The 13 BEST Ice Cream Shops in New York City
When I’m home, I don’t go out to restaurants often as I would rather create my own meals and be more cost effective with my money. But when I HAVE to go out to eat in New York, well, I go all out.
I scoured the city and every borough for the best ice cream shops and (un)fortunately, there was a limitless supply.
So I narrowed the list down to the ice cream shops that I strongly recommend you pop into next time you visit the City.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck serves thousands of fans with treats like the Bea Arthur (a vanilla soft-serve cone topped with dulce de leche and crushed Nilla Wafers), and sundaes incorporating toppings as diverse as cayenne pepper and ginger syrup. They might even ask for a Salty Pimp, vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate dip, the Mermaid, made with graham crackers and lemon curd, or the CocoCone, vanilla ice cream topped with toasted curried coconut. Or maybe they will call on our favorite Gal . . Rue McClanahan ice cream sandwich — bourbon ice cream stuffed between praline-pecan cookies.
(before I forget, I am looking for Chocolatiers)
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Work off some calories with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and then meander along the waterfront to this charming ice cream shop housed in a 1920s fireboat house. They will serve scrumptious homemade ice creams and a tempting selection of toppings and syrups. Of course, iyou could head down the road to the ultimate topping –> this fantastic chocolate shop is just down the road in Dumbo.
Every batch of Van Leeuwen ice cream uses hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and cream and cane sugar. Flavors include pistachio, chocolate and Earl Gray tea to small batches of sweet sticky black rice and passionfruit. They offer vegan too and I’ve got to say that the vegan scoops in my bowl were my favorite. Work your big bowl of ice cream any which way you want to. If you ask the guys/gals behind the counter they’ll help you any way they can.
Expect to drop between $10 – 12 bucks on this but its well worth the visit to the shop. Nice and spacious, lots of cool air pumping through. A refreshing place among the busy streets.
Ciao Bella Cafe
Ciao Bella Gelato began as a neighborhood gelateria in 1983 and quickly became a favorite of local chefs. Ciao Bella is an 80′s rockstar that now delivers all over the country . . . But you can get it at the source right here in New York City. Even super-premium ice cream brands taste diluted when held up against the true rich creaminess of Ciao Bella, whose flavors are deep and based on the finest ingredients.
This Argentine gelateria in the West Village is amongst some awesome neighbors on Bleecker Street in NYC. You’ll be surrounded by places like Murray Cheese Shop, French chocolatiers, cupcake shops and the original Royce Chocolates. The artisanal gelato — creamy, dense and popping with flavor — is made on the premises with fresh ingredients, including seasonal fruits from the market, from juicy strawberries to coconut.
Inspired by Slow Food, a global association and movement that seeks to preserve regional foods and small producers, Grom’s founders decided at the outset to use only the finest organic ingredients and local artisanal purveyors as much as possible. To me, this place had all of the details to make it a superb treat.
Oddfellows makes its home in Brooklyn with crazy-innovative flavors, uber-local products), a retro soda-fountain design . . its all so Brooklyn-ly perfect. Sam Mason is the chef behind the scenes. Oddfellows has odd flavors like manchego pineapple, cornbread and chorizo caramel. Not only does the ice cream taste good, but it does good, too: Five cents from every scoop goes to Food Bank for New York City.
Blue Marble describes itself as an “Earth-friendly eatery,” which means, among other things, that the ice cream is made with organic milk from a collective of Pennsylvania dairy farmers. Whether adding locavorism and green building materials makes the ice cream taste any better is a matter of heated debate, which will no doubt be waged this summer over as many scoops, malteds, and sundaes as diet and decorum allow.
Eddies Sweet Shop
When it comes to getting ice cream in Queens, one of the first places that come to mind is Eddie’s Sweet Shop.
The Forest Hills-based ice cream shop has been a member of the community and the Borough since it opened in 1909, switching ownership four different times but still serving the same delicious ice cream that many have come to love.
Vito Citrano, the current owner of the shop, said they have maintained their longevity because they have kept all of the traditional flavors that people have come to know and love when they go to Eddie’s.
In business since the thirties, Egger’s has the un-self-conscious feel and captivatingly cluttered look of a small-town shop with nothing to prove beyond a dedication to its craft; a dying breed even on out-of-the-way Staten Island. The décor is mid-American comfy, with dark green vinyl booths, hand-drawn thank-you signs from local schools lining the walls, and a functioning Formica counter, behind which the chipper teenage staff mixes determinedly. The homemade ice cream is buttery rich and virtually airless, swirled with flavors like hearty maple walnut, chunky banana, and beater-fresh cake batter, and served in concoctions running the gamut from the traditional (banana split) to the regional (egg cream) to the whimsical (“a milk shake with a scoop riding side saddle”). Glass cases house chocolate covered pretzels and baked goods, and a selection of prepackaged candies, complete with bubblegum cigars, beckons across from the cash register.
Ample Hills Creamery
If there’s one spot that defines the philosophy “from cow to cone,” it’s the wildly popular Ample Hills in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights, which sources all dairy and eggs from local farms. In fact, rarely do more than a few days pass between the milking and the final product. Try the Ooey Gooey butter cake — vanilla ice cream with “gobs” (their word) of butter cake — and the Munchies, pretzel ice cream with clusters of potato chips, Ritz crackers and mini M&Ms. Ample Hills makes the kind of ice cream that inspires poetry, which may be why it’s named after a line in the Walt Whitman poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”
Hay Rosie in Brooklyn
After working for a craft brewery in California, Stef Ferrari was poised to open her own in Brooklyn. Instead, she gravitated to ice cream but retained her original business model: build a manufacturing plant and open it on weekends as a tasting room. Ferrari graduated from her home Cuisinart to a tabletop commercial batch freezer, then enrolled in Penn State’s ice-cream program. At Hay Rosie, she makes her bases from scratch—a relative rarity—as well as all her mix-ins and toppings. Of special note are her Barnburners, hot ice-cream sandwiches made from “shells” that are stuffed with ice cream and toppings and pressed to heat and seal
Max and Mina’s
Along the stretch of Main Street that wends its way through this largely Orthodox Jewish community in Queens, Bruce Becker’s candy-colored shop stands out among many of the other businesses.
Since last August — a month when New Yorkers typically feel sated from a summer of scoops — customers have continued to pour in for comforting flavors like cinnamon babka and strawberry shortcake: Sales are up by 40 percent. Demand jumped by 70 percent for the Beckers’ wholesale business, which supplies Manhattan shops and restaurants that sell ice cream as a main dessert or in the supportive, à la mode role.
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