It’s warm out (kind of), which means that it’s about that time to start frequenting your local ice cream joints for the summer. I don’t crave ice cream often and, to be completely honest, I think that most parlors are the same. But not on this list, they’re not. From ice cream cones to flurries, shakes, blizzards, and dip tops, there are more than enough options to satisfy the most discerning ice cream connoisseurs. And, while the ice cream selections below may be expansive enough in their own right, also consider that these places often offer a variety of food items as well for a quick bite before indulging in a sweet treat finale.
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t love ice cream. It’s good, but I fancy myself more of a French fry person than one who, say, enjoys sweets. Therefore, if you want to keep reading this, let’s do it! Otherwise, if you don’t trust my non-discerning opinion, feel free to check out (see also: you should keep reading if only for fun).
Aglamesis Bros – Three words: Banana Chocolate Chip. More words: Unfortunately, last time I went to the Oakley location, they were all out. Next time I’ll try it, but one scoop chocolate and one scoop of vanilla sufficed in its place. If you like Graeter’s, you must try this straight-out-of-Music-Man alternate confectionary parlor.
Dairy Queen St. Bernard – I knew a lot of people who worked here growing up, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but this particular Dairy Queen struck my fancy with its plethora of dining and dessert options. Even if it’s in St. Bernard, it’s charming as all get out.
Dojo Gelato – If you like Sea Salt Caramel gelato, this place is for you. If not (say, in my case), I suggest going for one of the 12 flavors that are made from scratch daily. You can find this place in Findlay Market, which is the perfect location for a pre-Dojo meal.
Mt. Healthy Dairy Bar – I grew up frequenting this stand, situated on the bustling Hamilton Avenue. The surrounding businesses aren’t what one would call welcoming, but somehow it works. The Dairy Bar even sells blue soft serve ice cream that is reminiscent of the famous “Smurf” ice cream from KingsIsland.
Putz’s Creamy Whip – This particular ice cream parlor is all but an institution in this great city. Conveniently located off of the Montana exit on I-74, this place isn’t too difficult to get to from any part in the city. So get there.
UDF – I know, I know. A chain. But seriously, United Dairy Farmers gets little love in this regard, especially up against Big Shot Graeter’s. And I’d be hard pressed to find a better Cookies-N-Cream ice cream anywhere. Its milkshakes aren’t half bad either. If you’re looking for a lower fat option, the Low Fat Chocolate Shakes are the bee’s knees.
Zip Dip – I’ve never personally been to this particular place, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it by former workers and frequenters alike. I’ll make it a point to get there this warm season, and I’ll tell you all about it.
I typically opt for either a small chocolate/vanilla swirl cone [sometimes with chocolate sprinkles], or a chocolate milkshake made with chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream. If an ice cream parlor can perfect just that, I’m all in.
(Bold signifies soft serve ice cream parlors that are only open for the warm season.)