How many are near you?


Ice cream has the power to make everything better. This past year, it’s fed the need more than ever for a little sweetness in people’s day.

Growing up In New York, there was never no shortage of great ice cream. Whether from the store or a seasonal cart, it’s always been a delight in my life. Like many in the tri-state area, I grew up with Carvel ice cream: I would get a soft serve cone after school concerts or Little League games and an ice cream cake or a roll of flying saucers for a special occasion.

Though ice cream has remained a staple in freezers across the U.S., independent businesses across the country have felt the heat during the pandemic, trying their hardest to survive. Unfortunately, many beloved shops have shut down in the past year, but there are still plenty of independent and family-owned ice cream brands that hung on — at times, even hand-delivering treats to their customers — deserving of our support this summer.

In the age of nationwide food delivery, it is now possible for us to sample it all. The range of frozen treats available to us now fantastic: dairy, non-dairy, sorbet, shaved ice, fresh fruit pops and beyond. But there is nothing quite like getting your cone or cup fresh-scooped from the store: Whether it’s a scoop from a longstanding small business in the park like Scoop Du Jour in Seattle, a sno-ball from the Stop Jockin’ Snoball Stand in New Orleans or a paleta from a local chain like Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars in Los Angeles.

So, whether you can get to their door or want it brought to your door, here’s a roundup of our favorite ice cream and frozen treat businesses across the country — most of which are BIPOC-owned — to have on your radar for summer (or, let’s be honest, whenever the craving hits!).

Operating out of its Smith Street storefront in Brooklyn, Malai is also available in select stores all around the U.S. and for delivery through Goldbelly. Founder and owner Pooja Bavishi creates new flavors inspired by South Asian ingredients and aromatic spices from her childhood. Crowd favorites include Masala Chai, Mango & Cream and Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds (my personal favorite). The ice creams are made eggless and also available in vegan options.

Malai will also be expanding into a new venture this season, selling its new Weekender Ice Cream Bars on Governor’s Island on summer Saturdays and Sundays.

Hannah Bae founded Noona’s Ice Cream to meet the need for more diverse ice cream flavors in the American market, especially for Asian flavors made by Asian American companies. All of Noona’s flavors are ethically sourced, with their dairy options made with hormone- and antibiotic-free local milk, and vegan ice creams are made with organic coconut milk. Though her Green Tea ice cream is my favorite, popular flavors also include Dalgona Coffee, Thai Iced Tea, Makgeolli Blues and Toasted Rice.

Pints are available at select stores and for delivery throughout the U.S.

The popular NYC dessert café, Spot Dessert Bar, launched its ice cream brand, Scoop by Spot, which is now being sold in select stores across the tri-state area. Pints of ice cream and sorbet being sold include Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Banana Milk & Graham, Misugaru and Passion Fruit.

Though the West Village location closed in January 2021, the Mexican sweets business owned and operated by chef Fany Gerson carries on with its Red Hook tienda and online orders. A business that started out selling summertime paletas is now selling sorbets and ice creams, too. Gerson uses organic, locally sourced ingredients with some imported ingredients from Mexico, such as tamarind, Mexican vanilla beans and dried chiles. Among customer favorites are Horchata, Oaxacan Chocolate, Avocado Ice Cream and Hibiscus Sorbet.

Local delivery is available on its website; nationwide shipping is available on Goldbelly.

Serving out of two locations in the Harlem area, Sugar Hill Creamery is a labor of love built by wife-and-husband team Petrushka Bazin Larsen and Nick Larsen. With combined backgrounds in arts, culture, fine dining and community, they opened their first location in 2017 and have been producing seasonal and classic flavors inspired by Harlem. The handmade flavors to order include a blueberry cheesecake dubbed “Chairperson of the Board,” “Fly Girl,” a honey and lavender-flavored homage to the movie “Honey” and a salted caramel flavor named after Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem Sweeties.”

The shop is currently delivering pints everywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii and Alaska) through Goldbelly and will be launching its Ice Cream Sandwich of the Month Club this summer.

This neighborhood fixture is a family-owned business that has been open for over 40 years. Now with two more locations — another Manhattan location, Lower East Side Ice Cream Factory, and Flushing Ice Cream Factory in Queens — it serves customer favorites along with new flavors. Its menu includes Taro, Red Bean, Don Tot, Pandan, Durian, Black Sesame and Lychee. If you fall in love with the shop’s “special appearance” flavors like Green Tea Oreo and Halo Halo (you will), let the staff know — and they just might make them regular items.

