Looking for the best places to indulge this summer? Try out any of these local frozen treat shops for a hearty dip into the many innovative chilled foods Cincinnati has to offer (outside of ice cream classics such as Graeter’s, Aglamesis Brothers and UDF). Ring in your summer with a StreetPops ice pop and send it off with a pint of Madisono’s Gelato. Whether they’re one of the big names all Cincinnatians love or a family-run independent business, frozen treat establishments are sure to keep us reaching for another scoop, another swirl, another one altogether, this time with hot fudge.
SWEET STOPS AND STOREFRONTS
Chill Shaved Ice Bar — This shaved ice vendor was the product of one woman’s desire to produce tasty and refreshing shaved ice without the traditional chemical syrups. The menu includes more than 35 all-natural gourmet syrups, with nine or 10 flavors rotating to guarantee ultimate freshness. The unique experience of Chill Shaved Ice Bar comes from customers’ ability to “create their own chill,” whether that means a combination of flavors or an entirely new idea. Their lemonade and mint leaf combo, for example, came from a customer who had recently visited the Mediterranean, and the menu boasts a variety of toppings, add-ons and sugar-free options. Visit Chill Shaved Ice Bar at Krohn Conservatory through June and Saturdays and Sundays at Findlay Market. Visit chillshavedice.com for more info.
Summer specials: The most popular summer syrup? A cool fresh-squeezed lemonade and mint leaf combination, served over shaved ice, as a lemonade or as a soda.
Dojo Gelato — Dojo Gelato specializes in creating authentic Italian-style ice creams and sorbettis in their Findlay Market shop. Using fresh and local ingredients, Dojo drums up 12 rotating flavors from scratch every day and calls on nothing but the best gelato batch freezers, imported all the way from Bologna, Italy. Some of the most recent flavors (updated weekly on their Facebook page) include The Big Lebowski, Mexican Vanilla, and B-A-N-A-N-A-S!, all available on the new Dojo Gelato and Espresso Truck. Look for Dojo at their Findlay Market location year-round. A detailed history of Dojo and an explanation of their flavor rotation is available online. 137 W. Elder St., Findlay Market, 513-328-9000, dojogelato.com.
Summer specials: Their new Gelatowich, composed of Belgian Chocolate-n-Mount Caramel Stout Gelato sandwiched between two Take the Cake Double Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies. Now that’s amore!
Madisono’s Gelato — Made in 10-quart batches, Madisono’s gelato and sorbet is fresh, flavorful and available in stores and restaurants throughout the Cincinnati area. Madisono’s uses natural cane sugar, Belgian chocolate, bovine growth hormone-free milk from a local dairy and fresh herbs to create quality products and unique flavors. Visit madisonosgelato.blogspot.com for updates and a complete list of stores and restaurants with Madisono’s in stock.
Summer special: One of the most recent Madisono inventions is the Madisono Tartufo, a truffle composed of chocolate ganache, gelato and more chocolate.
Phro*Zen — A vegan frozen dessert company started by two local sisters, Phro*Zen believes that everyone — vegan, omnivore, gluten-free — should be able to enjoy the simplicity and happiness provided by frozen treats.
They specialize in non-dairy sweets with flavors like Enlightened Lemon Lavender and Mint Meditation. Find their products at local retailers including Park + Vine (1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine) and Jungle Jim’s (5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield). Call 513-222-2381 for current flavors and location information.
Summer specials: Phro*Zen recently teamed up with Grateful Grahams (gratefulgrahams.com) handmade vegan graham crackers to create new “snackwich” frozen sandwiches.
StreetPops — Traditional Popsicles get a makeover at this gourmet ice pop shop. The 50-plus flavors are divided into fruit-based and cream-based blends, boasting such combinations as pineapple habanero and orange soysicle. Because the shop uses only the freshest and most local ingredients whenever possible, some flavors are only available at certain times of the year. Unlike most ice pop brands, StreetPops has ditched the high fructose corn syrup in favor of organic fruit and herb combinations that will keep you satisfied all summer long. Look for them on Main Street or at the Findlay Market and Hyde Park markets on Saturdays and Sundays. 1437 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-446-7505, streetpops.com.
Summer specials: Current flavor frontrunners for the summer include bourbon passionfruit, raspberry lemonade, salted caramel and Vietnamese coffee.
