When it comes to perfect pairings, few things go together better than a hot summer day and ice cream. But the best part about ice cream is that it doesn’t work for just one season – ice cream is a hit throughout the year. Whether you’re out for a day of exploring around Richmond, finishing up a day at the park, or just want to treat your family to something special, ice cream is always the perfect treat. And here in Richmond, we have no shortage of ice cream shops that will more than do the trick
In fact, for the past couple of years, we’ve been serving up a list of some of our favorite ice cream shops in and around Richmond. You might remember some of our past winners, including Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, The Dairy Bar, Sweet 95, and The Charm School among others. And this year, we’re back with a fresh new batch of ice cream shops that dish up the perfect scoop.
As always, when we look for our favorite ice cream shops, we focus on local shops that offer the following qualities:
- Ice cream that is made in-house or locally sourced
- Unique flavors
- Creative options – from sundaes to cones and beyond
Well, once again, Richmond does not disappoint. The following ice cream shops not only make some of the best ice cream in the area, but they each offer something special that makes them unique to Richmond. And, this year, we’re thrilled to have several newcomers to the Richmond ice cream scene on our list!
If you’re looking for fun ways to wrap up the summer, want to treat the kids to a special back-to-school outing, or simply need some go-to ice cream shops for treats throughout the year, the following five shops will make your short list in no time.
And so without further ado, we present our favorite ice cream shops in Richmond for 2018:
Hand rolled ice cream is the latest craze in the confectionary community. If you’re not familiar with the concept, then we’ll help you out. Hand rolled ice cream involves pouring ice cream mix (think fresh cream, sugar, and flavorings) onto an ice-cold cold surface, then scraping it and rolling it until it freezes. As part of the process, any variety of treats can be added, from cookies to candies to sauces. And that brings us to NarWhal’s. As Richmond’s very first premium hand-rolled ice cream shop, this relatively new shop has taken Carytown (and now Stony Point Fashion Park) by storm. And it’s easy to see why thanks to a truly unique presentation that tastes every bit as good as it looks.
Why we love them: NarWhal’s might keep their ice cream flavors simple, but factor in the “add-ins” and the combinations are endless. For those of you who are all about “building your own” flavors, NarWhal’s was made just for you. Try combos like strawberry with fresh bananas or throw in some cookies, add a caramel drizzle, then top it all off with whipped cream and sprinkles. The choice is yours. But what we think is best of all (aside from creamy, delicious ice cream) is that NarWhal’s creates your dessert right in front of you, making it more than just a treat, but an entire experience. Plus, it’s an experience that you can take anywhere…NarWhal’s will come straight to you to host any event from birthday parties to family celebrations. Now that’s service.
3313 W Cary Street
Stony Point Fashion Park
9200 Stony Point Pkwy.
Monday-Saturday, 12pm – 10pm; Sundays, 12pm – 9pm
With their first anniversary coming up on Labor Day weekend, The Neighborhood Scoop has plenty to celebrate. This local Church Hill ice cream parlor was born from co-founders Alfonso Clarke and Lawson Wijesooriya’s desire to create a space that would bring the community together over something we all love – ice cream. The result was The Neighborhood Scoop. Currently serving hard scoop and soft serve ice cream locally sourced from Gelati Celesti (a previous Richmond Mom “Best Of” winner), The Neighborhood Scoop operates out of a trailer on the corner of Nine Mile Road and N. 26th Street, with plans to renovate a local building in the future.
Why we love them: True to their vision, The Neighborhood Scoop doesn’t just serve ice cream, they offer a community. With special events like Friday Night Lights, a Friday night gathering that offers games and, of course, ice cream, they continue to seek ways to bring people together in a common space that celebrates diversity, cohesiveness, and joy. And then there’s the ice cream….let’s not forget about that. If you know Gelati Celesti, then you already know you’re in for a treat. On The Neighborhood Scoop’s menu, you’ll find GC favorites like Oreo, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Decadence, Butter Pecan, and Strawberry, along with The Neighborhood Scoop’s exclusive Church Hill Butter Brickle. For soft serve options, chocolate and vanilla are always on tap alongside two rotating flavors (like orange dreamsicle, mocha, or black raspberry) that can be “twisted” in. You can even request your favorite flavor in an ice cream sandwich made with homemade cookies for an added touch. Whether you’re looking for a place to hang out with family and friends, meet new people, or just want some really good ice cream, The Neighborhood Scoop has it all.
See the full menu here.
Corner of Nine Mile Rd. and N. 26th St.
