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Best ICE CREAM in Ohio??

What are the best ice-cream joints in Ohio? Looking for both mainstream and out-of-the-way places, from obscure roadside stands and small-town parlors to the factory tours and big-name brands that operate retail stores.

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  1. Greaters in Cincinnati http://www.graeters.com/

    Young dairy in Yellow Springs http://www.youngsdairy.com/

    My personal favorite is Hartzlers organic dairy in Wooster. http://www.hartzlerfamilydairy.com/De...

    Cleveland has Malleys and the Honey Hut http://www.honeyhut.com/

    The Akron Canton area has Strickland's ice cream. http://www.stricklands.info/

    There used to be a old fashioned ice cream parlor close to the football HOF in Canton, but the name escapes me.

    Menches brothers in Wadsworth used to have good ice cream, but It has been a long time since I was there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      I had ice cream at Hartzlers last week for the first time and it is delicious. Very rich, very good. In fact I almost went back today but contained myself (it is a bit of a drive.) But I am planning on returning soon.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        My grandmother lived in Cincinnati, so I spent much time there as a child. She always had many flavors of ice cream in her freezer. I hear tell that my grandfather used to keep *a separate freezer* in the basement solely devoted to ice cream, but that was before my time, so perhaps it is just a family legend. Even so, I have many fond memories of ice cream at my grandmother's house.

        Hooray for Graeters ice cream! My favorite was the mint chocolate chip, which contained giant shards (not to be confused with measly little chips) of excellent dark chocolate.

        We also ate lots of United Dairy Farmers ice cream, which, while not premium ice cream, had two great features: 1) many, many flavors 2) the vanilla ice cream made excellent ice cream sodas with that peculiar red pop they only have in southern Ohio.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          Ohh, lord. I went to school at CoW, and getting Hartzlers in the early fall / late spring was the best thing ever.

          Graeters is good, but in Columbus, I really believe that Jeni's ice cream is the king (queen?) of ice cream. Try the marscapone and strawberry when they have it. It's -amazing-.

        2. Personally, my preference for premium ice cream in Cincinnati is Aglamesis Brothers which produces its ice cream on-site.


          Oakley Square
          3046 Madison Road
          Cincinnati, Ohio 45209

          Montgomery Square
          9899 Montgomery Road
          Cincinnati, Ohio 45242

          1 Reply
          1. re: jlawrence01

            Honestly, I think that Graeter's ice cream is better, but Aglamesis' candy is better, and Aglamesis has a better ice cream parlor experience with its real glass and metal cups, bowls, and flatware.

          2. Graeters is excellent. If you are in Columbus, Jeni's in North Market is unbelievable.

            7 Replies
            1. re: sammy o

              Jeni's in Columbus. No contest. Free shipping within the state of Ohio and well worth the cost anywhere else ;-)

                1. re: abbefaith

                  Me, too. And also Denise's in Clintonville.

                  1. re: clarecat

                    I am from up in Detroit and would kill for a Jeni's up here. I had three visits to the Jeni's counter for the two scoop dishes...in one night. The Backyard Mint mixed with the Salty Caramel is to die for.

                    As for a step back into yesteryear I used to like Victoria's Parlour in Granville. I have not been inside in about 10 years. From what I have heard they have changed owners and I do not know if that has meant any changes for the better or worse. I do not remember the ice cream they used to use but it was not to shaby.

                    1. re: JanPrimus


                      Have you tried Shatilla yet? (Dearborn)

                      1. re: rainsux

                        I will be in the next 24 hours thank you! :)

              1. re: sammy o

                Tried Jeni's tonight. Consistency was nice and creamy. Not as thick as Graeter's. Flavors were interesting, but my 15 year old son was very disappointed in the selection. Too many far out flavors. I had the pistachio honey and it tasted okay, but I wasn't overwhelmed. Too bad I'm only in for the day because I think that some of the other flavors would be a lot better.

