When I was a kid, it wasn’t officially summer until my grandfather had made a batch of his homemade peach ice cream. We would line up on the porch, mouths watering, to get the perfect bowl or cone of his rich, creamy ice cream. Of course, you would have to finish your first serving quickly if you wanted seconds, because supplies were limited. But that’s also what made it such a treat.
Supply and demand isn’t such a problem these days thanks to a surplus of ice cream shops and cafes in Richmond. And thankfully, while there are many national chains that satisfy our cravings for tasty frozen treats, there are still a number of local ice cream makers that serve up homemade specialties.
With flavors ranging from traditional to exotic, the following five shops are our 2017 choices for the “Best Ice Cream Shops in Richmond” based on the following factors:
- Ice cream that is made in-house or locally sourced
- Good variety of flavors and/or options (ice cream, milkshakes, sundaes, etc.)
- Creative flavors
If you’re looking for a place to beat the heat or simply want to treat the family to some ice cream goodness this summer (or any time of the year), then you’re going to love our latest list. Take a look – then be sure to have a taste. We would love to hear what you think! Let us know about your favorite from the following five, or tell us about a place we may have missed. You can comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proudly known as one of Richmond’s oldest restaurants, The Dairy Bar is a tradition for many Richmond natives. And if it’s truly decadent desserts of the frozen variety that you’re looking for, The Dairy Bar does not disappoint. They boast the “best milkshake in Richmond” and if you’ve ever had one, you’ll most likely agree. The Dairy Bar menu features more than 20 flavors of milkshakes and we’re not telling you what to do, but chocolate peanut butter? Yes, please. Of course, if you simply want ice cream, you’ll find the basic flavors, all of which can be jazzed up in a banana split, a warm brownie Sundae or a variety of ice cream floats.
Why we love them: The history of The Dairy Bar goes back to 1946 – and it all began with ice cream. In other words, you’ll not just enjoy good ice cream, you’ll enjoy a little bit of history. The Dairy Bar began when Curles Neck Farm opened a plant to produce ice cream and dairy products. The restaurant started as a place for factory worker’s grab lunch, but over the next 70 years has become one of the mainstays in Scott’s Addition – while never losing their dedication to making some of the finest ice cream products in the area.
Monday – Saturday: 7am – 3pm
Sunday: 9am – 2pm
4. Sweet 95
Owned by the Giavos Family, Sweet 95 is part of a Richmond restaurant dynasty…so to speak. The Giavos Family own other local sensations like The Sidewalk Café, Stella’s, Perly’s, and, of course, Kitchen 64 – Sweet 95’s sister spot. So really, it’s no wonder that this ice cream shop features on our list of favorites – it was destined to be a hit. Like all of the Giavos Family spots, Sweet 95 is all about great tastes. Now here’s the catch. They don’t make their own ice cream. They do, however, use Homestead Creamery, a mom n’ pop operation out of Wirtz, VA, near Smith Mountain Lake. You may be familiar with the Homestead Creamery brand, and if you are, then you know that it’s hard to beat. And with easy access at Sweet 95, you can enjoy around 10 of their creamy flavors that taste more like custard than milk. Needless to say, this ice cream makes the perfect base for Sweet 95’s old-fashioned offerings like sundaes, floats and perfectly-scooped cones. If you’re looking for more than just ice cream, try a flavored “water ice” with or without a healthy scoop of ice cream on top.
Why we love them: Although Sweet 95 is part of a much larger restaurant family, they keep it real in every sense of the word. Just like the other Giavos Family restaurants, they are local to the core. In fact, you’ll find that because they support a local creamery rather than relying on mass-produced commercial ice cream, there are times they run out. Likewise, they adjust their hours to the Homestead Creamery schedule, as well as the local seasons. You’ll want to keep an eye on their Facebook page to stay in the know for hours and availability, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
3336 N Boulevard
Current Summer Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 9pm
Friday: 4pm – 10pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2pm – 10pm
Be sure to check the Sweet 95 Facebook Page for updates!
