local store. The commercials seem to always appear during "WOW" (Captain 20) along with the Joon Rhee (sp?) Karate commericals. (Nobody botter me!) and Bowl America.

Posted by: Tom Carvel | January 17, 2006 9:48 AM

Bring us Dairy Queen, and we can have Blizzards in every season!

Posted by: Custard King | January 17, 2006 10:02 AM

C'mon Marc, it isn't sprinkles, they are Jimmies. At least to us Boston transplants. But you are correct - it's always the brown ones, and never that clown colored imitator!

Posted by: Soulie | January 17, 2006 10:21 AM

There was a Carvel in Springfield for many years.. this is indeed the second coming. The guy who owned the Carvel used to hire young high school girls and make them wear tight practically see-through shirts and very tight pants. Seemed like a sleezeball to me and a LOT of other people. But we used to go there after baseball games... and yep.. chocolate sprinkles rule!

Posted by: grewupinspringfieldoncarvel | January 17, 2006 11:21 AM

Carvel Ice Cream cakes were a must for me growing up, and yes, there were other carvel stores in the area years ago...still are. The one near me in Vienna closed 15-20 years ago, but I will always miss the ads. Best way to describe that guys voice to me is Leon Redbone drunk.

Posted by: Mark | January 17, 2006 11:40 AM

There was a Carvel in the Rock Creek Shopping Center just outside Rockville decades ago, a few doors up from the Roth Movie theatre. A dollar got you a cone and a ticket (if you were under 12). Mmmmmm, chocolate Flying Saucers!

Posted by: FlyingSaucers&aFlick | January 17, 2006 11:49 AM

Please note that the Del Ray Dreamery has had to change its name to the Dairy Godmother due to some sort of trademark challenge. Everything else remains the same. And don't let them hear you call what they serve ice cream, it's frozen custard!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 17, 2006 11:57 AM

Carvel is coming soon to Hunter Mill Plaza in Oakton (123 and Hunter Mill Road) . . . and possibly to other locations in NoVa. Keep your eyes open; Fudgy the Whale is BACK!

Posted by: TMU | January 17, 2006 12:04 PM

I second the second coming of Carvel AND the creepy owner of the Springfield store. A friend from high school was traumatized by that guy.

Posted by: grew up in burke | January 17, 2006 12:06 PM

As far as ice cream - or frozen custard - stands that have long stood as favorites in the DC area, don't forget the Frozen Dairy Bar on Arlington Blvd and Annadale Road.

Posted by: RLL | January 17, 2006 12:13 PM

Don't forget Lazy Sundae in Clarendon! The best stuff in Northern Virginia.

I love doing imitations of raspy Tom Carvel: "Atcher participatin' Carvel dealer. Thank you." I can't stand the ice cream but the commercials were great.

Posted by: Cee from NYC | January 17, 2006 12:33 PM

The Carvel store in Merrifield went out a while ago, but I think there's a banner just up Gallows Road toward Tyson's that indicates a new store is coming.

Posted by: RC | January 17, 2006 12:57 PM

There is a Carvel on Wilson Blvd. in arlington near Ballston Mall. They share a space with Mario's....they are great.

Posted by: Matt | January 17, 2006 1:18 PM

I grew up in West Palm Beach, FL. The original 1950's Carvel stand is still in operation on the Dixie Highway, although the hurricanes have blown away the matching aluminum ice cream cones :-(
Glad to hear it will be in DC!!!

YES, sprinkles are called jimmies!!!

Posted by: Ed Tombari | January 17, 2006 1:33 PM

I came here from MetrobloggingDC.com, where I had to post a comment to correct a misconception being given by this post. From my post over there:

"While this is exciting news, it's hardly anything new to anyone who's spent more than 15 years in the DC area. Carvel may have never had a shop in the District proper, but they used to have storefronts all over the metro area. (I remember one in a recessed corner spot in Waldorf Shoppers World.) Many years ago, they all closed up.

But this isn't the first time that franchises from other areas try a second hand at the DC market. (Can anyone say Bojangle's or Arby's with me? I knew you could.) For whatever reason, these places failed the first time around. Perhaps the area is diverse enough now to allow these businesses to succeed. Or maybe they're under new (read: better) management. Who knows. I just wanted to clear up the impression given both here and in the article that Carvel is coming to DC because it isn't.

It's coming back ... and we should all be happy about that!"

Posted by: Robbie | January 17, 2006 2:28 PM

No misimpression given--indeed, Carvel has had a continuing presence in this market: The outlet in Ballston has been there for many years and continues to thrive. The original post noted that this is Carvel's debut in the District, and that remains the case. And yes, the franchise operation is expanding to other parts of this region as well, including Oakton.
Several emailers have astutely noted that Tom Carvel was way ahead of his time: He used the same molds to make Cookie Puss, Santa and Fudgie the Whale, saving money by using common tools across product lines. The ability to discern that little trick is a basic on any New York area intelligence exam.
Willyapleasethankya.

Posted by: Fisher | January 17, 2006 2:35 PM

You wrote; "[o]utside the D.C. border, but nonetheless the reigning king of local ice cream, York Castle in Silver Spring."

