Grab a scoop of summer at these local ice cream shops

Images by Natalie Hall

By Natalie Hall

As temperatures rise, the ice cream melts faster, which only means you have to eat more of it, and Twin Citians gladly oblige. The Midwest is the dairy capital of the country, which also makes it home to a plethora of local creameries. These homemade flavors will cool off even the hottest summer day. Replace your milk mustache with an ice cream beard and lick your way through lazy summer days at these local Twin Cities ice cream shops.

Photo of Monster Cookie-flavored ice cream from Grand Ole Creamery.Grand Ole Creamery

As the first retail ice cream parlor in St. Paul, Grand Ole Creamery was recently voted one of the top 10 ice cream shops in the U.S. They make over 200 flavors and serve 31 daily at the St. Paul location, and 21 at the Minneapolis location. The Cookie Monster flavor is unexpectedly delicious with an assortment of cookie pieces mixed into a bright blue ice cream; it’s childhood in a cup.

Nelson’s Ice Cream

Bring your appetite and be prepared to share. Nelson’s in St. Paul is known for its large scoops of ice cream. Started in Stillwater, Minnesota, as a dairy store and then transformed into the ice cream shop you know today, Nelson’s has been scooping big since 1923. If you are feeling ambitious, they have a ten-scoop challenge, the Lumberjack, and if you finish, your polaroid goes up on the Wall of Fame inside the restaurant.

Milkjam Creamery

Not only do they make their unique, rotating flavors, like Uma Thurman and PB vs. Everybody, but Milkjam Creamery in Minneapolis also make adult ice cream floats and doughnut ice cream sandwiches. The brother owners of Milkjam are not afraid to break the rules either; they add Ritz crackers, lamb and miso to make their flavors stand out in a world of Rocky Road and Cookies and Cream.

Izzy’s Ice CreamCup of Irish Moxie ice cream with Elderflower Izzy Scoop from Izzy's Ice Cream.

The Twin Cities are not only home to the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the toaster, but also—and possibly more importantly—the Izzy Scoop. At Izzy’s Ice Cream, a Twin Cities staple, you receive a normal scoop of ice cream with a small sample (Izzy Scoop) on top. Izzy’s also hosts the People’s Flavor Awards, where visitors submit flavors and Twin Citians vote on their favorite. Try Irish Moxie or Pomegranate Pizzazz, previous winners.

La La Homemade Ice Cream

With locally-sourced, vegan and non-dairy ice cream, La La Homemade Ice Cream in Uptown Minneapolis is made for even the diet-restricted ice cream fanatic. Along with traditional ice cream flavors, La La has Rhubarb and Charlotte’s Web, which is coconut and chopped chocolate in vanilla ice cream. And for non-dairy adventurers, they make Raspberry Fennel Sorbet, among other dairy-free flavors.

Pumphouse Creamery

This hole-in-the-wall shop—it does not even have a building sign—in South Minneapolis created a concept they call farm-to-frozen. Pumphouse Creamery sources natural, organic ingredients locally and its owner, Barb Zapzalka, makes each scoop in the kitchen in the back of the shop.

Photo of two chocolate-dipped waffle cones with chocolate ice cream from Licks Unlimited on the shore of Lake Minnetonka.Licks Unlimited

People flock from all over the metro to join the line out the door of this classic ice cream shop along Excelsior’s main street. Sit on the cow-painted bench outside Licks Unlimited or walk along the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior’s lakeside park. This is a routine summer stop for many Twin City residents, and with 11 different cones and many ice cream flavors, there are unlimited combinations of licks and spoonfuls.

Adele’s Frozen Custard

This is the metro’s only local custard shop. Custard is not ice cream, and at Adele’s Frozen Custard in Excelsior they think they can make a custard-lover out of even the most dedicated ice cream fanatic. The difference is the addition of an egg yolk in custard, and that air is whipped out to make custard, but to make ice cream it is whipped in. Try the Fried Ice Cream flavor, cinnamon honey custard with frosted flakes, or get your fill of fruit in the Chocolate Orange Truffle flavor, which has mandarin oranges and truffles mixed into chocolate orange custard.


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