phone 812-378-1900 Email


Press Release

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum re-opened on Saturday, June 6, 2009

Historic Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor to Re-Open June 6, 2009

COLUMBUS, IND. – The sodas will flow and the mechanical music will roll during the Grand Re-Opening Weekend at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum on Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, 2009. This national historic landmark will feature the best of the old, carefully restored, and many new areas to delight and inform.

The restoration began in 2007 has returned Zaharakos to its early 1900 elegance. The soda fountain icons featured in National Geographic, Time, and other publications now take center stage, beautifully framed by the restored tin ceiling and skylights and the refinished maple floor from the 1890s. The double backbar from 1911 is a spectacular 50 feet of mahogany cabinets with stained glass, marble pillars, mirrors and brass. The bar’s arched mirrors frame two Mexican onyx soda fountains from the 1904 World’s Fair. The front bar has a 40-foot counter of smooth marble and onyx that supports a delicate centerpiece: the Tiffany-style lamp of stained glass and marble from 1905. Each piece has been polished, refinished, and restored to provide a visual feast for the eyes.

Zaharakos has also returned musical delight to the menu with the restoration of its 1908 Welte orchestrion. This self-playing organ is designed to sound like an orchestra as it plays music from punched rolls of paper. When a roll is unwound by the orchestrion’s motor, the small, precisely placed holes in the paper direct airflow through different tubes to play 182 pipes of wood, tin and brass—plus several drums and a triangle. The sound is magnificent and the experience is unforgettable. Although this rare icon of Zaharakos was sold to a private collector in 2006, it was repurchased and has now been completely restored.

The Zaharakos that re-opens in June will have twice as much room as it did when it opened on October 20, 1900. Purchase of the building next door has created space for several new areas to delight and inform. The Whitman Room features the original 1900 doors and a private soda fountain for special events. The new museum will provide fascinating ways to look, listen and learn about the history of soda fountains and mechanical music.

For over 100 years, Zaharakos has been a destination to delight all of the senses. You will find previews of the careful restoration of this national historic landmark online at You will find the best view this June when the grand re-opening brings America the sweet sodas and sounds of one of its finest ice cream parlors. # # #

About Zaharakos

When three brothers from Greece opened Zaharakos as a candy store on October 20, 1900, they opened what has become one of the finest ice cream parlors in America. By 1911, guests could enjoy music from a Welte orchestrion and home-made ice cream and sodas from two soda fountains, a Tiffany-style lamp, and a spectacular 50-foot double backbar. The restoration began in 2007 has added a soda fountain and mechanical music museum. Zaharakos will re-open in June 2009, beautifully prepared for another 100 years of sodas, sundaes and smiles. Contact Anthony Moravec, Proprietor Zaharakos Phone: (812) 378-1900 Email:

Delight Your Senses with the World-Class Icons of Zaharakos

The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis inspired the Zaharako family to invest in the elegant icons that have made Zaharakos one of the finest ice cream parlors in America. These important and enduring symbols of the soda fountain era have been carefully restored to delight your senses as you linger over sweet and frothy treats at the spectacular backbar and listen to the beautiful, bold sounds of the Welte orchestrion. The quality of these icons is complemented by the iconic beauty of Columbus, Indiana. The small town where three brothers from Greece opened their store has been called the “Athens on the Prairie” for its world-class architecture (Saturday Evening Post, 1964) and a “jewel in the region” as a top historic destination in the world (National Geographic Traveler, 2008). When you visit America’s Athens on the Prairie, delight your senses with the world-class icons of Zaharakos.

A rare pair of Mexican onyx soda fountains (1905) held the fizz and flavors of sweet soda success.

The spectacular double backbar (1911) has 50 feet of mahogany, stained glass, mirrors and marble.

The elegance of the past shines on in the stained glass of the Tiffany-style lamp (1905).

The Welte orchestrion (1908) adds musical delight to the menu with 184 pipes of wood, tin and brass. Click the button below to listen to it play “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin—a fitting song for one of America’s finest ice cream parlors.

The Entertainer played on the Welte Orchestrion
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Zaharakos is an important part of living American history—a soda fountain and ice cream parlor from the early 1900s that was grand in its day and is now one of a kind. Help us share the good news about this historic landmark.

Pronunciation Guide

  • Zaharakos (Zuh-HARE-uh-koes)
  • Welte (WELL-tee)
  • Orchestrion (or-KESS-tree-un)
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