Founder, Father, and Mentor
Born in Connecticut in 1928, the future King of Ice Cream in South Florida first cut his teeth in the restaurant business as a young man helping out in his father’s diner. One major challenge in those times was the procurement of a sufficient amount of product for the restaurant under the limitations of rationing. Thanks in part to this, Monroe learned quickly how to survive in business despite hardship. Soon after the War the Udell family moved to Hollywood, Florida.
At age 28 Monroe decided to strike out on his own. Having seen the storm of 1947 push the ocean up to Federal Highway, Monroe settled on his present location just North of Stirling Road on Federal Highway. The name “Jaxson’s” was decided upon because it sounded Southern and it was Monroe’s intent to fit in despite the fact that those of Jewish descent, as Monroe was, were routinely discriminated against in a town that had an active Ku Klux Klan chapter. Try as he might to fit in, his conscience continually forced him to do the right thing. As a result, Monroe managed to generate excitement by routinely ignoring the Jim Crow laws that imposed racial segregation in both hiring and service. It wasn’t until the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Monroe was officially off the hook.
In loving memory
02/24/1928 – 06/01/2014
Jaxson's Ice Cream Makes its Home In Dania Beach
The Grand Opening
The 1950's were marked by Monroe Udell's determination to produce and serve the finest food and ice cream anywhere. Busy tourist seasons were followed by summers featuring entertaining activities like counting the number of cars passing by on Federal Highway. In 1956, on opening day, Jaxson's occupied half of the space it now fills. An open kitchen, gracefully curving formica counters and a rare curiosity-—ice cream made daily on the premises—drew the hungry and the curious.
Jaxson's Gains Popularity
Wonderful food and ice cream!
The 1960's, a time of cultural upheaval in the United States, saw major change at Jaxson's as well. As Dania Jai Alai grew in popularity, a typical weekend for many South Floridians included a stop at Jaxson's for ice cream after betting on a few games. Thanks to Monroe's unwavering attention to detail, Jaxson's continued to do well and the restaurant's reputation for excellent food and the best ice cream in South Florida continued to grow.
Making Space for the Future
A Time for Growth
The 1970's was a time for growth at Jaxson's. Monroe expanded into the area that is now the back dining room. A more rustic decor was installed along with the beginnings of the immense license plate and antique collections seen to this day. Increased freezer space allowed for the introduction of dozens of new flavors, all still produced by Monroe's faithful pair of batch freezer machines originally built in the 1940's. South Florida continued to gain popularity as a winter getaway while word spread about the funky little place in Dania with the best ice cream.
Jaxson's Continues to Flourish
A Silver Celebration
Jaxson's celebrated its silver anniversary year in 1982. This important milestone was reached the same year that EPCOT opened to great fanfare. Despite the publicity blitz to the north, Jaxson's flourished. Monroe's diligent efforts to maintain the highest standards kept people coming back. Even the take-out window was busy, especially during the summer months when bicyclists and beach goers stopped by on their bicycles for a scoop of their favorite ice cream flavors.
Always Homemade, the Old-Fashioned Way
From 1990 to the new millennium Monroe worked tirelessly to ensure that Jaxson's remained synonymous with excellence in food and ice cream. There were no concerns about Y2K because at Jaxson's, ice cream has always been made the old-fashioned way (just the same as it was when the restaurant first opened!). Jaxson's continued to delight guests by starting with the highest quality ingredients and low overrun machinery to make the finest ice cream in town.
Locally Loved, Nationally Recognized
A New Millenium
Jaxson’s fans continued to pour in from all over the world, seeking one of the best ice cream parlors in the country. Meanwhile, Monroe was recognized by President Barack Obama in his Radio Address for voluntarily raising his employees' minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. In 2006, for Jaxson’s 50th anniversary, the restaurant helped raise more than $30,000 for Joe DiMaggio Children's' Hospital in Hollywood, benefitting its pediatric emergency Treatment Room.In 2010. And in 2010, Monroe was honored by the city of Dania Beach by having a street named after him.
Florida's Favorite Ice Cream Parlor
A Family Legacy Continues
On June 1, 2014, Monroe Udell passed away. His daughter, Linda Zakheim Udell took ownership of the family business and has continued running Jaxson's just as he would. Monroe's original mission was to produce the finest food and ice cream possible, and he remained true to that mission every day. Today, Jaxson's is Zagat Rated and has been featured on CNN, the Food Network, ABC's Good Morning America, Univision, WLRN Channel 17, WPLG Channel 10, WSVN Channel 7, WTVJ Channel 6 and WFOR Channel 4. Publications such as Bon Appetit, Southern Living and the local press are also fans of Jaxson's.