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Tuesday
Feb122013

United States of Ice Cream

United States of Ice Cream

Ice Cream. Who can resist its sweet, creamy siren call on a summer night? Or day? Or...if we're being honest here, any day, regardless of time of year? 

In my opinion, ice cream is a taste of pure happiness. And while that happiness is universal, precise preferences can be regional. Everyone has a favorite spot. For some, it's the ice cream shop in the town where they grew up; for others, it's the swanky scoop shop they discovered as a mature adult; for some, it was a chance encounter: love at first lick while on vacation or visiting relatives or the like.

But collectively, I believe that we can all share in this sweetness, and so I hit up basically everyone I knew and asked where they'd suggest getting a cone or a cup, a scoop or a sundae. And I dutifully logged every single response. Consider this the soft-serve of that labor: a highly informal guide to where to get ice cream in the US. Don't be disappointed if I missed a spot you'd suggest: instead, chime in. I'm happy to add suggestions that come in via email or as comments. Just please no nationwide chains (regional is fine). Also, while I am happy to mention regional brands, I am primarily looking for places with retail locations. 

Got it? Good. Let's go. It's a sweet trip. 

Ate it!

Alabama

Durbin Farms in Clanton (Lisa O., who says "peach ice cream and more!")

Sweet Advantages in Selma (Cindy Lou's Cupcakes, etc)

Honorary Mention (not actually ice cream): Steel City Pops (Minde M-B, who says "100 percent natural homemade gourmet and delicious")

Sundae to the rescue!

Alaska

Hot Licks, Fairbanks

Arizona

The Sugar Bowl, Scottsdale (Emily S., who says "Very historic and very delicious")

Sweet Republic, Scottsdale (Randi S., who says "has amazing flavors")

Arkansas

Loblobby Creamery, Little Rock (Deede M.)

Yarnell's (Mini Empire baker Christy; "But I heard rumors they were going out of business")

Ice cream in SF

California

Bi-Rite, San Francisco (many people, but the first to mention it was @

Dandy Don's (Like the self-confidence, !)

Dewar's Ice Cream & Fine Candies, Bakersfield (Donna L.)

Flavor Brigade, Oakland (@tartoakland)

Humphrey Slocombe, San Francisco ()

Ici, Berkeley (famed pastry chef Dana Cree says "best in the country!")

Kind Kreme (Ben C. says "makes some amazing vegan flavors")

Loard's (@tartoakland)

Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz (Erin Hunter)

Scoops (says Jesse LeDoux, who proclaims it "best in the world"!)

Sketch, Oakland (Mari Osuna)

Tucker's, Alameda (@tartoakland)

Colorado

Liks (Mary P.)

Little Man, Denver (Mary P.)

Sweet Action Ice Cream (@dnsvm and Church of Cupcakes)

Connecticut

Rich's Ice Cream, Oxford (Heather L.)

Salem Valley Farms

Shady Glen, Manchester, CT: Classic 50's throwback (Dan Sheehan)

Sweet Claude's, Cheshire (Blondie & Brownie)

UConn Dairy Bar, Storrs, CT: Fresh from University cows, made by scientists or something, very seasonal flavors. (Dan Sheehan)

Delaware

Delaware

Woodside Farm Creamery (Amie F.)

Florida

Jaxsons, for the "homemade ice cream and home of the kitchen sink." (Kim M-F)

Georgia

Leopold's, Savannah (Kim M.)

Morelli's, Atlanta (Candy W.)

Hawaii

Tasaka Guri Guri Shop in Kahului on Maui (Jennifer H.)

Photo: Vanessa V., on YelpIdaho

Rainey Creek Country Store, Swan Valley (Erin J., who informed me they sell SQUARE ice cream, pictured above)

Sub Zero Ice Cream, various locations in Idaho and beyond

Illinois

Black Dog Gelato, Chicago (famed pastry chef Dana Cree)

Margie's Candies, Chicago

Ollie's Frozen Custard, Sycamore (Emily B.)

Ruth and Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream, Chicago

Scooter's Frozen Custard, Chicago (Sarah K-M)

Indiana


Iowa

Whitey's (with locations in Iowa and Illinois, per Lindsey P.)

Kansas

Sylas & Maddy's, Lawrence (Courtney J.)

Kentucky

Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen, Louisville (Casey S-P)

Louisiana

Creole Creamery, New Orleans (Krystle S., who says "Bananas foster ice cream! Homemade Waffle cones! And it's right in the old McKenzie's bakery shop on Prytania. It's a must-stop.")

Eskamoe's Frozen Custard in both Monroe, West Monroe, and Ruston, LA ("is pretty awesome." - Christina R.)

Maine

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream Co. (Blondie & Brownie)

Red's Dairy Freeze, South Portland(Brittany, who says "They have amazing non traditional soft serve flavors.")

