Welcome to Princeton, New Jersey, home to none other than Princeton University. This small college town is located only one hour from New York City and has plenty to offer in terms of tasty eateries. If you’re on the East Coast this summer, hop on over to Princeton for some dessert. Although the tiny town consists of only a few streets, there are five main summertime dessert spots that definitely deserve recognition.
This classic ice cream shop is located toward the end of Nassau Street across from CVS. Although slightly further from Palmer Square, the heart of town, it’s definitely worth the walk. With a selection of at least 20 flavors and toppings, there is plenty to choose from, and ice cream lovers will also enjoy the blend-ins: a variety of flavors and toppings are blended together, much like an Andy’s concrete. If you prefer to stick to the classics, ask for your ice cream the old fashioned way, in a cup or cone. Thomas Sweet also offers terrific non-fat, fat-free and sugar-free options for those with dietary restraints. Fan favorites include cookie dough ice cream or non-fat oreo soft serve. Just be sure to get there early as the line is usually out the door! Once you get your ice cream, walk out to the large lawn adjacent to the shop and enjoy your treat in the wonderful summer weather.
Address: 183 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
Hours of operation: Mon-Thu, Sun: 11am to 11pm; Fri-Sat: 11am to 12am
Thomas Sweet’s main competitor in the ice cream sector is Halo Pub, located in Palmer Square across from Kate Spade. This ice cream parlor has tons of indoor seating — perfect for the occasional summer storm. Halo Pub serves homemade ice cream from Halo Farm, strictly using milk that is locally produced. There is a large selection of ice cream and toppings; however, it lacks the blend-in option that Thomas Sweet offers. There is an inherent rivalry between Thomas Sweet lovers and Halo Pub fans (personally I’m a Thomas Sweet girl). However, who says you can’t have a cone from each?
Address: 9 Hulfish Street Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ 08542
Hours of operation: Mon-Sun: 7pm to 11pm
The Bent Spoon
Located in Palmer Square directly across from the main grass field, this artisan bakery is best known for its cupcakes; however, it also serves mouthwatering ice cream and sorbet. Flavor options range from fruity, like raspberry and mango sorbet, to sweet, such as hazelnut and dark chocolate ice cream. Panicked about choosing between the two? Have both! I suggest asking for raspberry and chocolate all in one cup for a delicious blend of flavors. If you truly want to indulge your sweet tooth, top off your ice cream with one of the bakery’s famous mini cupcakes — I promise you won’t regret it. Grab your ice cream, sorbet or cupcake and head to Palmer Square to savor them all.
Address: 35 Palmer Square W., Princeton, NJ 08542
Hours of operation: Sun: 12pm to 10pm, Mon-Tues: 12pm to 6pm, Wed-Thur: 11am to 10pm, Fri-Sat: 11am to 11pm
The first frozen yogurt shop to come to Princeton was Twist, located on Nassau Street across from the university gates. This self-serve yogurt shop offers six rotating flavors and more than thirty toppings. Customers fill their cups and can add as many toppings as they like; then, they weigh and pay. On a particularly humid day, there’s nothing better than grabbing a refreshing froyo and relaxing on one of Twist’s many couches.
Address: 84 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
Hours of operation: Tues-Sat: 11:30am to 11pm, Sun-Mon: 11:30am to 10pm
Situated on Nassau Street near the movie theater, Fruity Yogurt is Twist’s main competitor for froyo lovers. The second yogurt shop in Princeton offers more flavors and toppings than Twist, while maintaining the self-serve approach. Fruity Yogurt also serves bubble tea, milkshakes, smoothies and shaved ice. The variety of options may seem overwhelming at first, but the diverse menu is consistently delicious (bubble tea fans: be sure to try the chai flavor with tapioca). Ultimately, Fruity Yogurt takes the cake as Princeton’s best froyo destination.
Address: 166 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
Hours of operation: Summer hours still being determined
Overall, I have to award Thomas Sweet for the Best Ice Cream and Fruity Yogurt for the Best Frozen Yogurt. Be sure to check out these summer time treats next time you’re in Princeton.