Philly’s rich ice cream history (we even have an ice cream style named after our city) has inspired a thriving frozen confection scene with microcreameries, sundae shops and make-your-own stores. Here are a few of our favorites to try this summer:
Old City’s historic-themed soda fountain reimagines the glory days of phosphates and egg creams down to the last architectural detail, but the ice cream—in flavors as familiar as mint chip and as exotic as teaberry—is worth the wait out the door, as are the sundaes.
116 Market St., (215) 627-1899
Tubby Robot Ice Cream Factory
Two childhood friends are living out their dream with this artisan ice cream parlor in Manayunk with retro video games and rich creamy scoops in flavors like Mexican chocolate and salted caramel. Plus, who can turn away from a puff-pastry ice cream “hoagie?”
4369 Main St., Manayunk, (267) 423-4376
Big Gay Ice Cream
Everything is rainbows at this New York-based chain which specializes in soft serve in dipped cones, pie sundaes and more daring frozen treats like ginger curry milkshakes.
521 S. Broad St., (267) 886-8024
The ice cream is the entertainment here, as Thai-style rolled frozen confections are made to order with toppings like Nutella and banana artfully massaged in then layered with a flurry of extras like gummy bears and marshmallows.
711 Walnut St., (267) 657-3168
This mobile operation serves some excellent small-batch ice cream, and perfectly conceived ice cream sandwiches—the vanilla between salted toffee almond graham crackers is especially worth hunting down.
Available at area grocers and farmer’s markets
The leading local choice for non-traditionalists is this store with three locations around the city and a retail presence in most local markets. Made from local ingredients, the ice creams are fun (coffee, peanut butter and toast), edgy (cucumber dill) and often vegan or dairy-free (chocolate salt malt).
2311 Frankford Ave., (267) 687-8567
4903 Catharine St., (215) 921-2100
3401 Walnut St (Inside Franklin’s Table food hall)
Scoop De Ville
Predating the dozens of fro yo shops that have come and gone around it, SDV opened in 1989 and allows visitors to create their own soft serve flavors with dozens of mix-ins (bacon bits, caramel corn, potato chips, Twinkies) and options for all diets.
1315 Walnut St. (215) 988-9992
Fishtown’s ice cream parlor specializes in French style ice cream with seasonal inspirations—blueberry breakfast, rosemary chocolate chip and lemongrass cherry swirl are a few flavors one may encounter.
9 W. Girard Ave., (215) 423-2000
El Pueblo Refresqueria
Stop in to El Pueblo Refresqueria on the corner of 9th & Ellsworth, in the Italian Market. A Refresqueria roughly translates to soda fountain, and that would apply here. An amazing place and a local gem, El Pueblo is a place where you’re drawn in by curiosity with the line out the door and people coming out with ice cream cones and sundaes, as well as mango roses, intriguing chamoyadas and savory elotes.
1142 S 9th St, (215) 462-0892