You may think that all ice cream shops are the same with their colorful chalkboards, shiny countertops, and long lines. But as a self proclaimed ice cream connoisseur myself, I couldn’t disagree more. There are just certain ice cream places that trump others, simple as that.
With my ice cream loving family by my side, I’ve seen the good and the not so good when it comes to ice cream shops. But nothing is better than when you come across the GREAT ice cream shop, that within holds the ice cream recipe that can make even your worst day, your best. Here are five aspects (in order of importance) to help you separate the GREAT ice cream parlors from the mediocre.
1. Homemade Ice Cream
First and foremost, it all starts with the ice cream itself. Although it is always comforting to see a familiar ice cream brand like Hershey’s or Bryers, there is nothing better than walking into an ice cream shop to see the bright and gleaming sign with the personally acclaimed words “homemade ice cream.” These three words are the key to opening the gates to the magical world of GREAT ice cream shops.
2. Homemade Waffle Cones
Once you calm your excitement about the fact that this shop has homemade ice cream, you should next focus on the smells. Did someone say waffles? Yes, that’s correct, the sweet smell of homemade waffle cones. Homemade waffle cones to homemade ice cream is like peanut butter to chocolate. It’s a must-try combination.
3. Original Flavors or Combinations
Now that you know you are about to have an incredible ice cream experience, you get up to the counter and begin to panic over which flavor to get. You could always go for the classic vanilla or basic chocolate, but then your eyes come across… what is that… a flavor you don’t recognize?
Be BOLD people. Jump at the opportunity to try a new flavor, even if it is just with a sample spoon. Whether it be a creative name or a crazy ingredient combination, TRY it! Trust me, nothing is better than discovering your new favorite flavor except obviously free ice cream for life but thats a whole different thing.
4. Patient Staff
Choosing which flavor you want is like deciding which college to attend. You don’t want to be rushed when making one of the most important decisions of your life, so a patient staff is key when determining a GREAT ice cream shop. It’s also a plus when your “kiddie” or “small” suddenly turns into a scoop the size of your head.
5. Convenient Hours
Last, but definitely not least, the hours of operation of an ice cream shop are an often overlooked factor. We shouldn’t have to limit our love for ice cream to just the evening hours, and certainly not just to the summertime. Limiting our ice cream enjoyment to just the summer is as catastrophic as Netflix deciding to restrict access hours. Deadly right?!
Instead, the GREAT ice cream shops are open all year round and are open by 12pm at the latest. This way, those of us with a sweet tooth at all hours of the day can enjoy ice cream as a late breakfast, a lunch, or my personal favorite the much needed afternoon pick-me-up.
Now that you know what makes a great ice cream parlor, grab your stretchy pants and head out to find greatness.