First Link in the Chain: Baskin-Robbins


The world's oldest Baskin-Robbins at 561 South Lake Avenue in Pasadena.

I lived for several years in Pasadena just a stone’s throw from a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop on Lake Avenue. I stopped in many times over the years for a couple of scoops of pralines and cream, which is one of the reasons why today I am carving an hour out of my morning to ride a stationary bike at the gym while I write this.

I was surprised to learn recently that my old neighborhood ice cream store at 561 South Lake Avenue is not just another of the 5500 franchises worldwide, but is in fact the oldest operating Baskin-Robbins in the world.

The Baskin-Robbins story goes back to the end of World War II when two brothers-in-law, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, each opened an ice cream parlor – Irv’s at 1130 South Adams in Glendale, and Burt’s Lake Avenue store in Pasadena. Within a short time the two men partnered together and started franchising their ice cream stores. The “31 Flavors” motto came soon after which gave customers a different flavor for each day of the month.

The site of Irv Robbins' first ice cream shop at 1130 South Adams in Glendale.

The two men earned many fortunes over the years, and sold the company shortly before Baskin’s death in 1967. Co-founder Irv Robbins passed away in 2008 at the age of 90. Today, Baskin-Robbins is owned by Dunkin’ Brands of Canton, Massachusetts.

Ironically, Irv’s son John is not just another mint chocolate chip off the old block, as he is now a famous dietician who campaigns against the use of dairy products!

Burt Baskin died in 1967. Perhaps from drinking too many of his 2300-calorie Heath Bar Shakes?

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About deadwrite

Freelance writer, film historian, taphophile View all posts by deadwrite

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