Mikey Cole created his brand of ice cream following the advice of his late aunt: “If you are cooking with love, someone should receive that same food with love.” Now serving from two locations in NYC, on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, he will soon sell his ice cream at MoMA’s Cafe 2 as well. Cole’s take on banana pudding with vanilla wafers a flavor called “Brady Bunch,” and “Pink Floyd” is a take on a double-strawberry cheesecake. He even serves up a flavor that encourages you to eat your greens, called “Incredible Hulk.”

Cole also continues to donate food to the community and hopes his ice cream brings people together. Plus, if you’re a kid with an A on your report card: Congrats — your scoop is free!

Fried ice cream has certainly come a long way since the late 1800s, and brothers Sam and Nelson Chau devoted an entire business to this delicious, deep-fried delicacy. From NYC street fairs to their Lower East Side storefront, the Chaus serve up customizable versions of the treat. Just make your flavor selection, choose your coating — breadcrumbs, cornflakes or Oreos — then they’ll fry it up and top it with your choice of garnish, like condensed milk or strawberry whipped cream.

From street truck beginnings to multiple locations in Manhattan, owners Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff have made the BGIC brand a beloved one, serving up fun and whimsical soft serve treats. Beyond its famous cones and cups made with all-natural milk, cream and sugar, the shop sells floats, shakes and sundaes, too. Go for the iconic Salty Pimp: vanilla soft serve served decked with dulce de leche, sea salt and a chocolate shell, the Mermaid Sundae for your Key lime pie fix, or indulge in one of its new flavors of the month (perhaps the Cheeto-covered ice cream?).

Pairing fun with philanthropy, the company supports LGBTQ causes, as well as homeless and hunger initiatives.

A new ice cream brand launched during the pandemic from civil engineer Andre Olivier, creating and delivering pints throughout the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. He created his company after being furloughed from his job, found a thriving fanbase for his homemade ice cream and quickly sold out. He serves both dairy and vegan flavors inspired by family and childhood favorites: Peanut Butter and Jam French Toast, Sticky Icky Cinnabun, Lemon Blueberry and Court Street Theater — a combination of all his favorite movie snacks, including popcorn, pretzels and M&M’s. Along with your ice cream, you can also order a batch of cookies made by his sister, Simone.

Orders are available during the week for weekend delivery in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Husband-and-wife team Omar and Astrid Thorpe have been serving customers out of their Prospect Lefferts Gardens shop since 2017. On the menu of artisanal ice creams and sorbets are flavors inspired by their Brooklyn community and Caribbean upbringing, like Tamarind Orange and Caribbean Queen, made with coconut milk and soursop. If you can’t make it to the shop, their pints are also available to order nationwide on Goldbelly.

Opened in 1998 by brothers Raul and Oscar D’Aloisio, Cones is an Argentinian-style artisanal ice cream shop in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. All 32 flavors are made in-house from scratch using fresh ingredients. Popular flavors of ice cream and sorbet flavors include dulce de leche, sabayon, yerba mate, corn, sweet potato, light and dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, grapefruit and more. It’s available for delivery on many platforms, but if you decide to stop by, treat yourself to a slice at John’s of Bleecker Street right next door!

A family-owned neighborhood joint in the Bayside area of Queens since 2004, Pesso’s makes all of its ice cream, Italian ices and gelato in-house. Cups, cones and, of course, paper squeeze cups are all available for your selection. There’s a whole mess of flavors available — including rainbow, cherry, pineapple and orange creamsicle Italian ice, and hazelnut, cannoli and pistachio gelato — but don’t worry about trying them all at once. Just start up your Rewards Card and, after the 12th order, it’s $5 off. There’s no delivery available but you can order ahead online for pickup.

Bellvale Farms, which has been family-owned for seven continuous generations, has a creamery that uses the farm’s top-quality dairy to make incredible ice cream. Situated close to the Renaissance Faire grounds and apple orchards, the creamery is open seasonally, starting after Memorial Day to the end of apple-picking season. Its storefront is on top of a farm hill with a gorgeous view of the Hudson Valley that you definitely shouldn’t miss. In addition to ice cream scoops, its ice cream quarts, cakes and pies are available to order at the walk-up window.

The Westchester County river towns have a wonderful gem in Main Street Sweets. Situated by the historic Tarrytown Music Hall and across the street from the Tarrytown Fire Department, it sits amongst plenty of local eateries. It’s a family-owned and operated ice cream shop selling house-made ice cream with additional sugar-free and fat-free ice cream options, fresh fruit sorbet, frozen yogurt and coffee. It’s reminiscent of your old neighborhood candy store, even selling novelties and candy. Follow your nose to the scent of their homemade waffle cones!

