Photo source: Reading Terminal
Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King got it right with their 1927 novelty hit, “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!” It’s as American as baseball and apple pie—after all, you need something to top that pie. Ice cream shops across the country have been serving up scoops of this frozen favorite for decades. If you’re looking for the best frozen treats in the country, then check out these seven sweet shops to satisfy your screams for ice cream.
Bassett’s Ice Cream, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bassett’s has been scooping up creamy goodness for more than 150 years. It began in 1861 when Lewis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker school teacher and farmer, started making ice cream in his backyard using a mule-turned churn. When the Reading Terminal Market opened in 1892, he moved in and opened his ice cream shop. It remains in the same location today with the original marble countertops. Now operated by the fifth-generation of Bassetts, this Philly favorite serves up more than 40 flavors of ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt. For a unique one-of-a-kind flavor, try the Guatemalan Ripple: a Guatemalan-sourced coffee ice cream with a mocha fudge ripple, blended with mini coffee-filled chocolates.
Eddie’s Sweet Shop, Forest Hills, New York
Eddie’s has been sweetening up New Yorkers in Queens since it opened in 1909—and that’s not an easy task. With its pressed tin ceilings, polished marble counters, cast-iron swivel stools and antique cash registers, you’ll swear you’ve stepped back in time. Although it has changed ownership over the years, Eddie’s still serves the flavors that started it all. Enjoy a classic sundae made with one of the more than 20 homemade ice cream flavors. You’re guaranteed to leave a little sweeter.
Pop & Rockets, Lake Charles, Louisiana
If you love 80s music and culture, Pop & Rockets in Lake Charles is a must. Robbie Austin and Nick Villaume grew up together in the 1980s and have a shared love of all the decade has to offer. When they decided they wanted to do some fun and creative together, Pop & Rockets was born offering 40 flavors of popsicles and ice cream inspired by 80s/90s music. Those of us who remember the decade of big hair and MTV will recognize the flavor titles. There’s a key lime pop labeled Sweet Child O’Lime, cookies and cream is No Cream Compares to You, and vanilla bean ice cream soaked in Bayou spiced rum is Spice Spice Baby.
Central Dairy, Jefferson City, Missouri
In Jefferson City, the Central Dairy ice cream parlor with its red and white striped awning is the place to be every afternoon. This downtown mainstay hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1933. The old-fashioned ice cream parlor is directly in front of the Central Dairy production facility. Inside you’ll find a retro scene with red and white tiled floors, creaky wooden booths, and plastic pint containers packed to the brim with frozen decadence. The scoops are huge, and the banana splits would easily feed a family of four. Even the prices seem retro: the oversized scoops are $2. A sundae loaded with chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, marshmallow, strawberry, pineapple and whipped cream is $3, but if you want extra toppings, it'll set you back another 25 cents.
Annapolis Ice Cream Company, Annapolis, Maryland
It’s easy to spot Annapolis Ice Cream Company in the city’s historic downtown—look for the penguins. The company's mascot penguins are as irresistible as its homemade ice cream. With 36 flavors that rotate daily, you’re guaranteed to find a favorite. The signature flavors: Peanut Butter Oreo, Apple Pie, and Chocolate Brownie Batter are an excellent place to start. And while you’re tasting the creamy goodness, you can leave your mark by decorating a plastic spoon to add to the shop’s more than 40,000-piece collection of spoon art. Roughly 1,000 art spoons are displayed on the shop’s walls with additional spoons rotating in periodically. Why not get yours into the rotation?
Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In 1923, James and Mary Klavon opened a neighborhood apothecary and ice cream shop. After years of serving the community, Klavon’s closed in 1979 and sat dormant for two decades. James and Mary’s eight grandchildren reopened the old drugstore soda fountain in 1999 as a full-service ice cream parlor…and they didn’t change a thing. Klavon’s is a time capsule with its original marble countertops, stainless steel fountain equipment, wooden phone booths, and revolving stools designed to look like Coca-Cola bottle caps. Adding to the charm are apothecary jars displayed along the walls and an old-time candy counter still stocked with penny candy. Located in the Strip District, Klavon’s has become a delicious Pittsburgh tradition.
Ben & Jerry’s, Waterbury, Vermont
No ice cream shop list would be complete without Ben & Jerry’s. Located in Waterbury, the Ben & Jerry’s factory sits on a rolling pasture. The fun is open to the public here with tours and tastings along with an adorable gift shop filled with all kinds of stuffed cows and T-shirts that read, “Body by Ben & Jerry’s.” The factory tours begin in the Cow over the Moon Theater with a moo-vie about the company’s history, its three-part mission statement, and the production of ice cream. From there, guests head to a mezzanine for a bird’s eye view of the production line. Then it’s off to the Flavoroom for a tasting of the Flavor of the Day. Of course, there’s an on-site ice cream shop serving plenty of Ben & Jerry’s flavors. Don't leave without paying your respects to the ice cream flavors that have been laid to rest in the Flavor Graveyard. I had to fight back the tears as I lingered over the grave of Devil's Food Chocolate.
What’s your favorite ice cream shop?
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