A chain of ice cream parlors. They spotlight 31 different flavors every month, including Jamocha Almond Fudge, Pralines and Cream, Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and many others. They also make ice cream cakes and sell ice cream clowns. They used to have real style, with a predominantly pink decor, funky desks to sit at, and black and white landscape photography wallpaper. They don't have much decor anymore. They don't seem very popular either. Too bad.

Update: In 2000, B-R closed all of their small- and medium-market stores. That means that Baskin-Robbins ice cream is no longer available outside of large cities. Is it really any loss? In recent years, you could buy a gallon of ice cream at the grocery store for what they'd charge for a scoop of ice cream for everyone in your family. That's just too damn greedy. Hell, after the former B-R franchise stores in Texas got together and formed their own franchise called KaleidoScoops, Baskin-Robbins made noises about suing them. Apparently, they wanted everyone who used to sell their ice cream to go out of business. Good riddance to Baskin-Robbins, sez I.
At least in New Jersey, most Baskin-Robbins franchises are now paired with Dunkin' Donuts stores. They have separate counters but share the seating. I'm not sure how this fits in to the above information, but I guess it has something to do with it. Perhaps the local franchisees here did something.

Another interesting fact: John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, is an heir of the family who created Baskin-Robbins, but has sworn off all animal products and now speaks out on the vegan lifestyle and against animal cruelty.

Baskin Robbins still enjoys considerable popularity in Japan. There are branches all over Japan, fifty-two in Tokyo alone. I've had the pleasure of visiting the Shibuya and Ikebukuro shops in Tokyo and the Himeji and Wadayama branches in Hyogo-ken. Most of the stores are tiny, with hardly enough room in front of the counter for you to turn sideways. Ah the wonders of exorbitant rents in Japan.

A few of the familiar US flavors are there such as Jamoca and Mint Chocolate Chip, but there are also some new ones: Musk Melon, Adzuki, Turkish Delight, Strawberry Shortcake, and Matcha.

Sadly lacking are flavors involving peanut butter or anything low-fat or sugar-free.

However, this is almost made up for by the fact that some Japanese Baskin Robbins offer dessert crepes on the menu. Take a large crepe, fill it with ice cream, whipped cream, custard, fruit, and sometimes small slices of cheesecake. YUM.

One fun fact about the Japanese Baskin Robbins is that you can buy packs of dry ice to pack your ice cream in to take it home or to a picnic. Maybe things have changed at US Baskin Robbins chains since I last visited one, but as far as I remember dry ice wasn't nearly as freely available. Perhaps, say, to disuade devious high school students from using it for nefarious purposes.

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