Meet George Nopoulos, the World’s Oldest Living Soda Jerk

Photo: John Schultz/Quad-City Times

Photo: John Schultz/Quad-City Times

Last week, in our exploration of food-world taboos, we brought up the notion that nostalgia can often trump taste, causing us to uphold dishes and restaurants that are actually pretty awful. For every questionable case, though, there is someone like 93-year-old soda jerk George Nopoulos, who reminds us that some classics are celebrated for good reason.

His day typically starts at 7 a.m., and when business is brisk, it could extend until around 5 p.m. He co-owns Wilton Candy Kitchen—an old-time candy shop in Wilton, Iowa—with his wife Thelma. Nopoulos has been around the soda and sundae business since he was six, when he helped out in the shop his father, a Greek immigrant, had opened in downtown Davenport. His first task was winding up a Victrola to play music for customers.

Nowadays, his specialties revolve around an antique soda fountain, which he uses to make drinks like chocolate soda thick enough to be eaten with a long spoon. When it comes to the idea of slowing down, “he scowls at the word ‘retirement’.”

[via Quad-City Times]

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