              2. Young's Dairy is great if you have kids with you. Graeter's Peach (in season) is very delicious.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Betty

                  Young's is a fun place. I've never conducted a taste test, but I really think that Young's ice cream, while good, falls a bit short of Graeter's level of quality

                  1. re: JHHAM

                    I would agree, with the caveat that Young's is really a different sort of ice cream. But I love them both.

                2. There are several East Coast Custard locations. Great custard and good frozen yogurt, too.

                  Woo City ice cream is is available at Parkwood Ice Cream. Actually, the Woo City website calls it Parkwood Ice Cream but the phone book calls it the Parkwood Deli. In any case, several of Woo City's ice creams are just exactly what ice cream should be although I have had some consistency issues. It never worked out but the Woo City people seemed happy to accomodate a tour of their factory.

                  There are three Rosati's Frozen Custard Locations. The Higbee's malted chocolate evokes powerful memories in people old enough to remember the original. I'm not but I think it tastes good.

                  There are a couple La Gelateria locations. I've been pleased on the few occasions that I've visited but I haven't gone often enough to give them more than provisional approval.

                  We have Strickland's in the Cleveland area, too. We also have Weber's. They're both certainly better than Baskin Robbins.

                  There are others that I've never been to. Actually there are a lot as you can verify with a google search. But there are a few which I'm interested in based on what I've heard about them. Hartzler's Dairy operates a single ice cream shop (er... shoppe) in Wooster. I like their milk and they obviously take great pride in their entire operation. I've also heard good things about Handel's. Mootown does "mix ins" on a marble slab like that chain(?). According to their web site they also offer tours. There's Foster's about which I can say only that it exists and that I think it's local.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stuart

                    My favorites in Cleveland:

                    1. Handel's
                    2. Mitchell's
                    3. Rosati's

                    1. re: stuart

                      Stuart, Thanks for the mention of Woo City ice cream.

                    2. Country Maid on Rt. 303 in Richfield makes delicious,creamy ice cream. It's also an orchard. Great to go in the fall for fresh apples and pears as well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sydney2

                        Agree. Country Maid has adorable small town charm. Good ice cream, GREAT scenery overlooking the orchards.

                      2. I'm in Northeast Ohio. The best local brands I've had are Mitchell's and Woo City. I get Graeter's at Heinen's and like that a lot, too.

                        1. Best Boutique Ice Cream: Jeni's (Columbus and Grandview Heights)

                          Best Family-run Ice Cream Place: Young's Jersey Dairy (Yellow Springs)

                          Best Factory-Made Ice Cream: United Dairy Farmers (all over)

                          Most Over-Rated Ice Cream: Graeter's

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: boltz2000

                            boltz2000, you're breaking my heart with this kind of talk about Graeter's :-( Has it gone down hill during the past few years?

                            I'm with you on the United Dairy Farmers, though.

                            1. re: Cassandra

                              Some people like Graeter's and some people do not.

                              When I am back in Cincinnati, I will generally head to UDF for the premium ice creams. If I am taking the nephews and nieces, we head over to Oakley Square for Aglemeses ice cream parlor.

                              1. re: Cassandra

                                Graeter's is still excellent. I think some people bristle a little bit that Graeter's has expanded (a little) and become a chain of sorts. I've been eating Graeter's a long time and I still think it's terrific. I also like UDF and I'm glad that lately, they're becoming more adventurous with their flavors. My wife prefers UDF's raspberry chip to Graeter's.

                                Though not in Ohio, if you're ever in Cincinnati, I think the most overlooked ice cream is Schneider's Sweet Shop in Bellevue, Ky., just over the river and five minutes from downtown. Very good ice cream, and the "ice balls and ice cream" dish is a real treat, the coldest thing I have ever eaten.

                                What I've yet to find in Cincinnati, however, is a really good sundae. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, and got sundaes at a place called Antoinette's, which had a huge two-page menu of sundaes, frappes and parfaits. All sauces were homemade, and the whipped cream was whipped up before your eyes. Incredible, and nothing like that here, or am I missing something?

