If you’re an ice cream junkie and happen to drive near Hanford, California there is one place not to miss. Superior Dairy Product Co. at 325 N. Douty Street has been a San Joaquin Valley legend since being founded in 1929. Despite the corporate-sounding name, the ice creamery accurately bills itself as an old fashioned parlor serving hearty scoops of homemade ice cream, banana splits, sundaes, and sandwiches. It isn’t a chain. It’s not flashy, but it delivers the goods: a simple food menu and signature ice cream.
Our ice cream reporter discovered the parlor many years ago while on assignment to write about the (now shuttered) Clark Center for Japanese Art, an amazing collection housed in a gallery amid acres of surrounding farm fields outside of Hanford. The gallery has since closed permanently.
Now, any trip along Highway 99 through California’s vast breadbasket San Joaquin Valley is worth the detour to Hanford for a Superior ice cream event. Recently, on such a journey our intrepid Pillar to Post reporter returned to order the smallest sundae, which includes one pint-sized scoop of strawberry ice cream, chocolate sauce, pineapple sauce and smothered with toppings of whipped cream, walnuts and a cherry. The exact sundae (pictured above) was only fifty cents more than a two-scoop cone.
Most outta town clientele reaches the ice cream parlor from Highway 99 after heading west from Visalia on Highway 198. Once in Hanford, take the E. 4th St. exit off of 198. Continue on E. 4th until you turn right on S. Douty. Head north to ice cream nirvana.
After staying there while on an aforementioned assignment, it was pleasing to learn the Irwin Street Inn (522 N. Irwin) is now back in business after being closed. The new and improved version of the venerable bed & breakfast inn is housed in a quintessential Victorian two-story home and is easy walking distance (six blocks) from Superior Ice Cream parlor.
Yes, the world revolves around ice cream, especially if you’re in Hanford at high noon on a summer day.