Surely the reigning king of local ice cream has to be Gifford's, no?

Posted by: TonyB | January 17, 2006 3:21 PM

I get my Carlev fix from the store in the Muddy Branch shopping center in Gaithersburg. I grew up in NYC where Carvel was the only kind of ice cream cake. My husband bought me a Coldstone ice cream cake for my last birthday and we ended up pitching it way before it was done. Not for nothing, but Carvel makes the only righteous ice cream cake in my book :)

Posted by: Carvel Fan | January 17, 2006 3:25 PM

I get my Carvel fix from the store in the Muddy Branch shopping center in Gaithersburg. I grew up in NYC where Carvel was the only kind of ice cream cake available. My husband bought me a Coldstone ice cream cake for my last birthday and we ended up pitching it way before it was done. Not for nothing, but Carvel makes the only righteous ice cream cake in my book :)

Posted by: Carvel Fan | January 17, 2006 3:25 PM


there was a Carvel in Olney Shopping Center (they only had one shopping center back then) back in the 70's and 80's. in my early early youth, i for sure dripped some ice cream on their floors to my parents dismay. i remember getting the multi-colored sprinkles myself (hey, i was under 10).

even just then it was a simpler time. anyone been to these Cold Stone Creamery places? you can get untold amounts of junk mixed in with your ice cream. no thanks.

Posted by: pete | January 17, 2006 4:57 PM


there was a Carvel in Olney Shopping Center (they only had one shopping center back then) back in the 70's and 80's. in my early early youth, i for sure dripped some ice cream on their floors to my parents dismay. i remember getting the multi-colored sprinkles myself (hey, i was under 10).

even just then it was a simpler time. anyone been to these Cold Stone Creamery places? you can get untold amounts of junk mixed in with your ice cream. no thanks.

Posted by: pete | January 17, 2006 4:58 PM

Thanks for giving props to York Castle, one of the true local businesses and makers of the finest banana ice cream known to man or primate. Ohhhh I love it so much. Also the litchi. They make a pretty mean peppermint, too. Okay, I'm done.

You can read my thoughts about York Castle and other such places trying to defend their turf against upstart national chains here:

http://spam-o-matic.org/culture/silverspringrest2.htm

Posted by: Lindemann | January 17, 2006 9:05 PM

How right you are! A vanilla cone with chocolate sprinkles (NOT jimmies) is ambrosia, not the air-puffed hydrogenated-fat food product that non-gourmands claim it to be. Now if DC could only get someone to sell decent bagels, rugelach and rainbow cookies...

Posted by: Jersey Guy | January 18, 2006 2:34 PM

Carvel is coming? Bah! Bring back Giffords!

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 18, 2006 3:32 PM

Oh man. I used to go to Carvel in Huntington, NY. Flying saucers, brown bonnets, birthday cakes....Washington is almost complete--now we just need a good pizza joint.

Posted by: Caroline Turner | January 18, 2006 9:24 PM

the sign in the oakton storefront says "carvel/cinnabon"! What a combination!

Posted by: oakton tony | January 18, 2006 9:30 PM

Gifford's is back - its in Bethesda by the movie theater. They sell their fabulous caramels at Christmas only but the ice cream is there year round although my mom swears it doesn't taste the same as it did back in the 50s.

Carvel's is coming back to Merrifield as soon as they finish building the strip.

Posted by: Jen | January 19, 2006 5:56 PM

what about the tie cake for dad? I think they used the fudgey the whale mold...

Posted by: cap girl | January 20, 2006 3:59 PM

Carvel is coming to dc.
Carvel is coming to Washington.

Rockville is in neither of those places.

Thanks Sir Fisher for validating my memory of Cookie Pie. See it was not something inaccurately inserted into my brain during the adolescent years.

DC Bubble
www.dcbubble.blogspot.com

Posted by: DC Bubble | January 25, 2006 2:25 PM

There needs to be more Carvels in Florida . Bring Carvel back .

Posted by: Sam I am | March 20, 2006 4:28 PM

Does anyone have photos of the old Carvel Stands from the 50's?

Posted by: G J Walck JR | March 27, 2006 6:30 PM

Thank you for the kind comments about Carvel, and especially the Muddy Branch Montgomery County Carvel. My wife and brother-in-laws own it. It is a labor of love but I think our hourly rate is about $.75 per hour. (At least we are in the black). We are shopping for a second location, hopefully in Northern Virginia, but there are certainly a lot in the pipe line.

Thanks again to all you Carvel Ice Cream fans!

Posted by: David Welliver | July 19, 2006 3:15 PM

I keep looking for Carvel in Leesburg Va and nothing is showing up although on the computer since a few months you find a posting saying they are coming. When and exactly where will they be located and when Thank you. Sandie

Posted by: Sandie | September 20, 2006 7:50 PM

I keep looking for Carvel in Leesburg Va and nothing is showing up although on the computer since a few monthsago, you find a posting saying they are coming. When and exactly where will they be located and when Thank you. Sandie

Posted by: Sandie | September 20, 2006 7:52 PM

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