We're on a streak of sunshine and warm temps, and the Flyers might actually win a game before it snows again. Spring is in the air, and the best way to celebrate is a trip to Franklin Fountain. If you've not been to this old-school soda saloon and ice cream shoppe, crawl out from under that rock, and get to Old City ASAP. This root beer apothecary will Doc Brown you back to the summer of ’69—1869, that is—with its penny tiles, pressed tin ceilings, marble counter, penny candy like clove- and violet-flavored gum, and propeller fans on a pulley that resemble something from Edison's atelier. The soda jerks don’t sing Grease Lightning and barely crack smiles as they’re scooping sundaes and pumping the seltzer knobs. These folks are serious about jerkin’. Or maybe they’re just mad ‘cause they think everyone’s snickering about their neat white outfits and pointed caps? Whatever their deal, the jerks turn out bodacious beverages and yummy treats. Some are nostalgic like classic root beer floats and frothy New York egg creams. Others are inventive elixirs. We’re sure phosphates have origins back in the day, but these fizzy libations spiked with tangy phosphoric acid are totally new to us. We thought The Ring was a Japanese Thirst Killer, but at Frankie’s, it’s a chemist’s blend of grape juice, almond syrup, Angostura bitters, soda water, and a few pearls of phosphoric acid coaxed from an eyedropper. The violet tonic bubbles in your mouth like Pop Rocks, and leaves a lip-puckering tingle in your cheeks. Can't wait to try the orange- and rose-flavored Egyptienne, featuring a rising golden egg in homage to the sun god Re. Johnny Rockets this place ain’t.
Photo: Franklin Fountain