                                1. re: Cassandra

                                  Cassandra: Sorry, but I could never understand all the fanaticism with Graeter's. To me, Kroger's store brand is just as good...or bad, depending on your perspective.

                                  1. re: boltz2000

                                    huh. next time I'm in Ohio (or somewhere near a Kroger's) I'll have to try the Kroger's. I don't think I've ever had it.

                                2. re: boltz2000

                                  Agree here with Boltz; I would even consider adding Jeni's to the over-rated category. It's all about the schitck of having unusual flavors. That being said, Jeni's is still worth trying, as long as you go in knowing that you're there to try unusual combinations.

                                  I typically like to try a plain flavor, like vanilla, to see how things stack up. Young's wins in this category.

                                3. since none mentioned it, i'll add look for toft's brand all around northcentral ohio. good stuff. there is darryl's homemade in toledo too.

                                  for ne ohio i like woo city and nothing beats honey hut at the beach.

                                  btw here is the honey hut link, the other was incorrect:

                                  re graeters: they have a lot of fans, but imo it tastes like eating a cold flavored stick of butter.

                                  ohio really is the best state for the wide diversity of it's ice cream options. this site has more info:

                                  ^ i mean "biker dude ice cream?" come on!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mrnyc

                                    Your Honey Hut link is a dead end. I'm very sorry for my incorrect link above. I think I have found the correct link here; http://www.honeyhuticecream.com/index...

                                    I live in the Wooster area but I prefer Hartzlers organic over Woo Cities ice cream. Woo city has sorbet and soy based "Woo Fu" that l love.

                                    Cassandra, I'm not sure, but I think Smith Dairy makes the ice cream for UDF. Smiths used to supply milk and other products to UDF and I know that they have a large presence in the western part of the state.

                                  2. In the Columbus area, Johnson's has been making homemade ice cream on the East Side for over 50 years. They have locations in Bexley and Reynoldsburg, possibly others. Their banana, lemon and mint choc chip are big winners. Their pecan ice cream ball with hot fudge sauce is to die for.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                      In addition to Jeni's, I also really like Mardi Gras in Columbus which is way up past 270. (614) 766-2020. They have lots of really interesting flavors (I remember loving the ginger), it's worth the trip.

                                      Jeni's is also fantastic.

                                    2. I agree with the majority - Jeni's is the best. I'm still trying to find a really good peanut butter ice cream. I tried Graeter's, but it just didn't get it for me. Anyone have any suggestions?

                                      1. Dietsch's in Findlay, anyone?

                                        1. I grew up on Stoddard's frozen custard, on the Stow-Kent line, and also likes Isaly's, a little store in downtown (such asit is) Stow--don't know if it''s still there.

                                          1. AGLAMESIS!!!! in Cincinnati. Graeter's gets all the press (and their black raspberry chip is good) but most of their plain old important flavors like vanilla are average. They were better in small batch form years and years ago. But aglamesis is awesome. Wish I could get ice cream nearly as good here in VA.
                                            In Northern OH Woo City and Mitchell's are pretty good. Thought the others were over rated when I lived there but had been spoiled by the aglamesis growing up! :)

                                            1. Paul's Drive-In in Shelby Ohio North Central Ohio Established in 1956 is the busiest little out-of-the-way joint in the area. We have folks coming from miles around for our hard dip by Velvet Icecream and many options of soft-serve. Our unique 50's and 60's atmophere attracks customers from all over. We serve a very large variety of ice creams: sundaes, whippet flurries, parfaits, banana splits $3.45, strawberry shortcakes $3.25, hot fudge cakes $3.25, and much more. Also, we serve a large variety of foods including our most popular sandwhich the jumbo, a two patty sandwich with cheese, our special sauce, lettuce, and tomato. It's well worth the trip so if you are in the area, stop by!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: izcreaman

                                                Don't forget Madisono's Gelato sold in Findlay market and a few other gourmet shops around Cincinnati. Excellent flavours and rare ones, too.

