Thursday, October 14, 2010
Gunther's Quality Ice Cream | Sacramento, CA
Shortly after moving to Sacramento in 1939, Herman "Pop" Gunther and his wife, Iva, acquired a small storefront on the corner of 5th Avenue and Franklin Boulevard. Along with their son, Dick, they proceeded to turn this modest location into a place where neighborhood families and people from all over could come and enjoy good quality ice cream. The idea was there, and so was the knowledge given Pop's 20 years of previous experience working with a Bay Area creamery.
Gunther's Quality Ice Cream Company was opened in April 1940. Sales of hand-packed pints and quarts was its initial staple, but what steadily grew in popularity was the customer’s ability to order a single scoop cone of any flavor for just five cents. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the Gunthers to seal their place in ice cream heaven.
Now, I can't say with certainty the degree of frequency that my family patronized Gunther's, but I do know that a divide existed between a few of my father's brothers and sisters who preferred Gunther's ice cream over another neighborhood joint. Does the debate continue to this day? You betcha! Why? One only has to sample the goods.
Their ice cream recipe involves using only fresh and all-natural ingredients, including a high percentage of butter cream, and blending them slowly in a freezing process that mirrors the hand-cranked methods used in the early 1900s. What is ultimately produced is a much richer ice cream than any other churned by their competitors.
And there isn't a flavor choice that hasn't been tried or left off the menu. You've got your standards such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chip, rocky road, and pistachio. But there are also some that are slightly off the beaten path like marble fudge, butter brickle, swiss orange chip, black raspberry walnut, and birthday cake. In all, Gunther's features 40 ice cream flavors as well as sherbets, sorbets, frozen yogurt, and real fruit freezes.
Our recommendation? The kids swear on Gunther’s old-fashioned 50/50, a throwback to the creamsicle that takes a hefty scoop of vanilla and sandwiches it between two equal scoops of any fruit freeze flavor. Orange, strawberry, lemon, pineapple, strawberry banana, grape, or mango ... The choice is yours!
Not into ice cream, but fun foods on a stick is more your passion? They got you covered with a cold-counter full of heavenly selections, each one covered in chocolate for a complete sugar experience: cheesecake, moussecake, bananas, oreo pie, mudd pie, and strawberries just to name a few. They also have nutty cones, clown cones, oatwheels, bon bons, and chocolate dipped banana chips just ripe for the pickin'.
Completing their story, the Gunthers would later move their parlor just a couple of blocks down the street to its present location on 3rd Avenue and Franklin, and over the years, it changed ownership at least two times since Iva sold the business following Dick's passing in 1967. She passed away herself in 1989.
Although the Gunthers are no longer with us, their names have become synonymous with good, quality ice cream. And under current owner, Rick Klopp, the promise of "giving the customer his money's worth" continues to this day, meaning that the Gunthers’ legacy will go on to delight customers for many generations hereafter.