Louisiana native Lauren Gauthier brings her childhood love of sno-balls her food truck in Portland, Maine. Operating since 2019, she hits the street during the summer months, offering up icy flavors like Lemon-Lime, Pina Colada, Raspberry Mint, Tiger’s Blood, a sweet combination of strawberry and watermelon and, of course, Maine Blueberry. She also has “snopaws” available for your furry friends.

Chef Liz Rodgers combined four generations of her Southern family’s traditional pastry recipes and homemade ice creams into her brand’s pints. Each flavor has a story, named after a family member or significant event. There’s Granma Gigi’s Sweet Potato Pie, Aunt Poonie’s Caramel Pound Cake, Uncle Charles’ Brown Suga Bourbon Cake and Right As Rain Red Velvet Cheesecake, an homage to Juneteenth. New flavors for summer include Strawberry Fixin’, Crunch Cake and Baybee Lis’sen White Chocolate Blondie.

Though her brand has been sold across Midwest retailers since 2014, her popularity continues to rise, and now you can order her pints online to be shipped throughout the U.S.

After working in bakeries, Kiahna Malloy moved on to build Kreme & Krumbs in 2017. After opening her Montclair storefront in May 2021, she is now serving up her combos of baked goods and ice cream with locally sourced ingredients. The small-batch brand releases flavors once a week, updated on its website and available for pre-order and pickup on Saturdays. Flavors have included Pear & Ginger, Jersey Key Lime, Caramel Apple and one with oatmeal cookies, coconut and raisins called Boozy Breakfast.

Beau Shell is a 16-year-old (yes, 16!) entrepreneur and owner of this fantastic business. After asking for and receiving an ice cream cart as a birthday present for his 8th birthday, he ran his business for years with the help of his mother, Vickie, serving ice cream pops and sandwiches at events.

Then he opened his first brick-and-mortar storefront in Athens and is now serving his own signature frozen treats and novelty ice cream, including Coolie Pies and Coolie Shakes. He also incorporates philanthropy into his work, giving back to several local organizations and helping to support his community. A cool dude, indeed.

Serving customers for nearly 30 years, Thomas Bennett and his daughter, Teresa, run the only Black-owned ice cream shop in San Francisco. An unofficial landmark of the city, Miyako’s offers not only ice cream but also an affordable lunch deal — a hot deli sandwich, a side and nachos for $3.95. After lunch, you can indulge in a scoop (or two) of ice cream. They offer several flavors from local brands like Dreyer’s and Mitchell’s, including Kona Coffee, Buko Coconut and Caramel Praline. The store accepts cash only.

Joe’s Ice Cream is a registered legacy business in San Francisco’s Richmond district and has been serving up ice cream, burgers and fries since 1959. This old-fashioned ice cream parlor, owned by Sean and Alice Kim, is now incorporating Korean-inspired flavors like Cafferio, Dalgona and Sweet Red Bean, alongside its Bulgogi Burger and Gochujang Fries.

Brother-and-sister team Elaine Yukari Marumoto-Perez and James Tatsuya Marumoto established their ice cream store in 2015 within a strip mall in Torrance with a mission to help others. The word “kansha” means gratitude in Japanese, and they support many different causes, donating a portion of profits to organizations including the Children’s Hunger Fund, the NAACP and others helping to provide for people in need during the pandemic.

Their ice cream is churned in-house, and they make five flavors a week, rotating between new and regular crowd favorites that include Hojicha, Brazilian Dark Cocoa and a signature flavor called Mr. Universal: caramel and oatmeal cookie with a sweet cream base. They also offer toppings like mochi and sweet red beans. Online ordering of their pre-packaged pints is currently available from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on days they’re open.

Bringing Persian-style ice cream from Tehran to California was the passion project of Saffron & Rose’s late founder, Ali Kashani-Rafye. Situated near the Westwood area of LA, it has also become one of the biggest brands of Persian ice cream in the United States. Set apart by its use of whole milk and stretchy texture, Saffron & Rose’s many flavors include Orange Blossom, Date, Fig & Cranberry, Faloodeh, Pink and White Rose and Saffron Pistachio.

24. Oakobing, Los Angeles, CA

In LA’s Koreatown, Oakobing serves up the refreshing patbingsu (Korean shaved ice) with many different flavors and combinations to choose from, including Milky Strawberry, Injeolmi, Green Tea, Melon, Mango and Caramel Macchiato, and a big selection of toppings, including fruits, mochi, sweet red beans, extra-condensed milk and nuts.