Round Top (Blondie & Brownie)

Maryland

The Dairy, University of Maryland, College Park (Says Brittany: "Allegedly has a higher fat content than allowed by law because it is only sold on campus.")

Takahara Bros, Baltimore (Jenny D.)

Massachusetts

Sweet fact: I was told by reader Mary Parker "Did you know they eat more ice cream in Boston, per capita, than anywhere else? Toscanini's, Rancatore's, and Christina's lead the bunch (though they are all technically Cambridge et al.)" .

Four Seas on Cape Cod ("is the greatest ice cream!" says )

Johnson's Drive In, Groton (Wendy M.)

Picco (Jen M.)

Polar Cave, Cape Cod

Rancatore's

Sully's (@)

Toscanini's, Cambridge (Jen M.)

Honorary Mention (in stores only): Batch (Jen M.)

Love cones

Michigan

Hudsonville (Pam P. and Kimberly CupcakeBoss)

Michigan State University Dairy Store (Laurie E.)

Ray's (Pam P.) 

Minnesota

Sebastian Joe's, Minneapolis (James Norton)

Mississippi

Mississippi Ice Cream Factory, Brookhaven

This little piggie had ice cream

Missouri:

Andy's Frozen Custard, Columbia (locations in TX, AR, and IL too, but the biggest concentration in MO) (@

Glacé in kansas city (@jonesingfor)

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (ReTrailer)

Mountain cone

Montana

Chocolate Moose, Bozeman (Lindsey H.)

The Big Dipper (Lindsey H. and Carrie S., who adds They also do " random acts of community" where they will just show up in random spots where they know there will be a crowd and serve ice cream for free for whoever wants it. They keep out a tip jar and choose a charity to donate all of the jar to. Awesome place.)

Nebraska

Goodrich dairy, Omaha (they have locations in the area, but mostly Nebraska) (Tracy Z.) 

Ted and Wally's

UNL Dairy Store

Ice cream in vegas

Nevada

Luv it Frozen Custard, Las Vegas (Julie B-H)

New Hampshire

Annabel's, Portsmouth (Blondie & Brownie)

Arnie's Place, Concord (Wendy M.)

The Back Room

Beech Hill Farm, Hopkinton (Jennifer V.)

Bishops Ice Cream, Littleton (Louise W.)

Granite State Candy Shoppe and Ice Cream (Wendy M.)

Sawyer's Dairy Bar (Wendy M.)

Ice Cream by the shore

New Jersey

Applegate Farm, Montclair (Cait)

The Bent Spoon (Elizabeth S.)

Denville Dairy, Denville (@)

Halo Farms, Trenton (Kathleen L)

Hoffman's

Kohr's

Ryan's, Shrewsbury (Terri W.)

Van Dyke's, Ridgewood (Regina J.)

Zita's Ice Cream, New Providence (Jennifer N.)

New Mexico:

Taos Cow, Taos

NYC ice cream

New York

Abbott's Frozen Custard (Courtney N.)

Ample Hills, Brooklyn (David V.)

Anderson's Frozen Custard, Buffalo (Kara A.)

Gifford's Ice Cream (Nancy A.)

Herrell's, Huntington (Danielle J.)

Itgens in Valley stream (Linda K-S, who says "written up everywhere")

Ji and Jo, NYC (Beccy R.)

Lake Effect Ice Cream

Martha's Dandee Creme, Queensbury (Josh of Bluebird Microcreamery)

Max & Mina's, Queens (Kelly Mola)

Van Leeuwen, Brooklyn (Mariah E.)

Victory Garden (J. Benjamin)

North Carolina

Mapleview Dairy Farm ("hands down" says  and @BLDGbloc agrees)

 

This little piggie had ice cream

North Dakota

Pride Dairy

Ohio

Graeter's (Diane Kappa and Elizabeth Gordon)

Aglamesis Brothers; Dojo Gelato; & Madisono's Gelato & Sorbet.

East Coast Original Frozen Custard!! A classic from the days of Euclid Beach Amusement Park! (Kelly F.)

Handel's (Sara D-P)

Honey Hut Ice Cream, Cleveland (Stephanie Z.)

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

Mitchell's (Diane Ketler)

Sweet Moses, Cleveland

Ice cream in oklahoma

Oklahoma:

Braum's, various locations

Freckles Frozen Custard, Tulsa (Becca S., who says "the golden driller in particular --- it has an 'oil' pool of hut fudge in it!")

The Custard Factory (formerly Rusty's), Norman (Ashley B.)

Portland ice cream

Oregon:

K R Drive Inn (Lisa O.)

Ruby Jewel (@lizaface)

Salt & Straw (@sockittomesocks)

Tillamook (Java Cupcake)

Regional Brand to try: Umpqua Dairy Ice cream - Roseburg, Oregon

Love cone

Pennsylvania

Bassetts, Philadelphia

Dave and Andy's, Pittsburgh (Joe)

Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, New Hope

Landhope Dairy in Kennett Square, PA (Jill Lightner)

oWowCow, 2 locations (Audrey O.)

