a resource of information on the origin & future of Richmond Hill, NY USA



Jahn's Map LocationAbout Jahn's Restaurant

If there was but only one place that people could associate Richmond Hill with, chances are they would name Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor. They almost seem synonomous!

Jahn's ice cream parlor had continuously operated in Richmond Hill since the 1930's up until the year 2008. It was one of Richmond Hill's favorite restaurant spots for dinner and ice cream. Many of the original items from that era of the early 1900's were still on display in Jahn's such as the working nickelodeon piano. It was a real historical treat for the eyes as well as the stomach!

Jahn's was located at 117-03 Hillside Avenue, Richmond Hill, NY 11418.

  • How many Birthdays did you celebrate at Jahn's so you could receive a Free Sundae Ice Cream?
  • What better way was there to have a date then by going to Jahn's after a movie at RKO Keith's?
  • Who could forget the "Kitchen Sink" or Screwball's Delight?
  • Did you carve your initials, or your name and sweetheart's name in the old wood along with the other thousands of other names?
  • Can you still hear the old-time sounds of the nickelodeon playing?

It is a sad passing to know there is no longer a Jahn's in Richmond Hill but due to the longevity of this Ice Cream Parlor with its unique interior of times gone-by, memories will remain strong for those who frequented this local establishment.

Thanks to Nancy Cataldi, President of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, for the following research and article that first appeared in our Winter 2006 Newsletter.


Jahn's Menu CoverThe year was 1888 and it was snowing. Arriving on a sailing ship at the age of 14, John Jahn steps off into New York City Port. He was a real greenhorn with nothing but ambition.

He worked for five years in a bakery at ten dollars a month plus room and board. He did not like the heat so much, so he went to Brooklyn a got a job as an ice cream maker in a store there. They started calling him Papa.

He meet his wife-to-be at Weber's Dancing School. They fell in love at first sight and married. Papa opened his first store in the Bronx at 138th Street and Alexander Avenue in 1897. He had three children, Elsie, Frank and Howard. In 1918 he let them take charge for five years while he vacationed and enjoyed himself. Later in life, he opened three more Jahn's; one for Elsie in Jamaica, one for Frank in Richmond Hill, and one for Howard in Flushing.

According to photographs, The Richmond Hill Jahn's opened much later than the RKO Keith's Albee Theater. The theater was up and running in 1929 and Jahn's was not there yet, so we assume this Richmond Hill location happened in the early 1930's. The soda fountain inside though, is a beauty and was made in 1894. The one behind the counter was called a Puffer and was from 1888.

The fixtures were made in the "Gay Nineties" style, with the old nickelodeon (now a quarter) in the back room, stained glass coca cola light fixtures, and of course the wood booths and woodwork throughout the ice cream parlor. How many of you have left your initials carved in some part of Jahn's?

The Kitchen Sink was complied of a sundae suitable for a group of 6 or more and had many flavors and toppings. There was the 1950's Super Duper for two... served in a saucepan with 14 flavors of ice-cream, lashed with ribbons of whipped cream and further enlivened with nuts, syrup and a heavy dose of chocolate sprinkles. It cost a dollar at the time! Some of the coolest names were: the Boilermaker, the Awful Awful, the Suicide Frappe', Screwball's Delight, the Joe Sent Me and the (#”&’$?/) Special.

Jahn's TeenyboppersTeenagers swamped Jahn's in the 1950's, it was the place to be, and the lines formed down the street. A favorite date was the Keith's for a movie and Jahn's for ice cream.

Well, much time has passed and wonderful memories were made in that spot, and it still is there, although a bit different and the ice cream is not homemade anymore. But parties are still held in the back room, and all our names are still etched in the woodwork. Let's hope that this place full of youthful memories remains with us.

Sadly, Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor ceased operating in Richmond Hill, NY in 2008.


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