We found heaven in Ehrler’s banana split. | Photo by Sara Havens

Founded in 1867, Ehrler’s Ice Cream has been a Louisville staple for generations. In the ’70s, the dairy company had more than 20 stores located throughout the city and sold everything from milk and butter to eggs and juice. But it was the ice cream that people craved the most.

Now under new ownership but using the same recipes as the original founders, Ehrler’s is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in 15 years. The small, quaint space sits at 201 E. Main St., on the corner of Main and Brook. The official grand opening celebration will take place Saturday, May 19, starting at 11 a.m.

Insider stopped by on Friday to talk with co-owner Melanie Hill, who runs the business with her husband, Brad, and the couple’s friends, Chris and Taylor Kersey.

Melanie Hill is one of four owners. | Photo by Sara Havens

She explained that her husband and his buddy Chris, who grew up together and attended both Seneca High School and University of Kentucky together, have always wanted to own a business together.

And when Ehrler’s came up for sale, they knew it was the perfect venture because of its longstanding roots in the community.

For the past decade or so, Ehrler’s has only been sold at the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center, and early on at the Louisville Slugger Field. When the Hills and Kerseys bought the business three years ago, they created a food truck and started partnering with local restaurants, like Derby City Pizza, to feature the ice cream.

But in March, the space on Main Street came open, and they knew it was their chance to set up a permanent location. They rent the space from the nonprofit Global Game Changers, which has offices above the shop.

In fact, Ehrler’s has been partnered with Global Game Changers for a while, and a percent of all their sales goes to the organization that provides after-school programs for local children.

Hill says their shop is more traditional, and will feature most of the same menu from the Ehrler’s of the past, including a banana split, shakes, sundaes and fountain sodas.

Ehrler’s has five core flavors — vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan and cookies ‘n’ cream — but for the store, they’ve added cookie dough chip, mint chocolate chip, bourbon pecan fudge and orange sherbet. There will also be seasonal flavors, and the newest one is chocolate almond.

The space feels open and bright. | Photo by Sara Havens

Hill added one additional sundae – the bourbon sundae made with the bourbon pecan fudge, a housemade brownie and bourbon caramel. She also will bake cookies and brownies from scratch every day, and soon they will serve coffee from Red Hot Roasters. She’s hoping people in the nearby office buildings, like Humana, will stop by for a cup of coffee and a cookie — or just go all in with a scoop of ice cream.

“Ehrler’s is such a piece of Louisville history,” says Hill. “It’s exciting to bring it back to life with an actual store where people can come in and enjoy our ice cream.”

The grand opening celebration will be held on Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be festivities like face painting, and patrons will have a chance to win free ice cream for a year. Ehrler’s is located at 201 E. Main St.

Here’s a few more photos from our visit:

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."