Best ice cream shops to dig into this summer
American ice cream shop menus are reflections of their owners. Some – like the list at the brand new Odd Fellows in Brooklyn – change daily based on the whims of the creative geniuses in the kitchen. Others, like the tried-and-true flavors at Wilton Candy Kitchen in Iowa, haven’t changed a lot in the century and a half they’ve been serving scoops.
We’ve rounded up the best spots to buy a cone or a cup this year. Some are old; some are new. Some own their own milk cows and others are pouring beer in the batter. Really want your taste buds blown? Amble up to a Coolhaus truck and partake in a Chicken & Waffles-flavored ice cream sandwich before summer’s over. Yes, you read that right.
Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop
Serving the vibrant and varied Mission neighborhood in San Francisco, Bi-Rite focuses on ripe organic fruit, local cream and milk from a nearby organic dairy, and sustainable practices like compostable cups and spoons. Unlike other chilly, white-tile-decorated parlors, this one features warm, rough wood accents, sourced from Marin.
The flavors trend creative, like their Balsamic Strawberry, made from fresh berries roasted in organic balsamic vinegar. They are then pureed and mixed with the cream base and hit with a second, healthy dose of vinegar for a tart and sweet taste that’s put Bi-Rite on the map. If strawberries aren’t your thing, we suggest their peanut-brittle-filled Coffee Toffee ice cream, with java sourced from Ritual Roasters just down the road.
“This all started when my husband bought me a Jersey cow for Christmas one year,” muses owner Karen Deconna. “I got this cow, and I didn’t realize that they gave five gallons of milk a day.
When the gorgeous corner space went up for rent at the old train depot in town, it seemed destiny to bring her ice cream to the masses. Grab a scoop of her frozen custard ice cream seasonals – like the fresh blueberry or the mid-summer mango – and rest assured you are getting ultra fresh. “I wake up and milk our six cows every day, and that’s where the ice cream starts,” she says.
There’s a wide porch beyond the sunny shop windows, rocking chairs and a view of a pasture beyond. Jersey Creamery is a bucolic testament to the way ice cream was meant to be experienced.
Salt & Straw
Named a “favorite” recently by Saveur magazine, this quirky shop is run by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek. At Salt & Straw, they will put anything in their ice cream, including olive oil. Arbequina olive oil, to be exact.
You could also opt for their Smoked Hefeweizen, their Fermented Pear & Fudge, or a double scoop of their Pear & Blue Cheese. Rest assured, they’ve got a Pacific Northwest attitude when it comes to sourcing ingredients. Everything is local, organic when it can be, sustainable if possible and farm-to-cone fresh at all times. A recent collaboration with Portland-based breweries means you can ship your buddies (or yourself) a great six-pack of beer-laced ice creams.
Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.
The youngest spot on the list, Odd Fellows is a collaboration by culinary icon Sam Mason, and husband-and-wife team Holiday and Mohan Kumar. They opened their spot in June, but despite the tender age, it’s a bit of warfare to get inside on a sunny day. “We usually have a line, and we sell out of some flavors in a few hours,” says Mohan Kumar.