It's quite possible that we are living in an age of peak ice cream, one where old-school creameries are churning out vanilla bean masterpieces honed over generations while creameries are tossing the term "chef" into the mix to challenge the very notion of what ice cream is. It's a win-win for everyone, especially when temps outside begin to spike. This year's best ice cream shops represent everything from old-school custard outposts and soft-serve emporiums to new-wave artisan creameries, with some generations-old stalwarts still operating at the top of their game. Grab a napkin. It's gonna get gloriously messy.

Clumpies Ice Cream Co.Clumpies Ice Cream
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Clumpies was opened by the son of a third-generation candy maker, who turned the family’s sweet tooth to the freezer section. Now two decades into that glorious pivot, Clumpies still works in small batches, keeping things simple -- mostly -- with rich and creamy flavors, like chocolate chocolate chunk and butter pecan. And then not-so-simple with tongue-tingling, Pop Rock-infused Tutti Frutti ice cream. This does have candy-making genes, after all. Mikey would approve.


  1. Bi-Rite Creamery – San Francisco, California
  2. The Chief – Goshen, Indiana
  3. Clumpies Ice Cream Co. – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  4. Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge – Lexington, Kentucky
  5. Creole Creamery – New Orleans, Louisiana
  6. 8 Half Desserts – Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Fairfax Scoop – Fairfax, California
  8. Fat Cat Creamery – Houston, Texas
  9. Fentons Creamery – Oakland, California
  10. Ferris Aces Creamery – Newtown, Connecticut
  11. Ice Cream Jubilee – Washington D.C.
  12. Icecycle Creamery – Reno, Nevada
  13. Izzy’s – St. Paul, Minnesota
  14. Kelley Country Creamery – Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
  15. Lick Honest Ice Creams – Austin, Texas
  16. Little Man Ice Cream – Denver, Colorado
  17. Margie’s Candies – Chicago, Illinois
  18. Michigan State University Dairy Store – East Lansing, Michigan
  19. Moomers – Traverse City, Michigan
  20. Morelli’s – Atlanta, Georgia
  21. Morgenstern’s – New York City, New York
  22. OddFellows – New York City, New York
  23. The Parlour – Durham, North Carolina
  24. Quenelle – Burbank, California
  25. Ruby Jewel – Portland, Oregon
  26. Sassy Cow Creamery – Columbus, Wisconsin
  27. Sweet Republic – Scottsdale, Arizona
  28. Ted Drewes – St. Louis, Missouri
  29. Toscanini’s – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  30. Velvet Ice Cream – Utica, Ohio
  31. Woodside Farm Creamery – Hockessin, Delaware


Published online on May 11, 2018: Written by Thrillist Food