Food News

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor Founder Monroe Udell Dies at 86

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor's treats are bittersweet today. Monroe Udell, founder of the iconic Dania shop, has died at the age of 86.

A notice on the iconic sweet shop's Facebook page states:

It is with indescribable sadness and deepest regret that we inform everyone of the passing of our beloved founder, Monroe Udell, early Sunday morning. Jaxson's will be closed on Tuesday June 3rd so that the entire Jaxson's family can pay our respects.

We will open for business the following day as usual at 11:30 AM. Jaxson's will remain open during our regular business hours for many, many years to come.

See also: Jaxson's Ice Cream, Caffe Luna Rosa Up Minimum Wage: President Obama Pleased (Video)

Udell, who moved to South Florida in 1946 from Connecticut, opened Jaxson's in 1956, was ahead of his time. the ice cream parlor was one of the first businesses to provide air conditioning to its customers and, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Udell made his own dry ice to help harden his home-made wares.

Udell was also ahead of his time when it came to workers' equality. Back when segregation was still the norm in the South, Udell hired black employees in the 1950's. His fair treatment of his employees was acknowledged by President Barack Obama this past March during a speech at Central Connecticut State University.

While talking about companies committed to paying employees a fair wage, President Obama mentioned Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor along with the Gap and Costco, saying the restaurant is "an ice cream parlor that's been in business since 1956" and that the restaurant will "lift workers' wages to at least $10.10 without cutting back on hiring."

In September 2010, the city of Dania Beach honored Udell with the naming of Monroe Udell Street.

Jaxson's will be open regular hours for business today, Monday, June 2, stating on their Facebook page that, "Monroe would have wanted it that way."

The ice cream parlor will be closed on Tuesday, June 3 so employees can pay their respects at the funeral, which will be held at 11 a.m. at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El, 8200 Peters Road in Plantation.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, 1005 Joe DiMaggio Drive, Hollywood, FL 33021. Udell was a large supporter of the hospital.

Here's Mr. Udell talking about his ice cream on Check, Please!:

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss