Winter is gone and your sweet tooth has been hibernating long enough — what better way to welcome summer than to indulge in frosty, frozen and oh-so-delicious ice cream? To celebrate the summer season, Silver Chips brings you a guide to the coolest spots for ice cream in the Washington, D.C. area. Because let's face it — we all scream for ice cream.
York Castle Tropical Ice Cream
Inspired by its Jamaican roots, family-run York Castle Tropical Ice Cream in Silver Spring does more than please "Cool Runnings" aficionados. True to its name, York Castle Tropical Ice Cream serves up some of the area's best all-natural island flavors, packing in a powerful punch of tropical tastes.
Walls decorated with travel posters of the Caribbean set the mood for exotic, refreshing ice cream choices such as coconut, banana, ginger, passion fruit and the best-selling mango. Beyond favorites like papaya and piña colada, the parlor features less traditional flavors like soursop, made from a tart Caribbean fruit. For some native Jamaican flavor, rum raisin is a safe bet.
At York Castle, prices are easier on the pocketbook for students looking for some more inexpensive ice cream. One scoop of ice cream costs $2.33. For those who can't get enough of York Castle's island flavors, one hand-packed pint goes for $4.75. While seating room does not expand beyond a couple of tables, all York Castle ice cream cones, dishes, pints and quarts are available to go and are even sold at nearby restaurants.
9324 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20901.
Phone number: (301) 589-1616.
Nestled amidst the quaint shops of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., Max's Best Ice Cream is a local favorite and the preferred ice cream parlor of former President Clinton. With its multitude of delicious flavors, it's no wonder Max's is well-known and well-loved.
Family-owned and operated by Max and Marsha Keshani, Max's has been serving up scoops of its homemade ice cream since 1992. Upon entering the family friendly parlor, you immediately notice the "Children's Wall of Fame," a sprawling expanse of thousands of children's photos, as well as the huge fruit mural covering the other walls.
With 24 homemade flavors to choose from, Max's offers everything from the traditional French Vanilla to the extraordinary PB&J, Moose Tracks and Cinnamon Graham. The Oreo ice cream, soft like a frozen yogurt, and laden with crunchy Oreo bits, is perfect for an afternoon treat or a hot summer day pick-me-up.
Enjoy a single scoop ($2.68), best eaten in a crunchy waffle cup ($1.14), for a perfect way to end the day in historic Georgetown.
2416 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.
Phone number: (202) 333-3111.
Dolcezza whisks you off to Buenos Aires with its chic, marble tiles and clean, modern stylings. The stylish parlor serves up some of the area's best gelato — Italian ice cream that's denser and more flavorful than its American cousin — with an Argentinean twist.
For first-timers, Dolcezza's mesmerizing array of over 30 flavors may make deciding what to order a tough call, especially since a small scoop costs $3.25. However, it's well worth the price tag — enticing flavors like Chocolate Hazelnut and Banana Split, a creamy concoction of smashed bananas and dulce de leche that will leave you sugar-shocked. For something tart, try the Sorrento Lemon, a refreshing treat made with real fruit.
Though seating is cramped on the first floor, if you take the steps upstairs you'll find ample table space and a prime view of Wisconsin Avenue. But if you don't feel like sitting and enjoying the city sights, Dolcezza's great location also makes gelato-to-go the perfect opportunity for an evening stroll.
1560 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.
Phone number: (202) 333-4646.
Located a few bus stops south of Max's, Thomas Sweet Ice Cream provides a more old- fashioned flair, with over 30 flavors hand-written on a chalkboard and servers decked out in red-and-white-striped aprons. Situated at a busy Georgetown crossroad, Thomas Sweet is a popular stop for any customer with a craving, tourists and politicians alike.
This spacious ice cream parlor, complete with outdoor tables, is heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth, offering unique flavors such as Cake Batter, Cookie Monster, Butterbrickle and Tiramisu. With shakes, smoothies and blend-ins — special concoctions of ice cream and three kinds of nuts, candies, cookies or fruit mixed in — Thomas Sweet caters to any and every customer.
While the homemade flavors are varied and original, creaminess can predominate over other qualities, and the coldness of the ice cream sometimes detracts from the sweetness. Strawberry and Amaretto, especially, could use more sugar, but Cookie Monster, a blend of butterscotch and vanilla with cookie bits coated in the thick coffee-colored base, is just right. A single scoop will set you back $2.88, and you can choose from a multitude of toppings for an additional 88 cents each.
3214 P St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.
Phone number: (202) 337-0616.
It's amazing how many different ice cream treats Potomac Village's Sprinkles can fit into such close quarters. Freezers filled with homemade ice cream cakes, sandwiches, malts and pints line one side of the store, while colorful posters and crafty signs plaster the walls.
Sprinkles puts a unique spin on the traditional chocolate-chip cookie dough, offering a brown, sweet base loaded with soft cubes of delectable cookie dough. For those who don't mind indulging, delicious toppings ranging from sprinkles to crushed candy bars add a crispy finish to any flavor. Watching your diet is no dilemma here, with a separate menu devoted to surprisingly great-tasting fat-free frozen yogurt in flavors like fresh fruit and chocolate Oreo. Not in the mood for an ice cream cone? No problem — Sprinkles allows you to turn any flavor into a creamy milkshake. Just remember that sizes do run large, so a small may be the equivalent of a medium two-scooper, and a child's size may be more like the average small.
10148 River Rd., Potomac, MD 20854.
Phone number: (301) 299-8415.
Baijia Jiang. Baijia is a Magnet junior who loves watching movies and TV in her little spare time and can spout out arbitrary entertainment facts at the drop of a hat. She counts herself as an expert on all matters relating to "The Lord of the Rings" … More »
Ashley Lau. Born in Boston, Ashley is a huge Red Sox fan and sometimes wishes she could just live at Fenway Park. She loves to run, do tae kwon do, travel, cook, go to concerts and has a new obsession with the TV show 24. Someday Ashley … More »