Yagööt — Don’t be fooled — this local chain establishment is more than your run-of-the-mill self-serve frozen yogurt joint. With low-calorie, 90-percent fat-free products, Yagööt keeps customers coming back for a healthy but tasty alternative to fattening processed desserts. Stores keep four flavors in stock at a time, including original and strawberry year-round, as well as two seasonal flavors that rotate each month. By far, the flavor customers crave most is none other than original, with carmelized pineapple clocking in at a close second. For more information, a complete rotating flavor calendar and store locations, visit yagootyogurt.com.
Summer specials: White peach, one of July’s seasonal flavors and the only flavor to ever outsell original, will spend a month alongside pear, a Yagööt flavor debut set for June.
CREAMY WHIPS AND TREAT TRAILERS
Jonesing for jimmies and old-fashioned soda shop charm? These local hot spots, open only during the summer months, will keep your taste buds and your nostalgia satisfied even after they’ve closed up shop for the fall. From trolley cars to snow castles, these independent family-friendly establishments are some of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets, striving to keep frozen treats a thing of the past and future.
Gold Top Dairy Bar – Sporting a large gold roof, Gold Top Dairy Bar advertises a classic creamy whip menu with unique local items such as the Cardinal Cone and the Clancy Clown. Also on the menu: ice cream cakes, pies, and cupcakes — yes, the cupcakes are filled not with icing but with ice cream. 2810 Blue Rock Road, White Oak, goldtopdairybar.com.
Loveland Dairy Whip – This creamy whip, opened in 1955, has been owned by the same family for more than 30 years. The customer favorite remains the Chocolate Mountain — a combination of chocolate ice cream, pudding, hot fudge, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. 611 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland, theldw.com.
Norwood Delite Creamy Whip —Creamy whip classics collide with generous portions and simple charm. Be warned, this creamy whip is cash only, so leave your cards at home and sink your taste buds into a fresh Kings Island-style blueberry crunch cone or the popular swirl with cherry dip. 4490 Forest Ave., Norwood, 513-841-1114.
Putz’s Creamy Whip — Opened as a pair of trolley cars in 1938, Putz’s Creamy Whip has continued serving up all the classics on a daily basis: Krunch cones, malts, wagon wheels and chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, sure to intrigue any Arrested Development fans. Family owned and operated, Putz’s continues to flourish with loyal customers, quality products and a dedication to the creamy whip philosophy that real creamy whip only exists in the summer. Cash only. 2673 Putz Place, Westwood, putzscreamywhip.com.
The Root Beer Stand — Opened in 1957, The Root Beer Stand was recently ranked No. 12 among the “Top 100 Places of Cincinnati,” and for good reason. Using water from their 280-foot well, The Stand has been crafting their own special root beer for eager customers for more than 50 years. The cash-only trailer sells root beer by the jug, ice cream and, of course, root beer floats. 11566 Reading Road, Sharonville, therootbeerstand.com.
Sno Castle — With a hefty menu of more than 100 flavors of snow cones, sizes range from princes to knights to kings, with popular flavors being the ever-traditional cherry, polar punch and tiger blood. And although the original graffiti-covered castle resides in a parking lot on Decoursey Avenue, a replacement trailer is already up and running for the summer. 202 W. Southern Ave., Latonia, Ky., facebook.com/sno.castle.
Zip Dip — A soft serve lover’s paradise. The menu includes cones, malts, shakes, yogurts, sundaes, novelties and more, along with flavors of the week such as blueberry sundae. Zip Dip has been serving families, baseball teams and locals since 1950 and continues to serve up and dish out premium ice creams and old-fashioned charm. 4050 Drew Ave., Bridgetown, zip-dip.com.
Creamy Whip Lingo to Know
Creamy whip: A type of frozen ice cream similar to soft serve. The term can also be used to refer to the building/trailer from which the creamy whip is sold.
Crunch coat: An inexplicably delicious mix of crunched-up candies, sprinkles, nuts and other random pieces of salty, colorful and sweet things applied to creamy whip.
Dip top: Dip your whip peak-first into this syrupy stuff — generally chocolate- or cherry-flavored — and it comes out with a hard, candy-like coating.
Jimmies: Slang for sprinkles.