Summer is here and that means ice cream! You can always get a pint or two at the store, but going to an ice cream shop is an experience kids and adults alike should enjoy when they can. What are some of the best ice cream shops in the country? From the classic to the kooky, these are the shops and flavors to check out:
With lines out the door, this ice cream shop in San Francisco, California, has been in business since 2006, but they’re part of the Bi-Rite businesses, which have been operating since 1940. Bi-Rite Creamery is the first ice cream shop in the city to use dairy from the Straus Family Creamery, the first certified organic dairy this side of the Mississippi. On their website, Bi-Rite says they like to keep their flavors simple with no more than 5 ingredients. Flavors change seasonally and have included licks like cream cheese carrot cake, balsamic strawberry, and roasted banana.
Ice Cream Jubilee
Found in Washington D.C. and run by Chinese-Texan Victoria Lai, this shop combines ice cream and booze in delicious ways. Flavors include banana bourbon caramel and espresso colada. For those who want something less buzzy but equally unique, Lai also makes thai iced tea ice cream and sorbets like kiwi lemongrass. Ice Cream Jubilee uses all-natural dairy from a local creamery and makes their ice cream in small batches.
Once an ice cream cart in New York, this store now has a brick-and-mortar location and ships nationwide. The owner, Nicholas Morgenstern, has an impressive pastry resume and decided to throw himself into making the best ice cream he could in 2014. He’s mastered classic flavors, but adds unique twists. At Morgenstern’s, you can get five variations of vanilla, including burnt honey, Madagascar vanilla, and rose vanilla. There are some not-so-classic flavors on the menu, too, like banana curry, black coconut ash, and green-tea pistachio.
Located in Dairy Country itself, this Wisconsin-based ice cream uses their own dairy farm just a half-mile away. There’s even a section on their website about their 450 traditional and 250 organic cows, so you can learn what they eat. Open 7 days a week, you can watch the ice-cream making process through a viewing window. Their menu consists of 30 permanent flavors and 10-15 seasonal flavors. There isn’t anything too crazy on this classic menu – just really good flavors like dark cherry chocolate, butter pecan, and the Midwest “Blue Moon,” which is blue-dyed ice cream that tastes like Froot Loops.
Bassetts Ice Cream
The oldest ice cream shop on this list and in the country, the Philadelphia-based Bassets has been running for over 150 years by the same family, now on its 5th-generation of owners. It began in 1861 with Lewis Basset making ice cream with a churn turned by a mule. This scoop shop offers a nice mix of classic and unique flavors, with fruity options like pomegranate-blueberry chunk, the refreshing Matcha Green Tea, and the decadent Guatemalan Ripple, which is made from Guatemalan coffee, mocha fudge, and tiny coffee-filled chocolates.
Salt & Straw
With stores in cities like Portland, Seattle, LA, and San Francisco, this hip shop boasts extremely-unique monthly flavors and lots of hot press. They just announced they will be opening a store in Disneyland! One of their missions is to eliminate food waste, so the owners (who are cousins) always partner with local businesses to source ingredients. Stop in to sample flavors like pear-and-blue cheese, cinnamon snickerdoodle, honey lavender, and roasted strawberry coconut.
Photo by: Emmaline Soken-Huberty
Famous for their grocery-store pints, Ben & Jerry’s also has scoop shops you can visit. Click here to learn their story and why the brand represents more than ice cream.