Top 10 ice cream shops in the Twin Cities
Who knew that the Twin Cities would become the veritable capital of ice cream? We've got more than our fair share of ice cream shops--including fresh, store-made treats in unique flavors rather than chain stores rescooping tired old flavors day in and day out. The only down side is that many ice cream shops close in the dead of winter, but fear not. Our list of 10 will give you plenty of options for this month, as well as some places to look forward to visiting in the spring.
There's no wrong season for ice cream
The locally owned and operated ice cream café serves ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe, made from creamery farms in Wisconsin and Iowa. Ice cream flavors include blueberry (or strawberry) cheesecake, Turtle (vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel fudge swirls and pecans), mint avalanche, peanut butter cup and more. Also available are "Dr. Smoothies" made from fresh fruit, in flavors ranging from acai to peach pear apricot to smooth line. Cone Brothers also serves hot dogs and chili dogs, so you don't have to eat your ice cream on an empty stomach.Cone Brothers closes for the winter, from mid-November through the end of March.
6633 Penn Ave S., Richfield;
612.455.0452; Cone Brothers website
Owner Eric Wold opened up the Neighborhood shop at a former Baskin-Robbins location in Edina and serves 44 flavors of ice cream (including three frozen yogurts and one fat-free, sugar-free option). Also available: clown cones, custom-made decorated ice cream cakes, coffee drinks, fruit smoothies, and pizza. Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe even hosts birthday parties in the back of the store. The ice cream shop serves Cedar Crest Dairy ice cream from Cedarburg, Wisconsin, from the retail location--and will sometimes even cart it to a local park to sell at kids' soccer games. Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe is open from April through late October.
6137 Kellogg Ave., Edina
Don't want to choose between brands of ice cream? Scoops just might be what the doctor ordered. Located in Bloomington, Scoops serves ice cream and frozen yogurt from five creameries: Annie's Yogurt, Cass Clay, Cedarcrest, Edy's, Kemps, and Sebastian Joe's. In addition to its regular offerings (which include eccentric flavors such as angelica, basil, and Pavorotti [that's Sebastian Joe's caramel/banana/chocolate blend), Scoops also takes special requests. Frozen yogurt flavors alternate, but Scoops will have any two of the following: banana, caramel, raspberry pomegranate, root beer, strawberry, and yellow cake batter. Scoops is the recipient of a Reader's Choice award from MinnPost.com. They are only open for half the year (early April through early October).
7700 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington
612.849.3909; Scoops website
It's not exactly ice cream, and it's not exactly the Twin Cities, but Adele's frozen custard stand is too good not to include. It's been described as a melding of frozen custard (complete with egg yolks, fresh ingredients, and a smooth, velvety texture) and soft-serve ice cream (with waffle cones, generous portions, and plenty of toppings.) Adele's has over 80 flavors of frozen custard but only makes a few each day. Check out the monthly "custard calendar" to see what's available when, or place a custom order if you want a gallon or more of your favorite flavor. Adele's also serves fat-free frozen yogurt daily, in addition to a selection of deli sandwiches and hot dogs. Just make sure it's open--the frozen custard shop closes for part of the winter.
Adele's Frozen Custard, 800 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior
952.470.0035; Adele's website
There's a reason Gourmet Magazine called Edina Creamery the best ice cream in America--the homemade ice cream is fresh, creamy, and sweet. There are about 50 flavors offered in the Edina parlor, including caramel cookie praline, blueberry cheesecake, amaretto chocolate cherry, cinnamon, and a new flavor for the adventurous, Durian ice cream. The Edina Creamery also offers raspberry and strawberry sorbet (and raspberry sherbert) for calorie-counting ice cream eaters, and a couple caffeinated options: Espresso Love and Toffee Coffee. Order larger quantities of your favorite flavors a week in advance--and remember, they're closed Monday through Wednesday.
Edina Creamery, 5055 France Ave. S., Minneapolis
612.920.2169; Edina Creamery website
This tiny ice cream shop on Chicago Avenue is all about natural ingredients, including organic nonhomogenized cream and milk right from Crystal Ball farm in Osceola, Wisconsin. And that's not all--the creamery makes sure fruit used in its ice cream (strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, and blueberries) is harvested during their peak time and frozen, and that its vanilla and coffee are fair trade. Plus it makes its own caramel and butterscotch sauces.
Pumphouse Creamery serves sweet and tangy flavors aplenty. There's lemon ice cream with crystallized ginger, grapefruit, and a combination of passion fruit and mango. If you're craving a taste of the exotic, Kuifi is a traditional Indian ice cream with rosewater, cardamom, and ground pistachios. As if that weren't enough, Pumphouse Creamery offers three different chocolate flavors--that's our kind of ice cream shop. Also available is a home-brewed soda, served on tap--root beer is available all year round, and rhubarb soda is available in the summer. Pumphouse Creamery's most popular flavors-- Sea Salt and Caramel with Praline Pecans and Vanilla (made using two varieties of fair trade vanilla--bourbon and Tahitian) are available in quarts at Kowalski's.
Pumphouse Creamery, 4754 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
612.825.2021, Pumphouse Creamery website