(804) 938-9961(text for more information)
Wednesday – Sunday, 2pm – 9pm
For anyone wondering if gelato counts as ice cream – the answer is, unequivocally, yes. In case you don’t know what gelato is, here’s the scoop (pun intended). Gelato is a traditional Italian ice cream that includes all the same ice cream ingredients we know and love, but in different proportions and made with slightly different techniques. Plus, gelato tends to be lower in fat than traditional ice cream – so really, what’s not to love? At DeLuca Gelato, the answer is – nothing. This family owned and operated gelato shop has been serving up this delicious Italian treat since 2007, making everything in-house. Located in the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center on Gaskins Road, DeLuca’s offers an incredible selection of flavors including Banana with Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Orange, Peach Brandy, Strawberry Cheesecake, and SO many more. Plus, you’ll find dairy-free sorbettos and sugar-free options, as well, making DeLuca’s the perfect ice cream shop for everyone, even those with dietary concerns.
Why we love them: After a trip to Italy, DeLuca’s owners, who are also Richmond locals, realized that Richmond needed a proper gelateria. And so, after honing their gelato making skills and techniques according to true Italian tradition, DeLuca’s was opened with the goal of bringing a little bit of Italy to the River City. Today, they offer more than 80 flavors in their repertoire, including 36 daily flavors with at least nine dairy-free sorbettos and two sugar-free flavors. As for serving options, in addition to classic cones and cups, DeLuca’s offers milkshakes, smoothies, and frappecaffes (gelato melted in Italian coffee), as well as their specialty Affogato which features a scoop of gelato covered in espresso. If ice cream is not your thing, we may not understand why, but DeLuca’s has you covered. They also serve a wide selection of house-made Italian baked goods, including tortes, cannoli, rainbow cookies, Florentine cookies, mascarpone pudding, and European sipping chocolate.
1362 Gaskins Rd.
Richmond, VA 23238
Sunday-Thursday, 12pm – 9pm; Friday, 12pm – 10pm; Saturday, 11am – 10pm
While they serve more than just frozen desserts, Stoplight Gelato Café is above all else a quirky, eclectic throwback to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. From the glass counter showcasing the wide range of gelato flavors to the old-fashioned parfait glasses they are served in, you’ll wonder if you haven’t gone back in time. And in a time of fast-food and disposable everything, that kind of ambiance is every bit as refreshing as the delicious desserts. But let’s not forget the desserts. The café’s house-made gelato (made right there at the front of the shop) is the perfect treat for any occasion, whether you’re finishing up a freshly made sandwich, pizza, or bowl of soup in the shop or you’re just stopping by for a treat.
Why we love them: While the décor might include colorful nostalgia, the flavors are anything but old-fashioned with offerings that range from Irish cream to chocolate lavender to chrysanthemum and crème Fraiche. Of course, for those of us with a less posh palate, there are also plenty of classic flavors to choose from. But what really sets Stoplight Gelato Café apart is the hometown vibe that has been lovingly created by owner and operator, Barbara Givens. This retired educator, who is in her 80s (although you wouldn’t know it from her energy), opened the café in 2016 as a tribute to her late son, Bryce. Today, the café serves as a place where you’ll always find a welcoming smile and friendly conversation alongside delicious homemade gelato served in cones, scoops, sundaes, and floats.
405 Brook Road
Open daily (except Tuesday), 8am – 9:30pm
If you’ve never heard of Scoop, it’s probably because they only opened this summer. Located, fittingly, on Strawberry Street in the Fan, Scoop is the latest venture from Whisk Bakery owner, Morgan Botwinick. And while Scoop might be a newcomer to the Richmond ice cream scene, they’ve already made an impact with lines out the door since their grand opening in June. But it’s easy to see why, thanks to their homemade small-batch ice cream that’s served by the scoop, in ice cream sandwiches featuring a variety of homemade cookies, in seasonal sundaes with sauces made in-house, and in pints-to-go. So, to our original point, if you haven’t heard of them before, we’re not surprised. But we’re pretty sure you’re going to be hearing the name “Scoop” quite a bit in the future, so just remember…you heard it here first!
Why we love them: Scoop offers the kind of neighborhood vibe that’s a throwback to the good old days when kids used to walk to the local ice cream shop to blow their pocket money on treats or hang out with friends after school. But when it comes to flavors, this ain’t your mom and pops ice cream shop – trust us. Scoop’s signature flavors include brown sugar cookie dough, croissants and jam, and toasted coconut, as well as more traditional offerings like triple chocolate, mint cookies and cream, and caramel. But their seasonal flavors? Just wait for it. Currently on their menu, you’ll find concoctions such as Matcha, sweet corn and blackberry, basil, peach crisp, and more. So whether you’re looking for a scoop served in a homemade waffle cone, prefer something more extravagant like a sundae served in a flaky pastry puff, or can’t make up your mind and want to try one of their ice cream flights, Scoop has something for everyone. You can even join their Pint Club for monthly treats that include special flavors just for members. Last but not least, keep in mind that Scoop provides gluten-free and vegan options so no one has to miss out!
See the full menu here.
403 Strawberry Street
Tuesday-Thursday, 12pm – 10pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 11pm; Sunday 12pm – 10pm
If you know of an amazing ice cream shop in Richmond that should make our next list, let us know! Drop us a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, be sure to check out more Richmond area favorites with our complete Best of Richmond series.