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Wilton Candy Kitchen

310 Cedar St., Wilton, IA - (563) 732-2278
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/22/2007 7:12:00 PM
A quick hop off Interstate 80 in eastern Iowa, the Wilton Candy Kitchen just may be the oldest soda fountain in the nation. The building in which it's located was built in 1856, and fiz-biz historians trace a candy shop on this spot as far back as the 1860s! Today’s Candy Kitchen dates back to 1910 when a young immigrant named Gus Nopoulos came to town and rented the place to make chocolates and sell soda and ice cream.

The old chocolate molds are now in storage upstairs, and the Egg Malted Milk is no longer on the menu as a morning special for those who didn't have time for breakfast, but the Napolous family continues to serve ice cream treats as it has for ninety years. Now run by Gus’s descendants, the Candy Kitchen is a trip back to a world of long-forgotten concoctions such as a pink lady (strawberry, cherry, and vanilla flavoring), an oddball (strawberry and vanilla), and a dipsy doodle (six different flavors). You can also get a hadacol (root beer and cola), the name of which George Nopoulos explained: “They ‘hada call’ it something.”

In this mixological wonderland, when you order a Coke or a cherry Coke, it is not poured not from a glass or bottle. It is mixed to order, using water carbonated on-premises and Coke syrup. Mr. Nopoulos lamented that Coke syrup, once a fountain staple in every American town, is getting hard to find. “We’ve got to go all the way to Cedar Rapids for it now,” he told us as he deftly constructed our triple-ice-cream, double-syrup, whipped-cream and nut-sprinkled, cherries-on-top banana splits.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
fudge sundae
Sundae
green river
Red River
black cow
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Made with George's homemade ice cream, the butterscotch sundae is perfect in its simplicity.
"Made with George's homemade ice cream, the butterscotch sundae is perfect in its simplicity."
Cliff Strutz





It would be a shame to visit Wilton and not take advantage of George's expert mixology skills.  On the left is a red river, with both cherry and strawberry syrup and on the right is a cinnamon coke.
"It would be a shame to visit Wilton and not take advantage of George's expert mixology skills. On the left is a red river, with both cherry and strawberry syrup and on the right is a cinnamon coke."
Cliff Strutz


Philip Roth recently took this photo of a sundae he enjoyed at the Wilton Candy Kitchen.
"Philip Roth recently took this photo of a sundae he enjoyed at the Wilton Candy Kitchen."
Michael Stern


Spending time chatting with charming owner George Nopoulos is as much a part of the experience at Wilton Candy Kitchen as is eating the first-rate ice cream.
"Spending time chatting with charming owner George Nopoulos is as much a part of the experience at Wilton Candy Kitchen as is eating the first-rate ice cream. "
Cliff Strutz



""George Nopoulos is still running it and slings a good banana split in between wise cracks." So wrote Philip Roth, who also took this photo of the Wilton Candy Kitchen boss."
Michael Stern


Now well over 100 years old, the Wilton Candy Kitchen's old-fashioned booths are a great place to savor soda fountain history. (Philip Roth photo)
"Now well over 100 years old, the Wilton Candy Kitchen's old-fashioned booths are a great place to savor soda fountain history. (Philip Roth photo)"
Michael Stern


These are the ice cream flavors available, all of which can be used in shakes and sundaes.
"These are the ice cream flavors available, all of which can be used in shakes and sundaes."
Cliff Strutz


Genuine Americana:  a small-town soda fountain where ice cream is king
"Genuine Americana: a small-town soda fountain where ice cream is king"
Michael Stern



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