(Mirror) What is better on a hot summer day than a delicious scoop of ice cream? Well, maybe floating in a refreshing pool while having your feet rubbed by a gorgeous man while you’re eating that ice cream.
I can’t do much about the first two parts of that fantasy for you, but I can give you the lowdown on where to find some of the best ice cream in the area. I am not including chain operations, such as Menchie’s, Kilwin’s or Dairy Queen; while those places serve their purpose (I do love me a good Dilly Bar), I’m going to focus on independent stores.
You might think that frozen treats debuted with the invention of refrigeration, but in ancient Persia, a favorite treat was a sort of snow cone. The Persians would store snow in underground chambers until warmer weather, and then serve it topped with grape juice. As far back as the 1500s Europeans were using primitive ice cream churns. But it is Americans who have elevated the dish, encasing it in pastry or meringue, topping it with everything from gummie bears to balsamic vinegar syrup. Whether you prefer a simple scoop, a cone, or a sundae with the works, you’re certain to find some delicious treats at some of these local spots.
2301 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors
Wilton Creamery offers a rainbow of flavors you won't find at your average scoop spot. Owner D.J. Colby trained as a pastry chef and the ice cream flavors reflect his training and experience combining ingredients. Sure, you can get one of the six or seven versions of chocolate, but there are also many exotic and unique flavors such as green tea and honey or the signature (and my favorite), He's Not Worth It; a combination of vanilla ice cream, English toffee, Oreo, Heath bar, chopped soft caramel, and house-made sea-salt-infused caramel swirl. All of the ice creams are made in small batches seasonally. There are sundaes, milkshakes and paletas or you can create your own treat with dozens of toppings, syrups and flavored whipped creams. Hands down the best ice cream in the area.
2406 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors
As the sign out front says, this place focuses on two items; pizza and gelato, both of which it does very well. The dozen or so gelato flavors are made fresh and in-house every couple of days. The gelato case is not very colorful, but that’s a plus, as it means the creamy concoctions are not filled with artificial colors (or flavors). The pistachio, for example, is a pale green but packs a lot of flavor. Dolce Salato is a family owned and run operation and feels like one. After a few visits, you’ll feel like (and be treated as) part of the family.
128 S. Federal Hwy., Dania Beach
This landmark, open since 1956, makes each of its more than 60 flavors of ice cream by hand. It’s an honest to goodness old-fashioned ice cream parlor, with the kind of decor chain operations try to replicate. The walls are adorned with hundreds of old license plates, there’s a small store up front selling vintage candies and bowls of popcorn adorn each table. Expect over-sized servings, whether a simple scoop in a waffle or wafer cone, or one of the giant shakes, parfaits and sundaes, including one with everything imaginable called, “The Kitchen Sink” that is literally served in a kitchen sink. Even the non-ice cream dishes are oversized. The hot dog looks like something from a porn movie.
Yo Mama’s Ice Cream
901 Sunrise Lane, Fort Lauderdale
This place thrives not only because if its house-made ice cream but also because of its beach-adjacent location. Next door is its sister shop, Pops Corn, so you can add a salty and crunchy topping to your sweet ice cream. Try topping off any creation with a bit of caramel corn for a treat that will become your new obsession.
Phenomenom Nitrogen Ice Cream
2272 S. University Dr., Davie
What goes better with ice cream than cookies? Phenomenom is the brainchild of Chuck Woodard, co-founder of the Chill-N nitrogen ice cream chain. His new shop not only features flash-frozen ice cream in flavors such as; dulce de leche, cake batter, mint, peanut butter, and strawberry; it also offers gigantic, fresh-baked cookies studded with chocolate chips, M&M's Oreo, s'mores, and sugar sprinkles. Have a scoop and a cookie or you can get really decadent and make a custom blended ice cream sandwich using both the cookies and ice cream.
The Magic Cow
4298 S. University Dr., Davie
This place is proof that you don’t have to be big and corporate to be good. This little hole in the wall boasts dozens of original flavors (blueberry muffin ice cream?!) and the kind of friendly service you can only get from someone who runs their own business and loves it. A word of warning: many places list magiccow.com as the business’s website. That will take you to a page that will infect your computer with a virus. Avoid the web page; but check out the ice cream.