Husband and wife Yahya and Nataki Muhammad found a home for their ice cream storefront on the South Side of Chicago in Bronzeville at the historic Rosenwald Building. They look at their business as “a faith-based business,” as neither of them had any prior experience working in the ice cream industry; he was formerly a police officer and she a preschool teacher. But they were embraced by the community for their nostalgic and comforting flavors.

The shop is named for Yahya’s late sister, Shawn Michelle, and the ice cream is freshly churned on-site and includes flavors such as Bourbon Butter Pecan, Lunchroom Butter Cookie and Melanin Magic, their special house chocolate flavor. They’ve also got sundaes and their signature cobblers, as well as a number of vegan flavors, including Coco Mango and Banana Pudding. Everything is available for online ordering and curbside pickup.

Launching their brand in 2010, the six co-owners of Taharka Brothers set out to create a cooperative that would give workers — especially to the city’s Black youth — the opportunity to become company co-owners.

Handcrafted dairy and non-dairy flavors include Roasted Strawberry, Mintflix & Chillz, Key Lime Pie, Honey Graham and their recent collaboration with a local baked goods company, Whisked: Salty Oatmeal. You can visit them at their multiple locations around Baltimore or get home delivery if you live in the Greater Baltimore Area.

Founded by husband and wife Dwight Campbell and Nicole Foster, Cajou Creamery is the first and only vegan creamery in the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia). Using their experience as chefs, they developed their ice cream using whole superfoods and plant-based milks that delights both vegans and non-vegans alike. The menu includes global flavors, such as Baklava, Cortadito, Kulfi and Horchata, as well as comforting favorites like Cheesecake and Sweet Potato Pie. First serving up their ice cream at farmers markets, they’re now selling it at several retail locations in the Washington metropolitan area, with hopes to open their Howard Row storefront soon, after pandemic setbacks. Available for shipping nationwide with a four-pint minimum.

Founder Victoria Lai went from working as a government lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security to creating and selling her own ice cream, and she hasn’t looked back. She develops flavors with high-quality, local ingredients sourced from in and around the D.C. area, inspired by her childhood, travels and even cocktails. In addition to rotating seasonal flavors, she serves up regular customer favorites: Marionberry, Sweet Cream and Honey, Banana Bourbon Caramel, Fresh Minty Chip and Passionfruit Guava Sorbet.

Scoops, sundaes and pints are available for nationwide delivery through the shop’s website.

Now serving from three shops in the Charlotte area (and a new location opening this summer in Rock Hill), Two Scoops Creamery first opened in 2016. Founded by three best friends, Marques Johnson, Rich Moyer and Jae Hatchett, their homemade ice cream recipes are all family secrets. They have many classics like Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Fudge Brownie that rotate in with fun-named flavors including Not Your Mama’s Pumpkin Pie, Superman, Cookies by the Sea and the turn-your-tongue-blue Cookie Monster.

Though there are many restaurants and cafes that sell Doc’s in the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas, its headquarters are now in the Hive48 collaborative in East Mesa. A former police officer and geologist, founder Doc Brown now sells artisan gelatos and sorbets made with organic ingredients and no preservatives, refined sugars, soy, eggs, gluten or artificial coloring. Flavors include Whiskey Cream and Dulce de Leche, and as far as his milkshakes, the Chocomaniac seems to be the crowd-favorite. Available for online order and pickup.

What began as an ice cream stall in the French Market of New Orleans has become its own shop off of Freret Street. Founder Michael Southall made it his mission to sell ice cream free of preservatives, stabilizers and thickeners, serving fresh-made waffle bowls, shakes and scoops of small-batch ice cream flavors like Blueberry Basil, Peach, Almond Peach Petit Four, Ambrosia and Blimey (blueberry-lime). Of course, since it’s in New Orleans, sno-balls are also on the menu. Customers near and far speak highly of “Mr. Michael” and his top-quality frozen treats.

Though Hank’s founder, Hank Wiggins, passed away in 2011, his family keeps his legacy alive in this Houstonian favorite. When he opened his ice cream shop in 1985 with his wife, Okemah, he made sure to teach his family members the ice cream recipes. His signature favorite flavor was Butter Pecan with lots of pecans, and it is one of many flavors his devoted customers continue coming back for. Hank’s boasts an impressive rotation of 100 flavors with 18 available per day. Among the bestselling flavors are Banana Pudding, Orange Chocolate Chip, Sweet Corn and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

In 2015, Luisa Santos built her science-y scoop shop in Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami. The shop has a mixed menu of classics and seasonal flavors, made with milk sourced from local Florida dairy farms, and fresh waffle cones made to order. In the fun process, you select your flavor and it will be created on the spot with a creamy base and a splash of liquid nitrogen in about 30 seconds at -321 F. Special flavors have included Key Lime and Guava Goat Cheese. Available for takeout.

