Ice cream is a transportive dessert: One lick can take you back in time to childhood, another across the country—and the best small-batch ice cream shops capture what’s unique about their location in every scoop.
Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery
St. Louis, Missouri
Gooey butter cake, a Depression-era mistake that resulted in River City’s signature dessert, gets its own flavor on this ice cream parlor’s “nice” menu. There’s also a naughty menu with more-adult concoctions, such as the Pink Champagne sorbet and the Old Fashioned, a cocktail turned dessert. Using local, grass-fed, hormone-free milk, the microcreamery handcrafts small-batch scoops with made-from-scratch ingredients—and ships pints across the country. clementinescreamery.com; various locations; double scoop, $5.50*
Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
Bar Harbor, Maine
Few ice cream makers have more devotion to hand-preparing ingredients than this vacation-town outpost, where every vanilla bean is scraped in-house. The biggest hits flaunt their Pine Tree State credentials, such as Maine sea salt and caramel, Maine sweet cream, and the Maine wild-blueberry flavors (blueberry sour-cream crumble and blueberry basil sorbet), for which the berries are deseeded right in the kitchen. mdiic.com; various locations; double scoop, $5
In 1868, Louis Graeter first sold ice cream from a horse cart at Cincinnati street markets, and 151 years later, his great-grandsons still adhere to the tradition of making each flavor in small batches. Fresh Ohio milk churned into ice cream two and a half gallons at a time results in rich, creamy pints that taste like the Buckeye State—even though you can buy it all over the U.S. graeters.com; various locations; double scoop, $5
- *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax, or tip.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: July 2019