Where to Find the Best Ice Cream Across the U.S.
Whether it's a Good Humor bar or $10 sundae, Americans love ice cream — and fantastic parlors are creating brilliant flavors with ultracreamy textures to entice us. Here, we present the top artisanal, exotic and nostalgic frozen desserts across the country.
Seattle: Molly Moon Ice Cream
Santa Monica: Sweet Rose Creamery
Santa Barbara: McConnell's
Seattle: Lick Pure Cream
Portland, OR: Salt & Straw
Bainbridge Island, WA: Mora Iced Creamery
San Rafael, CA: Three Twins Organic Ice Cream
Owner and former Peace Corps volunteer Neal Gottlieb puts a big emphasis on sustainability: The ingredients for his ice cream are local; all bowls, spoons and napkins are compostable; and the shop's emissions are offset with renewable energy certificates.
Sebastopol, CA: Screamin' Mimi's
Must have: English Toffee ice cream and a handmade waffle cone
“The ice cream has great flavor and mouthfeel, and a large flavor selection that changes with the season. It always reminds me of childhood trips to the ice cream shop,” says 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef Devin McDavid, of San Francisco’s Quince restaurant.
Portland, OR: Cool Moon Ice Cream
Honolulu: Bubbie's Ice Cream
San Francisco: Bi-Rite Creamery
Must have: Salted Caramel or Black Sesame with Sonoma Honey
Almost everything at this excellent ice cream shop is made from scratch, including the marshmallows for the Rocky Road. Marin County's Straus Family Creamery, the first certified-organic dairy in the West, supplies all of the milk and cream for Bi-Rite's ice creams.
Houston: Fat Cat Creamery
Austin: Amy's Ice Cream
Phoenix, AZ: Churn
Austin: Lick Honest Ice Creams
Must have: Dewberry Corn Cobbler
Everything from the sauces to the marshmallow is made in house.
Berkeley, CA: Ici Ice Cream
Must have: Buckeye Chocolate Chip
Graeter's ice cream, made just two gallons at a time, is slowly swirled and folded into itself in a French Pot so no air gets whipped in. The technique makes for an extra-dense and creamy ice cream—each pint weighs almost a pound. This state icon also ships its rich, custard-style ice cream.
Denver: Sweet Action Ice Cream
Kansas City, MO: Glacé Artisan Ice Cream
Columbus, OH: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Minneapolis, MN: Pumphouse Creamery
Minneapolis: Izzy's Ice Cream
Must have: The Signature "Izzy Scoop"
“It’s a tiny top hat-like scoop of ice cream that you can order on top of any cone, giving you the joy of two flavors in a much more manageable format than a classic double scoop,” says 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef Stella Parks, of Table Three Ten in Lexington, Kentucky. “Plus, it looks adorably jaunty.”
Missoula, MT: Big Dipper Ice Cream
Traverse City, MI: Moomers Homemade Ice Cream
Must have: Black Cherry ice cream
The hands-down favorite of locals. This family-run parlor is on a dairy farm--the deck offers views of grazing cows.
Greenfield, WI: Kopp's Frozen Custard
Chicago: Margie's Candies
Must have: Banana Split
“I rather enjoy a butterscotch sundae with vanilla ice cream but they have much more than that,” says Bryce Caron, a 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef. “The sandwiches are delicious. Margie’s is the kind of place you visit to forget the fact that you live in a major urban environment. Just grab a club sandwich and a banana split and call it a day.”
Scottsdale, AZ: Sweet Republic
St. Louis, MO: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Bar Harbor, ME: Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
Brooklyn: Blue Marble
Washington DC: Ice Cream Jubilee
Must have: Chocolate Matzo Crack
Victoria Lai, a former member of the Department of Homeland Security, gets creative with milk and cream from nearby South Mountain Creamery.
Syracuse, NY: Gannon's
Must have: Marti's Marshmallow
This Syracuse parlor uses ingredients from central New York in its 30-plus daily options.