Summer in St. Louis is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating ice cream. Yes, I won’t eat it as frequently (see: every day) but I’ll still have my favorite spots on my radar.
I’m kind of biased because I grew up here, but I think that St. Louis is one of the best ice cream cities in the U.S. There’s diversity of shops and flavors, and types of frozen desserts that you won’t find anywhere else. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on one place with another, which is the sign of delicious food or, I guess, an unhealthy relationship.
Below is a list of places that you should hit up if you’re ever in St. Louis and craving ice cream. It’s not an exhaustive list and locals might judge me for leaving a couple places out. I didn’t include Ted Drewes, the famous frozen custard shop that everyone flocks to when they visit St. Louis, partly because I didn’t have a picture.
But also, there are so many other good places to try that Ted Drewes doesn’t really *need* to be on the list. Trust me.
Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery
I heard about Clementine’s when I moved back to St. Louis. It’s a fairly new shop and they recently expanded from their Lafayette Square location to DeMun, a neighborhood in Clayton (a swanky suburb of St. Louis next to Forest Park).
Clementine’s is, in a word, amazing. They make everything in small batches and use all-natural ingredients. They also specialize in out-of-the-box flavors, some of which are booze infused.
I like their alcoholic flavors, especially the Maple Bourbon. But my favorite two flavors that I’ve tried are the black cherry ash and turmeric ginger tea, which are pictured above. O.m.g. I better stop now before I start gushing.
Clementine’s also has vegan flavors that are just as delicious as the dairy ones. Yesterday I got cashew salted caramel, which is made with coconut milk. I paired it with the chocolate peanut butter swirl and devoured the cone on a park bench, weeping.
Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
I’ve been going to Serendipity for years. It’s actually owned by one of my grade school teachers.
Serendipity is the kind of place you’d want to bring a little kid because it’s fun and whimsical. Aside from having delicious ice cream, there’s a happy-go-lucky vibe when you walk through the door. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the flavors never disappoint. Last time I got the Grasshopper, or mint ice cream with marshmallow swirl and chocolate cookies. I’d highly recommend it.
Fritz’s Frozen Custard
Fritz’s is a tradition in my family. Every summer when I was growing up, my mom, sisters, brother and I would pile into the car and drive over to get frozen custard.
For those of you unfamiliar with frozen custard, it’s similar to ice cream but it’s made with eggs. The resulting mixture is thicker and creamier, to the point where it actually feels heavy in a cup or cone.
A lot of places in St. Louis make concretes with frozen custard, or a blended dessert with custard and whatever toppings you want. If it’s done right, you can turn the cup over and the custard won’t fall out.
I usually get a peanut butter cup and banana concrete when I go to Fritz’s but last time I was there, I went with something more traditional. I got a single scoop of custard on a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles. It started melting immediately so I had to eat it quickly. My sister said it reminded her of when we were little because I was oblivious to everything and everyone as I ate it.
Gelato Di Riso
The best gelato in town is at Gelato Di Riso in St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood, The Hill. I used to go there a lot during college when I lived semi-close to the shop. Then I moved away and forgot about it.
When I got back to St. Louis last fall, my aunt was gushing about it to me. So the next time I went to the Hill for lunch, I stopped by Gelato Di Riso for dessert.
My favorite thing about Gelato Di Riso (besides how delicious the gelato is) is how they don’t skimp on portions. A lot of times, gelato shops will only give you a little and you’re left wanting more. Gelato Di Riso doesn’t mess around.
If you go, I’d recommend the hazelnut and biscotti. It will make you dream of Italy.
Ices Plain & Fancy
I discovered Ices after I moved back to St. Louis. It’s located on a quiet street corner in one of my favorite neighborhoods in town, Shaw.
Ices specializes in nitro ice cream. Everything is made in giant Kitchen Aid mixers with nitrogen. You kind of feel like you’re watching a science experiment as they make your ice cream because there’s nitrogen puffing up everywhere in white clouds. There’s a clear window separating the machines from the café, so you can watch the whole process.
Ices has a bunch of delicious flavors that are always on the menu, but I usually go for their seasonal flavors. Last time I got the Blueberry Nutella and it was unreal. I may have cried…okay, I did.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s is a national chain now but I’d be remiss not to include it on my St. Louis ice cream list. I’ve loved it for a long time, and for good reason.
I first had Jeni’s at its flagship store in Columbus, Ohio, when I was visiting an ex-boyfriend. I liked it so much that I made us go back twice a day until I left.
I spent the next few years of my life wishing that Jeni’s would come to St. Louis. Right before I moved to D.C., I read in the paper that they were opening a store in St. Louis’ Central West End.
I didn’t try the Jeni’s here until this past spring. I wasn’t sure if it would be as good as I remembered but it exceeded my expectations.
Jeni’s has a lot of seasonal flavors and two of my favorites were the ones I ordered in April. I walked there from work and got the wildflower honey juniper and lemon curd. It tasted like spring. I was floored.
Kounter Kulture is a small restaurant in St. Louis’ South City known for Asian fusion dishes made with locally-raised produce. Their secret is their ice cream.
When you walk in, there’s a cooler against the right wall filled with tiny pints of ice cream from Audumbla, a company owned by a husband and wife team. Their ice cream is made with local milk and it comes in all different flavors that rotate seasonally. When I went, I bought the golden milk and it was amazing. All the spices were on point and the turmeric gave the ice cream a vibrant yellow color. I want to go back and get another pint right now.
So yeah. Those are my favorite ice cream places in St. Louis. I would highly recommend visiting any/all of them if you’re ever in town. They will satisfy your sweet tooth, make you cry tears of joy, and wonder why you hadn’t tried the ice cream in the first place.