Rakestraw's, Mechanicsburg (Stacy M., who says "you *have* to try the Teaberry!")

Tanner Bros. Dairy in Ivyland Pa (Kathleen L.)

Rhode Island

Ice Cream Machine in Cumberland, RI (Kim S.)

The Original Vanilla Bean, Matunuck, RI: crazy, fun, delicious flavors. (Dan Sheehan)

Gray's Ice Cream, Tiverton, RI: fancy flavors (Dan Sheehan)

South Carolina

Kilwin's Chocolate and Ice Cream, Charleston

South Dakota

Dairy Bar at SDSU at Brookings ( says "amazing ice cream & they also invented cookies and cream ice cream." - read more here)

Tennessee cone

Tennessee

Mayfield Dairy (Carol H.)

Sheridan's Frozen Custard (Erin)

Texas:

Longhorn with ice cream

Note: "Texas is Blue Bell Country," says Anna Ginsberg, author of The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life

Amy's Ice Creams (@charmingred)

Utah

Utah State University. (Erin J., who says "Rich, creamy, thick ice cream. Aggies all the way!")

Vermont

Burlington Bay Cafe (Gina H., who says "Maple Creemees!")

Mountain Creamery, Woodstock

Virginia

Bev's Homemade Ice Cream, Richmond 

Dairy Godmother, Alexandria

Seattle ice cream

Washington

Bluebird Microcreamery (did you know I did a mural in their bathroom?)

Cupcake Royale (Sara Jane Elisabeth)

Elevated Ice Cream, Port Townsend ()

Ferdinand's, Washington State University (Jama W.)

Full Tilt Ice Cream (Jill Lightner )

Mallard Ice Cream, Bellingham

Molly Moon's, Seattle (multiple people, but the first was @vanadiumzest!)

Olympic Mountain, Shelton (Linda W.)

West Virginia

Brake's Dairy King in Buckhannon (Beth J.)

Wisconsin

Babcock Hall (James Norton, who notes "although frozen custard is the real cult favorite in the Dairy State (a big vote for Michael's)". Don't worry James, I have included custard, too!) 

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream (@epistemophilia) of note: Signage outside says, "You want nutrition, eat carrots."

Kopp's

Michael's (James Norton)

Purple Door Ice Cream, Milwaukee (MKE Cupcake Queen)

Wyoming

Farson Mercantile

Moo's Gourmet Ice Cream, Jackson Hole

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References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
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    Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life - CakeSpy - United States of Ice Cream
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    Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life - CakeSpy - United States of Ice Cream
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    Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life - CakeSpy - United States of Ice Cream

Reader Comments (10)

oWowCow in Ottsville and Wrightstown, Pa

The Dairy Godmother in Del Ray, Alexandria, Va

These are two places not to be missed!
February 12 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey O.
You gotta add Sheridan's Frozen Custard to Tennessee! So stinking good. P.S. I totally sang the alphabetical states song I learned as a kid while reading this
In Arkansas, the long-time ice cream company Yarnell's did go into bankruptcy, but was bought by another company and resumed production about 11 months ago. Here's a link to thoughts on its return: http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/32359/sweet-somethings-editorial.

A Little Rock ice cream storefront shop that's developed quite a following is Loblolly Creamery: http://www.arktimes.com/EatArkansas/archives/2012/12/21/loblolly-creamery-pint-o-pocalypse-brings-a-delicious-end-to-the-world.

I live closer to Memphis than Little Rock, so I couldn't really tell you; perhaps there's another reader who might have more information and could help!
February 12 | Unregistered Commenterdeede
You've got a pretty good NH list there, but I can't believe The Back Room (Puritan) wasn't mentioned. http://puritanbackroom.com/ice-cream
February 12 | Unregistered Commenterkatie M
Dave & Andy's in Pittsburgh, PA s a classic.
February 12 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I'm happy to see Halo Farms on the list for New Jersey, but I was a little surprised to see that The Bent Spoon wasn't on the list. They have some pretty unique flavors, and their offerings frequently change! http://www.thebentspoon.net/
February 12 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth T
If you ever get to Cape Cod, MA - Come in and give us a try!
February 12 | Unregistered CommenterMark Lawrence
I've updated the post to add all of your suggestions. Thank you!
February 13 | Registered CommenterCakespy
Sweet Cow in Louisville, CO! They're also apparently opening a second location in Denver! Cereal flavored ice cream is common (maple grape nut is a dream!) and they have amazing homemade fudge!
February 14 | Unregistered CommenterJess B
I wish I had some good suggestions for Indiana, but I do have two good ones for Ohio: Youngs Jersey Dairy (http://youngsdairy.com) in Yellow Springs and Country Maid Ice Cream in Richland (www.countrymaidicecream.com)
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgiann

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