The Merlino's Orange Freeze is a unique Sacramento brand of frozen treat, started in 1946 by Bauldie Merlino and his wife, Mary. In 2000, the Merlinos filed bankruptcy and sold their business. The brand name is now owned by Joe Martinez and Javier Ramos, who sell the treat at their Mr. Pickles sandwich shops.
The Freeze is made of (or at least started out as): "freshly squeezed orange juice, plain tap water and a spoonful of sugar" . The treat now comes in different flavors, including strawberry.
The Merlinos' opened their first shop at Third Avenue and Stockton Boulevard, near where the California State Fair used to be. Their frozen concoction became a Sacramento institution, attracting the likes of former governors Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown to stand in line on hot summer days.
The business was forced into liquidation after accumulating $1.3 million in debt, which included the construction costs of a 160,000-square-foot factory.