Seven Must-Try Ice Cream Parlors

Treat yourself to sundaes, splits and scoops at sweet spots from Hawaii to New York.

By Aarti Virani

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts

Honolulu, Hawaii

Good things come in small packages at this Oahu institution, whose signature quarter-ounce treat was listed among Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things in an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. Tropical flavors such as guava, lychee, mango and pistachios are encased in a sweet pounded-rice cake, resulting in a delightfully chewy concoction. Also on the menu: Japanese-inspired pints, including passion fruit and bittersweet green tea. Koko Marina Shopping Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, Bldg. D-103; 808-396-8722;

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Brooklyn, New York

Ice cream sandwiches get an elegant overhaul at this inventive Williamsburg confectionery. Dollops of off-the-wall flavors—such as miso cherry and saffron passion fruit—are scooped into brioche buns, drizzled with hot fudge sauce, then grilled inside a panini press. If the hot-and-cold combos don’t entice you, you can opt for a boozy ice pop or one of the more classic offerings, which include banana splits and floats mixed with generous pours of Virgil’s gourmet sodas. 175 Kent Ave.; 347-599-0556;

One of OddFellows must-try Signature Sandwiches
Three of OddFellows’ temping ice cream sandwiches. (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)


Los Angeles, California

Although the ice cream at this sleek café shares counter space with other indulgences such as blue velvet cake and Rice Krispies treats, the frozen offerings reign supreme thanks to a consistent crowd-pleaser: the macaroon ice cream sandwich, available in whimsical pastel-colored incarnations, including Thai tea, Fruity Pebbles and banana dulce de leche. Lines regularly wrap around the store’s popular Beverly Hills outpost, so consider heading to its newer second location, in funkier Silver Lake, instead. 1639 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-913-9911;

Sweet Ritual

Austin, Texas

Attention, vegans: All the small-batch ice creams churned out daily by this charming artisanal parlor are dairy- and egg-free. Once a modest counter established inside a juice bar circa 2011, Sweet Ritual moved to a stand-alone location this June. You can indulge in gluten-free waffle cones, sundaes, splits or shakes made with flavors such as chocolate chai, Cubano coffee and toasted coconut. Keep an eye out for four rotating specials. 4631 Airport Blvd., Suite 125; 512-666-8346;

Leopold’s Ice Cream

Savannah, Georgia

A black marble soda fountain, telephone booth and other vintage flourishes help transport you to another era at this century-old parlor. So do the made-from-scratch ice creams, which favor homegrown ingredients such as locally harvested ginger and honey. For a scoopful of 1919, try the Rum Bisque, an original recipe that’s studded with house-baked almond macaroons, or the deliciously decadent Lemon Custard. Or you can order a cone of Tutti Frutti, a rum ice cream chock-full of candied fruit and Georgia pecans, allegedly invented here. 212 E. Broughton St.; 912-234-4442;

Leopold's popular banana split
A classic banana split at Leopold’s. (Leopold’s Ice Cream)


Traverse City, Michigan

First-grade teacher Nancy Plummer opened the doors of this Midwest establishment on her family’s dairy farm in 1998. Today, Moomers hawks nearly 160 flavors, fueled by the on-site creamery. It pays tribute to its agrarian surroundings by offering goodies such as the Big Bessie (any two flavors smothered with hot fudge, peanut butter and brownies) and the Wholey Cow (10 scoops, every topping available and an entire can of whipped cream). 7263 N. Long Lake Rd.; 231-941-4122;

Four Seas

Centerville, Massachusetts

A former blacksmith’s shop is the site of this 1934 Cape Cod standby, which serves up local favorites such as fresh peach and black raspberry as well as old-fashioned penuche pecan (a brown sugar flavor based on a classic New England recipe). Despite having just seven tables, Four Seas draws thousands of vacationers each summer and has even been known to tempt a Kennedy or two. 360 S. Main St.; 508-775-1394;

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: July 2016