Dixieland - dinner and dessert - October 28, 1998

Having just been to the Farrell's in San Diego this past Saturday, I decided to stop by Rosemead to try out the restaurant/ice cream parlour that used to be Farrell's there.

It's called Dixieland - Ice Cream, Food and Fun.  And while it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and mostly quacks like a duck, it won't answer if you try to call it a duck.  In so many ways, it's still a Farrell's.

The food menu consists of salads (taco, chef, tuna and chicken), sandwiches (philly cheesesteak, reuben, club, ham and swiss, fish, turkey, chicken, tuna-bacon melt, grilled cheese with bacon, cold roast beef and hot french dip), chili and fries, soup, chili, fries, hamburgers, rotisserie chicken, chicken strips with fries, fish and chips, fried shrimp, hot dogs and fried vegetables.  On the drink side, they do advertise a Big Swig on their menu where you get to keep the glass, but I didn't actually ask about it.  The Farrell's in San Diego had it on their menu as well, but when my SO ordered it, he was told they didn't have any more because the Coca Cola company stopped making them.

The sweets menu consists of single scoop sundaes, double dip delights, triple taste treats, super six scoop sundaes (including a Pig's Trough - but no mention of getting a medal if you finish it by yourself), cake and ice cream, shakes, ice cream floats, a tropical fruit sundae, and humongous sundaes (consisting of Pike's Peak, Dixieland's Zoo and Hot Fudge Volcano).  Sound familiar?  Even the menu looked like the menu as I remembered it - the only difference was that instead of "Farrell's" on the front, it said "Dixieland".  The menu at the Farrell's in San Diego was very much different, mostly printed on take-out style paper with an extra added booklet on the table of other available items.

I had the philly cheesesteak, which was ok but nothing to write home about, though the fries were great.  They were the thick-cut fries, the kind I love and wish Disneyland served.  I also had the Banana Royale, which is what I had at Farrell's as well, and the one at Dixieland tasted and looked liked the one at Farrell's, though I suppose it's not surprising that they used the exact same dish to put the ice cream in - I would imagine that all ice cream parlours use the same kind of stuff.

When I paid the bill, I noticed that they'd charged me half-price for my sandwich, which I didn't understand until after I had left and saw the banner outside that proclaimed food items were 50% off in celebration of their 10th anniversary.

There is still the candy section to the right of the entrance when you first come through the doors.  Beyond that, there's also a little video game room.  Before this past Saturday, it's been more than 10 years since I was last at a Farrell's, so I don't remember what the color scheme was before.  No piano roller - they had one of those CD jukeboxes.

The major difference between Dixieland and Farrell's?  The atmosphere.  When I walked in, there were three other tables occupied.  Halfway through my meal, two of the parties left, leaving a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) and me.  Towards the end of my meal, one of the two waiters took the little girl up to the front of the restaurant where there was a red "royalty" chair and sat her down, dimmed the lights, turned on these lights that swirled different colored dots of light around her and announced that it was her birthday, mentioning that the five people in the restaurant at that point (which I laughed at) should sing to her.  As we sang, the other waiter beat on the drum.  It was very weird to participate in this after having participated in the same thing at Farrell's several days ago - only then, it was a packed house and people were loud.  It was very weird to sit in this place that I'd been to many a time, once even to chat with a friend and finding it difficult to hear each other because it had been so loud in there, that was now quieter than any restaurant I'd been to in a long time. Granted, it was a Tuesday night rather than a weekend night, and as I was leaving, another party of three were entering the restaurant, but I wondered how they'd managed to stay in business for 10 years if this was the kind of customer turnout they got.

And, funny thing is, the waiter never once asked me why I was sitting at my table scribbling on pieces of napkin paper.

I'd heard that Marriott had bought most of the Farrell's chain and changed the name.  Does anyone know if Dixieland is part of that chain, if that's the name they gave it?  I thought about asking the waiter, but he didn't look like he knew.  And, he was so busy talking to the other waiter that I had to get his attention to come pick up the check and bring me my change.

For anyone who's interested, Dixieland is located at 3939 North Rosemead Blvd. in Rosemead, CA  91770.  Phone number is 626-288-1342.  Sorry, I forgot to check on their operating hours.


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