                                                And I tend to agree with those who think Graeter's is overrated. We are newcomers to Cincinnati and found the United Dairy Farmer's Homemade Brand much more to our liking. And affordable, too.

                                              2. The Big Dipper is a treat. Located on the border of Garfield heights and Cleveland in an old neighborhood grocery. Wonderful homemade ice cream and local produce when in season. Try the Peanut Butter Pretzel ice cream. Beware, a small cone is HUGE!

                                                1. No one has mentioned Handel's, I've been to a Toledo location, but they have many other locations in other Ohio cities (as well as other states) (will put the link for locations below). They have consistently been voted "one of the top 10 places in America to get ice cream." From one news outlet:

                                                  Handel's success has been reported in various publications including travelchannel.com, which recognized Handel's as "One of the Best Ice Cream Parlors in the Country." The original stand--still located in Youngstown, Ohio--has been quoted as "The Busiest Ice Cream Stand in America" by Ohio Restaurant News. Chocolatier Magazine distinguished Handel's as "One of the Best Ice Creams in America."



                                                  Click on the images to view:
                                                  National Geographic Book 2006

                                                  10 Best of Everything, An Ultimate Guide for Travelers

                                                  written by: Nathaniel Lande & Andrew Lande

                                                  published by: National Geographic

                                                  Fishers/Geist Magazine 2006

                                                  Inside Business 2006

                                                  Fishers/Geist Magazine 2006

                                                  Inside Business, March 2006

                                                  Country Living Magazine 2005

                                                  Business Journal 2005
                                                  Country Living, June 2005

                                                  Business Journal, May 2005

                                                  Business Journal, August 2004

                                                  Everybody Loves Ice Cream
                                                  Business Journal, August 2004

                                                  Everybody Loves Ice Cream,

                                                  written by: Shannon Jackson Arnold

                                                  Cleveland Business, August 2004

                                                  Metro Monthly, August 2004
                                                  Cleveland Business, August 2004

                                                  Metro Monthly, August 2004

                                                  People Magazine, September 2003

                                                  USA Today, July 2002

                                                  Proclamation from the City of Youngstown, OH - July 2002

                                                  Inside Business, June 2002

                                                  Chocolatier Magazine, July 2001

                                                  Chocolatier Magazine, July 1999

                                                  USA Today, July 1998

                                                  Tribune-Chronicle & Vindicator

                                                  Newspaper Articles

                                                  1. When my honey and I go home to Cincinnati one of the must stops is a UDF(United Dairy Farmers) chocolate ice cream shake. I can taste it now...............

                                                    1. Graeter's
                                                      Young's Jersey Farm (Yellow Springs)
                                                      Schneider's Sweet Shop (Bellevue, KY)
                                                      Dietsch's (Findlay)
                                                      UDF (especially shakes,malts)
                                                      The Cone (West Chester)--packed on the weekend
                                                      Tried 'em all and love 'em all. Will be visiting Jeni's or Johnson's in September (Columbus)

                                                      1. I live in Columbus and agree with Jeni's. I like Graeters, too, but it's not as good as it used to be.

                                                        One that hasn't been mentioned is Tom's Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville. This place has been listed in various "best ice cream in the country" lists. It's awesome. http://www.tomsicecreambowl.com/

                                                        1. Have to chime in on behalf of Jeni's, too. I took an ice cream making class with her several years ago and she really knows her stuff. Quality is really important, as is creativity. She's gotten some really good national press lately, too. Mitchell's in Cleveland is great, too.

                                                          I think both Graeter's and Young's are completely overrated.

                                                          1. Milk and Honey in Canton Ohio is my favorite thing about Ohio. A good chocolate peanut butter ice cream is hard to find.


                                                            The website could use a little work, but you can read a nice story and see some pictures.

