With summer winding down, I’ve been getting a lot of requests from people looking to get in their last few frosty licks. Personally I don’t eat a lot of ice cream due to a combination of lactose intolerance and a preference to fill up on the savories. But the places on this list are worth the pain even in the dead of winter. Below are my Top 5 ice cream shops in New York, with a bonus vegan and ice cream sandwich option. Enjoy your sugar coma.
Ice & Vice The newish “experimental” ice cream shop has taken instagram by storm and with good reason. They have an inventive variety of options that not only look amazing, but taste great too. Gourmet flavors have been a thing for a while, but Ice & Vice takes them to the next level. Current offerings include American Beauty (Crème fraîche, Rose Petal Jam), Shade (Smoked Dark Chocolate, Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache) and Nuts of Wrath (Marcona Almond, Grape Kool-aid Jam). And that’s just the beginning. The cone cones from the Konery in flavors like blue corn and birthday cake. And as you can see above, they’ll toss some toasted marshmallows on top too. Then there’s the Detention Ice Cream Sandwich made with Malted Vanilla Ice Cream on a Mexican Chocolate Brownie with Fruity Pebble Dust. Yeah, you need to go get one. Ice & Vice is located somewhat inconveniently on the Lower East Side / Chinatown border, but you’ll also find them at a lot of Urbanspace food fairs. 221 East Broadway.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream These guys also do some unusual flavors, though they’re less elaborate than Ice & Vice. Some of my favorites include Black Ash, Strawberry Durian and Vietnamese Coffee. The offerings are pretty extensive and include many “normal” flavors for your less adventurous friends. Perhaps their greatest invention though is sticking the toppings inside the ice cream which means you can safely order a cone without ending up with gooey nut hands. 2 Rivington Street
Oddfellows As the name suggests, this is another parlor slinging atypical flavors of ice cream. Some of them seem (and are) just odd like chorizo caramel swirl and chicory. I prefer the fruit based offerings like the blueberry honey seen above. The East Village location also has “oddpockets:” ice cream stuffed into a warm brioche. It sounds a little weird but trust me you want it. 175 Kent Avenue & 75 E. 4th Street
10 Below This is the only ice cream shop I’ve written a full review of, so click the name if you want the full rundown. But the basic premise is they make the ice cream fresh in front of you using a cold plate. Fresh ingredients like berries, marhsmellows and chocolate chips are chopped up and thrown into the batter with the option to toss more on top. The lines can get pretty ridiculous, but no one I’ve taken there has found it not to be worth the wait. Don’t settle for the imitators. None of the other “rolled” ice cream shops that have opened up since have been at 10below’s level. 10 Mott Street & 132 Allen Street
Ample Hills Creamery Ample Hills is one of the original gangsters of the gourmet ice cream movement and it’s still going strong. They’re flavors aren’t as crazy as some of the new guys, but you know you won’t go wrong ordering things like Salted Crack Caramel (above) or Peppermint Pattie. Numerous Locations
Van Leeuwen (Vegan) Van Leeuwen makes very good traditional ice cream, but it’s their vegan version that has me most impressed. These guys are the first I’ve seen to completely nail the consistency and taste of dairy. This is great news for those of us who are lactose intolerant or just chose to live that lifestyle. You’ll find their trucks all over the city, but head to one of the physical stores for the best variety. Numerous Locations and available at Whole Foods
Melt Bakery A list of ice creams wouldn’t be complete without the old childhood favorite, the ice cream sandwich. But Melt is a big improvement over the classic Chipwich. My favorites include the Classic (Chocolate Chip Walnut + Vanilla Ice Cream) and the Lovelet (Red Velvet Meltcakes + Cream Cheese Ice Cream). They have a shop on the Lower East Side, but you’ll find the carts in other strategic locations like the High Line. 132 Orchard Street