Village Parlor Serves Ice Cream and Legacy in a Bygone Hamilton Pharmacy

Lebanon’s beloved Village Ice Cream Parlor debuts a sister location on Hamilton’s historic Main Street.
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Photograph by Nicole Browning

What started in 1969 as simply an ice cream shop soon became a popular lunch spot, a bustling tourist destination, and a cultural hub for the Lebanon community. Known for its classic double-dip sodas and homemade waffle cones, The Village Parlor just expanded its reach to Hamilton with the help of owners Aaron and Michelle Zwelling.

Photograph by Nicole Browning

The new location, opened January 8, doesn’t serve sandwiches, soups, or salads, like its Lebanon counterpart, but it maintains the same charming personality. The ball started rolling on opening a second location when the couple was approached by the City of Hamilton about two years ago, and soon after they began scouting sites in the area for the new shop.

As the Lebanon location is due to celebrate its 50th anniversary in July, the Hamilton Village Parlor begins its journey in a community focused on its own restoration.

“They have a really great vision for their city and the direction that they’re going in the process of revitalization of Hamilton,” Aaron says. “They really wanted a local, old school ice cream parlor in their community.”

Photograph by Nicole Browning

The “old school” ambiance of the Parlor isn’t purely aesthetics: The original ice cream shop holds a rich backstory in Lebanon. It started with a group of shareholders, whose investment made the Parlor a shared business among many in the community. The shop was later purchased in 1980 by Dave and Phyllis Hartsock, whose family operated it until 2014, when the Zwellings purchased it. The new owners promised the Hartstocks they would preserve its historic significance in the community.

The building housing their new location in Hamilton, formerly Hughes Pharmacy, has a unique history, as well, and was known in the community to double as an ice cream parlor in its past.

“One comment we hear on a regular basis is how much people love seeing the lights [on] in the building all over again,” Aaron says. “It’s been quiet and dormant there for so long, and to see it full of people on a day-to-day basis, it’s exciting.”

The Village Parlor, 304 Main St., Hamilton, (513) 499-3003, villageparlor.com

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