In Portland’s Jade District, this Japanese cafe serves bubble tea, smoothies, Japanese-style hot dogs and, of course, incredible ice cream-filled crepes. There’s a menu of signature crepes to choose from, or you can build your own crepe sundae with your choice of ice cream, spreads and toppings. Customer favorites include Jean’s Flambe, a crepe filled with ice cream, bananas, cinnamon sugar and caramel sauce, and the Tokyo Sundae, which consists of ice cream, red bean paste, mangoes and condensed milk or matcha sauce. Available for takeout.

Founder Lois Ko opened her shop in 2016 with the intention to create great artisan farm-to-cone ice cream in the Pacific Northwest. She aims to source all her ingredients from less than 100 miles away; the brand’s dairy comes from Fresh Breeze Organics, a family-owned farm in Lynden, Washington. Everything from the sauces to the toppings and waffles cones are all made in-house.

Now open in three locations throughout Seattle, Sweet Alchemy creates flavors with its own special twists alongside a selection of pastries. Customer favorites include Black Sesame, Coffee and London Fog, a blend of Earl Grey tea and vanilla. Available for online order and pickup.

Siddiq Moore has been bringing top-tier water ice to customers since 1995, when he began selling on the Temple University campus, making sure to incorporate real fruit and fruit juice into his product. As far as water ice flavors, he’s got Strawberry Lemonade, Coquito, White Grape, Watermelon and Cantaloupe, among others. Also available on the menu are selections of ice cream (you can layer your water ice and ice cream!), milkshakes, fried Oreos and funnel cake.

Starting out on a bicycle cart, Moore’s business is now serving from two brick-and-mortar locations in West Philly and Chester.

37. Cloud Cups: Philadephia, PA

Not only did chef Sierra Georgia open her storefront, Georgie’s House of Gelat’oh, in the Frankford area of Philly when she moved down from her gelato truck beginnings in Washington D.C., in 2018, she also launched the Cloud Cups brand with business partner, Galen Thomas. It’s a CBD-infused dessert company, selling artisan gelato made with organic ingredients and currently being sold in select stores in Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Austin. Current flavors in the lineup include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Virgin Mojito, Brown Sugar Pop Tart and more. Orders are available for shipping nationwide or local delivery on the shop’s website.

A sweet staple in Pittsburgh’s Oakland area for nearly 40 years (and not just among college kids from nearby UPitt or Carnegie Mellon), Dave & Andy’s continues to charm customers with its rotating selection of 200 flavors. Choices aside from ice cream also include frozen yogurt, sorbet and low-fat sugarless ice cream. Longstanding crowd-favorite flavors on its menu include Birthday Cake and Sweet Cream, with a whole mess of mix-ins to choose from. Whether it’s the M&M at the bottom of one’s homemade cone to prevent dripping, slurping down one of their shakes or watching them muscle your toppings onto your ice cream behind the counter, the experience at Dave & Andy’s remains a delight for countless reasons.

Named Boston’s best ice cream by Boston magazine in 2020, Gerly Adrien and David Lindsey’s scoop shop distributes ice cream to many specialty food stores throughout Massachusetts, and its Somerville store will soon be its flagship, as a new location is scheduled to open in Brighton this summer.

Everyday flavors include Vanilla Buttermilk and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, while seasonal flavors include Ginger Lemon and Summer Melon Sherbet for summer and Cranberry, Irish Stout and Apple Cider Sorbet for fall. Available in select markets, for online order and pickup.

In Cape Cod, seafood and ice cream are the two major food groups. Luckily, Nauset, which is a favorite on the outer cape, is located right next to Friendly Fisherman. Grab a lobster roll there and then mosey on over to grab a cone. The shop serves all the classic flavors, made in-house, in fantastic softball-size scoops. Currently open on limited days during spring and summer and available for takeout or curbside pickup.

When Neale Asato founded his scoop shop, he aspired to re-create the ice cakes and guri guri-style ice cream he loved while living in Maui. So, he began making his own sherbet in downtown Honolulu, serving traditional Hawaiian flavors. Family-owned for three generations, Asato carries on the local crack seed (preserved, salted fruit snacks) store tradition where people can gather for celebrations, while enjoying sherbet and sorbet flavors like Pickled Mango Juice, Pineapple, Li Hing, Lilikoi and Lychee. According to the website, the shop’s mission is “to make the bad days good, and the good days da best!”

Sherbet preorder packs, which contain six pints (one of each special of the month), are released on its website on Sundays and Wednesdays at 12 p.m. HST. Available for pickup.


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