Growing up, the only place I ever encountered the soda fountain drink called Egg Cream was in children’s books written decades earlier — usually ones about kids growing up in New York in the early 20th century. The drink, a concoction of milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup originating in the late 1800s, had fallen out of favor and been replaced by the more robust shakes and malts.
Now it’s coming back, thanks to the efforts of a group of new retro soda fountains around the country. They’ve declared March 15 to be National Egg Cream Day to promote not just Egg Creams but all old-fashioned fountain drinks.
We are a group of independent soda fountain operators who are trying to expand the market for soda fountains to prevent the loss of the American soda fountain, and to promote it so it will expand in the years to come. National Egg Cream Day was selected because an egg cream is not only unique to the soda fountain, but is in the American consciousness due to films and media over the years despite that most Americans have never tried one. It is one of the many wonderful soda fountain drinks that can only be enjoyed at a true soda fountain. This is not only a celebration of the Egg Cream but a celebration of the soda fountain.
The date, say the organizers, is “arbitrary,” chosen to promote soda fountains just ahead of the start of warm weather and craving for cold treats.
So where can Clevelanders participate? At Sweet Moses Fountain and Treat Shop at 6800 Detroit Avenue in the Gordon Square Arts District, of course. They’ll have New York-style Egg Creams all day today for only $2. They’re also introducing what a menu of what they call “five pharmacy-era soda fountain drinks.” According to their Facebook page, “These drinks were inspired by recipes found in an old soda fountain book—and, like the egg cream, they are very different than the typical ice cream treat that we've come to associate with soda fountains.
Sweet Moses is open until 10 p.m. today so you’ve got plenty of time to get there after work. — Anastasia Pantsios