                                                            Strickland's is frozen custard, a different thing than ice cream. I've had fine experiences with Graeter's and Young's Dairy, but M&H is worth the trip every time.

                                                            1. I Scream On Your Left - Elmore, Ohio
                                                              This small ice cream shop/reastaurant opened in the summer of 2009. They serve Toft's soft serve ice cream, made in Sandusky, Ohio. The shop is located right next to a rails to trail bike path that runs from Elmore to Clyde, Ohio. The novelty of this shop is that all the ice cream specialties have bike related names, like a spinner or a trainer, a mountain bike or cyclist sundae. They also have daily food specials and serve sandwiches, soups, and pie. A room is available to rent for special occasions. They have the best ice cream around and will accommodate your special requests. Elmore is located about 25 miles east of Toledo and off Exit 81 of the Ohio Turnpike.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: booyah

                                                                I'm from Cincinnati.
                                                                Graeter's or Aglamesi Bros. Both are equally good, eat in for sure, for quaint old-fashioned Ice Cream shop experience. Also -- both have excellent candies.

                                                                1. re: browneyedgirl83

                                                                  And Graeter's has the most underrated bakery, as well. Awesome cheese crowns.

                                                              2. Some great suggestions here, but my money is definately on Rosati's. Absolutely delicous.

                                                                1. There's Jeni's and then there's the rest............

                                                                  1. WEBER'S! is my family's favorite, we've been going for years! they actually make everything right there from traditional hard ice cream and sorbets to this product that's called fresh ice cream. its the creamiest and highest quality you can get and I can't believe its here in Cleveland! they've been around since the thirties (the machines, too!) and they are the creators of euclid beach vanilla and higbees malts!

                                                                    1. Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream on Hard Road in Columbus deserves a mention in this thread. It has flavors like lychee, fig, and mango. Note, this is an ice cream parlor that is more aimed at people who have lived in places that have lychee, fig, or mango ice cream, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I haven't sampled all of their flavors, but so far their ginger ice cream is my favorite.

                                                                      1. There's ice cream, and then there's Jeni's. A revelation. It was the darling of the New York Times food section a couple of years ago, and a few pints shipped was a hot (ha ha) Xmas gift.

                                                                        When all those volunteers came to Columbus for the 2008 election from San Francisco, NYC, DC, etc., we would take them to Jeni's. They would say something condescending like, "Well, you know, we have excellent ice cream in ... OH MY GOD!" And after that if felt like we couldn't get any work out of them -- it was Jeni's at least once a day.

                                                                        I still do love Johnson's, for the neighborhood atmosphere, though, and the ice cream is good -- they have an especially excellent vanilla, so I buy there when I bake pie. And certainly if I were taking a crowd of kids, I would take them there over Jeni's (all flavors there are now $10/pint, so you can imagine what a scoop is). I don't understand why anyone in Bexley goes to Graeter's when Johnson's and Jeni's are both right there.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: gellchom

                                                                          GC, living in Bexley is an ice cream lovers dream. I grew up with Johnsons and agree they are very good, the lemon sorbet my particular favorite. But Graeter's mocha chip is really yummy, like the concept of big pieces of semisweet chocolate and their praline is better than Johnsons. I visit Jeni's too, but they are more expensive, the portions are smaller. Love the salty caramel and gravel (salty caramel with nuts). Suprisingly, I miss Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge, there isn't one anywhere near Bexley (gee I wonder why - LOL).

                                                                        2. Jeni's (North Market, etc) for brilliantly made artisan ice cream in unexpected, amazing flavors. Their salted caramel is the best ice cream I've ever had.

                                                                          But for big, delicious scoops of creamy, indulgent ice cream, go for Graeters. Their "chip" ice creams, especially the famous Black Raspberry Chip, are fantastic, with huge chunks of dark chocolate.

                                                                          For the best nostalgic soda-fountain ice cream, though, go for Aglamesis Bros, especially the location in Oakley (Cincinnati). Their "sincere" sodas are the best.