A trip to Paris without a tour of the Eiffel Tower to most would seem unthinkable. Similarly, a visit to South Florida without a trip to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, the iconic South Florida landmark restaurant since 1956, is also unthinkable.
Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor: A Landmark in South Florida
Jaxson’s founder, Monroe Udell grew up in Connecticut working in his family’s restaurants. Monroe and his family moved to South Florida in the 1940’s and opened Harry’s Good Food on Hollywood Beach.
After marrying his wife, Connie, they decided to branch out and open their own restaurant. Once Udell witnessed the 1947 hurricane force the ocean onto Federal Highway, he decided to locate their restaurant at safer spot just north of Stirling Road on the west side of Federal Highway. Shortly after opening, Monroe was encouraged by a family friend to attend ice cream school.
He perfected his secret recipes and began serving his signature homemade ice cream, toppings, whip cream using the finest quality ingredients. People soon realized the fine quality and large portions made Jaxson’s a stop not to be missed. Monroe Udell owned and managed Jaxson’s with immense pride and dedication until his death in 2014.
Keeping a High Standard Along the Years
Linda Udell Zakheim, Monroe’s daughter, is now owner of Jaxson’s. She continues to take pride in using the finest quality ingredients in their hand-crafted large portions of ice cream and food. Constant attention to the impeccable cleanliness and safety standards that her father spearheaded years ago remains a top priority.
Jaxson’s uses a proprietary formula, making their ice cream recipe irreplaceable and specialized. All sodas, ice cream toppings, coleslaw, pastrami, corned beef and soups are made on site, and breads are made by local bakeries.
Flavors to Please Everyone
The ice cream parlor has a dedicated team of ice cream makers who practice their craft 6 days a week. Thanks to their efforts, the ice cream is always at its peak freshness and flavor. With 50-plus flavors on hand, this guarantees something for everyone!
Jaxson’s candy shop offers nostalgic candies and retro toys from the 50s, 60s and 70s and all candy is freshly bagged on a daily basis. Old fashioned license plates from all over the country adorn the walls of Jaxson’s and add to the nostalgic feel of the restaurant.
Zakheim was among the first employers to implement the President’s $10.10 per hour minimum wage recommendation in February 2014. This earned her and her dad the honor of being named in two Presidential addresses and keys to the cities of Dania Beach and Hollywood.
Her philanthropy includes donations to numerous charitable organizations including funding reading rooms at area schools, Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor’s ER exam room which soothes hospitalized children at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Holtz Children’s Hospital located at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Additionally, Jaxson’S has provided free ice cream to many cities in Broward and Miami-Dade. Jaxson’s home town of Dania Beach recognized Monroe’s efforts to help the city over the years by changing the rules and naming a street after him while he was still alive.
A Famous Spot
Jaxson’s has been awarded many accolades and featured on TV Food Network, Good Morning America, Southern Living and numerous other national, local and even international media outlets. Celebritie love Jaxson’s too! The Rock and Adam Sandler are just two of the many celebrities that have made the time to try out Jaxson’s tasty treats.
2021 marks the parlor’s 65th year in business, Zakheim proudly shares. She differentiates Jaxson’s from chain ice cream restaurants by being able to react quickly to product changes to consumer trends. An important example of this ability to adapt is the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic witnessed at the spot.
The Impact of COVID-19
Zakheim insists on stringent face mask compliancy at the restaurant at all times. Attention to sanitation procedures insures the health and safety of the entire staff and all of their guests.
Plexiglass partitions were installed wherever required, paper menus are now disposed of after each use, and a QR code on every table directs customers to the Jaxson’s website to provide a touchless option. Perhaps most exiting is the expanded full-service outdoor dining area in the colorful tent which protects from the elements. Additional tables are available under the sun and stars.
Unfortunately, South Florida cruise travel has been halted due to COVID-19, and Zakheim shares that cruise passengers often stopped at Jaxson’s on the way to the airport. Overall business is down 30% due to the pandemic.
Zakheim feels that her flexibility and willingness to conform to everchanging guidelines and restrictions, as well as an efficient takeout window, have made Jaxson’s more impervious to the economic downturn. Looking ahead, Zakheim welcomes the thought of tourists returning in droves as life returns to normal in the near future.
What is the future of Jaxson’s Restaurant?
Jaxson’s is a go-to destination for first dates, wedding proposals, last day of school, birthdays, graduations, political/ celebrity sightings, and more. Since Jaxson’s has such a broad appeal, it is not uncommon to see multiple generations dine together at this landmark ice cream parlor. Many children grow up visiting grandparents, tagging a trip to Jaxson’s to the visit and hence making lifelong family memories there.
Zakheim dreams that Jaxson’s can “go national” and hopes that her children will build on her father’s legacy. While the Zakheim and her children work on building that legacy, Jaxson’s will continue to bring ice cream and memories for many in the years to come.