SKY Gourmand: Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor
Posted by cmh gourmand on June 3, 2012
The last time I visited Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor in Sandusky was in 1998. Note to self, this should be a yearly visit at the least. At the time I was writing an article about the best ice cream parlors in Ohio. I still firmly believe this is one of the best. I visited last fall during my extended tour of the Lake Erie Coast. I made it a point to go to Toft’s because I still had a great memory of the place so many years later (because in 1998 I arrived near the end of the day and I had already been to several area ice creameries on my quest).
Let’s begin with some back story. The Toft family started selling milk from their farm in 1900. By 1940 the company had grown to selling a wide range of dairy products throughout a large part of Northeast Ohio and built a new plant with the addition of an ice cream production line and a parlor to scoop out their new ice cream products.
In 1985 the company moved to the present location at the intersection of Venice Road and Edgewater Drive. Toft’s is still locally and family owned…a rarity in the business and it is he oldest continuously operating dairy in Ohio. Milk is purchased from local diary farmers and is free of growth hormones.
Considering all of the above, it could have been easy for the company to ditch the parlor to cut costs and employee expenses. However, the parlor persists and it is easy to understand why. First the parlor is a showcase of their products and the company is very proud of what they make and how they make it. In addition to scooping ice cream, other Toft’s products are sold here including milk, half and half, whipped cream and more. The much-loved and hard to find Ballreich’s potato chips are on the shelves.
The parlor scoops thirty plus ice cream flavors to the public. The flavors vary from the standard vanilla to more exotic flavors such as Graham Central Station and Yellow Cake Batter. The scoops are gigantic…close to a pint in size and weight. Truthfully, I could not finish one full scoop of ice cream. I suppose scooping from a parlor attached to the production plant makes the employees extra generous with their ice cream allocation. I also can’t think of any other ice cream operation with lower scoop prices than Toft’s (three scoops at Jeni’s would buy almost the entire flavor selection at Toft’s). The ice cream is obviously freshly made. You can also buy pints, gallons and some three gallon flavors to take home. Outside of The Anderson’s which has a limited selection, there is no other place to get Toft’s in central Ohio, so if you go take a cooler and stock up.
It is easy to miss the parlor since it is attached to a large manufacturing facility, but it is worth dropping in even if you are full. The place is fun and it is refreshing to see a company create a sense of playfulness in their place which serves as their face to the public. The rear wall is lined with chairs made just for the purpose of sitting and eating ice cream that were part of the old Toft’s parlor on Monroe Street. The chairs moved to the new plant on Venice Road when it was built. They have attached desk arms to allow a place to sit to ponder your flavor selection or rest while you are trying to complete a full scoop. (Credit for clarification to OAFDawg). I really enjoy the cow filled mural along the walls as well.
If you are in the area or close by, make some time to drop into Toft’s but think twice about ordering two scoops.
3717 Venice Road
Parlor Phone: 419.625.5490
Other stores in Port Clinton and Fremont