Ice cream is a uniquely nostalgic treat for Americans. Every town has at least one ice cream parlor, and if you ask the locals, they’ll tell you exactly what to get.
A scoop of butter pecan on a waffle cone, a hot fudge sundae with walnuts, or something less traditional like honey lavender gelato—for decades ice cream makers have been looking for a way to impress the eyes (and stomachs) of frozen treat lovers nationwide.
Here are a few of those shops that are a scoop above the rest!
Azucar Ice Cream Company, Miami, FL
When you think of Cuban food, ice cream might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But this Miami ice cream shop has created dozens of Cuban-inspired flavors that are anything but ordinary. They’re most famous for the Abuela Maria®—vanilla ice cream infused with pieces of guava and cream cheese, topped with a galletas Maria (a Cuban tea biscuit). But regulars also love the platano maduro (sweet plantain) and caramel flan flavors.
Bassetts, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market is packed with delicious delicacies you won’t find many other places, including Bassets Ice Cream—a mainstay in the market since it first opened in 1892. The shops more than 40 flavors span the gamut from butter almond to pomegranate blueberry chunk.
Lick Honest Ice Creams, Austin, TX
What could be better than (nearly) guilt free ice cream? At Lick, guests can enjoy their ice cream and feel good about it to, with flavors made exclusively from locally sourced ingredients. For adventurous ice cream connoisseurs, the shop offers scoops like roasted beet and mint, dark chocolate olive oil sea salt, and Horchata, as well as a number of vegan and dairy free options.
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, multiple locations in Southern California
For nearly 70 years, this Southern California shop has focused on crafting ice cream made from the best, high-quality ingredients they could find, and has maintained strong partnerships with local farms and dairies. If you’re looking for a taste of California, try the shop’s wild berry chip or Eureka lemon and marionberries flavors.
Zaharakos, Columbus, IN
For a real trip back in time, Zaharakos ice cream parlor has been serving guests in the Columbus area for more than 100 years! That’s a long time to perfect their ice cream, and though you won’t find crazy flavors (raspberry chocolate chip is about as wild as it gets) the shop does offer traditional classics like ice cream floats and malts, as well as banana splits and sundaes.
Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge, Lexington, KY
What began for Mike and Toa Green as a venture into their own Thai restaurant quickly became a completely different business entirely. Their signature coconut flavor ice cream grew into a handful of other notable flavors—Kentucky blackberry and buttermilk, blueberry lime cheesecake, and bourbon & honey—to name a few. They also make all of their cones and sauces in-house, and offer a “spiked scoop” (a single scoop of any flavor with a shot of liquor on top)!
Rowley’s Red Barn, Washington, UT
People may visit this ice cream shop for its incredible views of Utah’s mountains, but they stay for the incredible ice cream and family fun activities on this 900-acre farm and orchard. Red Barn isn’t just an ice cream parlor, it’s a family-owned fruit farm, so you can imagine how delicious the fruit-based flavors are.