Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finding the Best Ice Cream in Ann Arbor

There’s no shortage of ice cream shops in Ann Arbor, and we’ve done the hard work of tasting ice cream, frozen yogurt, and gelato from all over the city, to help you separate the cream from the crème de la crème. Here, in no particular order, are our favorite ice cream shops, dairies, and restaurants that keep us coming back again and again, screaming for more ice cream.

Coldstone Creamery-
Sure, it’s a chain, but this is the go-to place if you crave “stuff” in your ice cream. Their signature is combining premium ice cream with mix-in fixins such as cookies, brownies, candy bars, nuts, and other delish toppings. The ice cream is scooped out of the cooler, then spread on a slab of cold marble, sprinkled with toppings, then blended together by hand. Your best bang for your buck is to buy a larger size- even a pint- and split it. My favorite? Cinnamon ice cream with heath bar toppings. Sign up online to get a free ice cream on your birthday.

This Ann Arbor-based company also serves up hand-mixed toppings. Their ice cream is top of the line, the staff is friendly, and the toppings are sweet. What else could you want? Ask for the cookies and cream ice cream, even if you don’t see it out front, they might just have a secret stash in the back. Stucchis claims their gourmet frozen yogurt tastes as good as ice cream. Try a taste test and find out for yourself!

Ben and Jerry’s-
This chain, which opened in Vermont in 1978 serving scoops out of a renovated gas station, is known for their creative flavors and funky named concoctions. Chunky monkey, anyone? Their storefront outlet on State Street street serves up a heavenly coconut seven layer bar. Trust us.

The aroma of freshly-made waffle cones entices you into this popular ice cream parlor, which opened in northern Michigan in 1947. Kilwins has expanded into twelve states, but is still based in the Great Lake State. Not limited to just ice cream, Kilwins also offers chocolates, candy, and little gift items. The perfect stop for a last minute birthday gift, enjoy a cone as you browse through the shop.

Dairy Queen-
The nostalgia of Dairy Queen, along with the perfectly-shaped cone with chocolate topping draws customers in. Sure, they serve up a great blizzard, but you know you really want that cone with the little loop of ice cream on top.

Washtenaw Dairy-
This Ann Arbor parlor probably hasn’t changed a bit since it was founded 75 years ago. You’ll find families gathered around the outside of the store, which is on the corner of Madison and South Ashley, enjoying their cones on hot summer nights. A true neighborhood ice cream hot spot, this is a great destination for a summer bike ride from your Ann Arbor home. The scoops are big, and the selection is vast. Try the ice cream floats and shakes for a real treat!

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