No stranger to praise, Gelati Celesti finds themselves on Richmond favorite lists time and again. But, we can say with confidence that this locally-owned ice cream shop has earned it. Featuring 24 house flavors that are always on the menu, you’re sure to find a favorite. But, if 24 flavors aren’t enough to keep you taste-testing for ages, then be sure to check out the more than 80 rotating flavors (like Chocolate Cherry Chip or Strawberry Amaretto) that make their way through Gelati Celesti’s freezer every year. Beginning with one store in 1984, this local favorite has expanded to four locations in the Richmond area since it was bought by friends of the original owner in 2010. That means that no matter where you are in Richmond, you’re never far from the rich, creamy decadence of Gelati Celesti.
Why we love them: Quality and variety earned this ice cream shop a spot on our list without question. While some may say that there’s no such thing as “bad” ice cream, there’s something to be said about ice cream that has been hand crafted in small batches using only the finest local dairy products and premium ingredients. And as for variety…well, how can you argue with more than 100 flavors – from the house regulars to seasonal flavors – that come through this shop throughout the year? The bottom line is that ice cream lovers of every kind will go home satisfied, knowing beyond a doubt why Gelati Celesti refers to their own ice cream as “heavenly handmade.”
11805 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23233
3004 Stony Point Road
Richmond, VA 23235
8906 A West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23294
1400 N. Boulevard
At the corner of Boulevard and Norfolk Street
Richmond, VA 23230
Monday – Thursday: 12pm– 10:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 12pm – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
When an ice cream shop says “homemade” in the title, you can be fairly confident that it’s going to be good. But once you taste Bev’s ice cream, you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s some of the best. Part of what makes it so good is that fact that it’s the real deal. But, this is also in the title. Bev’s ice cream is made from Beverly Mazursky’s own recipe, one that she created after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in the late 80’s. Although Bev herself was already 50, she launched her new career with a vengeance in her hometown in Massachusetts. When she moved her homemade ice cream operation to Richmond more than a decade later, it quickly became a local sensation. Today, nearing 80, Bev still serves up some of the best flavors in the city.
Why we love them: It’s hard to beat authentic ice cream – and by “authentic,” we mean the kind of ice cream that can take you back to your grandfather’s back porch. But that’s exactly what Bev’s does. Maybe it’s the great Carytown location and ambiance, maybe it’s the top quality ingredients, or maybe it’s just the personal touch that you can taste in every bite. Check out Bev’s everyday flavors which include the standard vanilla/chocolate/strawberry line up along with Espresso Oreo, Cookies and Cream,Bblack Raspberry, Butter Pecan and more. But be sure to keep an eye out for daily specials, too, and treat yourself to one-of-a-kind flavors like Honey Almond Oatmeal and Lime Sorbet.
Friday and Saturday: 12pm – 11pm
Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
As the latest newcomer to the Richmond ice cream scene, Charm School is making their presence known in a big way. With their new shop located in the heart of the Art’s District, co-owners Meryl Hillerson and Alex Zavaleta are turning ice cream into an art form of its own. Featuring off-the-wall flavors like toast ice cream with jam swirls and Thai iced tea, you can definitely find a flavor for just about any palette. Of course, if it’s tasty traditional flavors you crave, then be prepared for the finest offerings, including Madagascar Vanilla and Milk Chocolate. From their ice cream and waffle cones to their floats, sundaes and various baked goods (with vegan options available), everything is made in-house, which guarantees that after one visit to this new hot spot, you’ll find yourself “charmed” for sure.
Why we love them: What really sets this gourmet shop apart is their sense of style. Set in a storefront labeled “The Charm School Social Club,” the décor features modern designs with eclectic, old-school elements that immediately offer a unique feel. But their true style comes out in their desserts. With 16 ice cream flavors offered daily (visit them on Facebook for updates), you can always count on variety. But to make your experience truly next level, they offer added flair with things like house-made marshmallow fluff that…wait for it…can be hand torched on request. That’s right, flaming ice cream. Talk about making an entrance the Richmond ice cream scene.
Tuesday – Thursday: 2pm – 9pm
Friday and Saturday: 12pm – 11pm
Sunday: 12pm – 9pm
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