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May 26, 2007 09:18 AM

Frozen Custard in the BA?

We used to find this a lot in the mid west when we lived in Chicago. Found one place in San Jose but they stopped serving it and switched to frozen yogurt, probably because there isn't much demand (or awareness even) around here. Any ideas on places that are serving up good frozen custard though?

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Hmm, you are misinformed sir. That is not frozen custard. Far cry from it actually.

      1. re: sgwood415

        Can you describe what you're looking for?

        The only place I've encountered "frozen custard" was in Philadelphia, where so far as I could tell it was just the local term for soft-serve ice cream.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I'm looking for authentic frozen custard (NOT ice cream or frozen yogurt). It's made with more egg yolks and a lot less air whipped in (overrun). It's thicker and creamier than ice cream or yogurt. Has a much higher fat content. Doesn't travel well or keep well so it's made fresh and served on premises.

          1. re: sgwood415

            Googling, looks like that's one of those eastern regional items that are virtually unknown here.

            The Chron reported a few months ago that Clown Alley was going to have it. Anybody tried theirs?


            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Clown Alley is now Pickles. Not sure what's going on with the menu, etc.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I missed that column. Clown Alley becoming Yuppified? The end of the world is at near!

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  Well, if it's in the hands of the people who run Myth, we might be saved.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Clown Alley / Pickles does not have it, at least not yet.

        2. I've had plenty of frozen custard growing up in Illinois, and I think I've found a good substitute: vanilla soft-serve from Carvel. To me, it tastes a lot more like frozen custard than ordinary crappy soft-serve. There are only 2 stores I'm aware of (Berkeley and Los Altos) but on the plus side, the chain is expanding, and it's also a new thing for most Midwesterners since it hasn't been very prevalent there.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Agent 510

            Thanks ... that was my impression of Carvel when I asked about the difference on the General Board.


            In the above link they say about Philly-style soft serve ...

            "Philadelphia-style ice cream is ice cream that isn't made with a cooked custard base. It also doesn't contain any egg yolks ... It is based on milk/cream, sugar, and other flavorings. Since you don't add egg yolks to the mix and heat it the way you would a custard, it is easier to make ... However, just because egg yolks are added to the mix doesn't mean that the mix is heated to a custard."

            So that's why the Philly custard tastes like regular soft-serve ... and I swear that long ago Carvel billed itself as selling frozen custard.

            Another discussion on the General Board

            Sam's Chowder House in HMB was supposed to carry it but they whimped out and are selling soft-serve.

            The dogout sells soft serve, not frozen custard.

            1. re: Agent 510

              Carvel is no where as good as any frozen custard for me. Its does not have the thick rich flavor nor the creamy thick texture. Air whipped soft serve and a trie frozen custard are so far apart that they cannot be substituted for each other. I have never found true frozen custard in the western US but have truly loved it on the East Coast (try Rita's if you have never had the chance to enjoy a truly good frozen custard).

              There is even an official description of it now:

              1. re: DrBobLo

                Apparently Easy Breazy offers frozen custard. I haven't tried it though:


                4028 24th St
                San Francisco

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  As long as we're reviving an old thread, the Frozen Kuhsterd truck is at many Off the Grid and other events. He usually has some innovative flavors and toppings.

                  1. re:

                    I don't count him because trucks that never are anywhere that I can get to in time are like magical unicorns. If he stayed still long enough to try a few times, then I'd certainly give him a try.

                  2. re: Civil Bear

                    I'm so totally going to check them out tomorrow, thanks! I just hope that its a real Frozen Custard and not just a knockoff with a little extra vanilla thrown in.

              2. It's not on their online menu, but maybe at:


                1. Sorry to hear that place in San Jose discontinued it. Willow Glen? That place and Woody's in Mill Valley are the only ones I've tried locally. Here's my post on Woody's --- can't say it was good.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Willow Glen in San Jose is the only place that I know of, and it's good.

                    1. re: Mr_J

                      Yeah, that's where we would go but last time they told us they aren't making it any more and they only had frozen yogurt. It might just be a summer offering though. It's possible that the worker behind the counter that day didn't have the right info.

                      But yes, that place was good. It's hit and miss place to place since it's made daily by each establishment. When they use good quality eggs and dairy it's a wonderful treat.

                      1. re: sgwood415

                        Willow Glen used to have it on weekends only. It's made from mix, so I don't understand why other spots don't devote one tap (or whatever the right word is) to frozen custard.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Given what I see for sale, the market's strong for low-fat and non-fat soft-serve, and extra-rich is a niche.

                          Some East-Coast-centric place like Amici's or North Beach Lobster Shack should sell it.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            My understanding is that it doesn't keep for a long time, so places that make it right have to make it fresh every day. Also, I believe it's a different kind of machine (not a typical soft serve ice cream machine). It is served not as cold as ice cream, and usually only comes in vanilla and chocolate. There is probably not enough demand around here for anyone to bother making it. Too bad because it's a great, flavorful treat in the summer. Can't have it all in the Bay Area.

                            Here's a list I found that has a pretty long list of custard stands (none around here)

                            1. re: sgwood415

                              That list is interesting. L.A. even has a place (a dedicated frozen custard place, as opposed to random places up here that sometimes have something on their menu that may or may not be it...):

                              I'm surprised something like that can survive in similarly health-conscious L.A. but not here. The Bay Area can support so many of these "artisinal" gelato places but not even one custard stand?

                        2. re: Mr_J

                          Have you tried the frozen custard at Main Street Burger in Los Gatos? Mentioned in the linked thread.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            They don't have it. Went by there today and they serve frozen yogurt.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Not sure about Woody's. It's not listed on the menu on their website, but I haven't been there in person to see for myself.

                              1. re: sgwood415

                                One thing to be careful about is that one of the frozen yogurt companies makes a flavor called vanilla custard. When I spotted it somewhere, i asked the person behind the counter if it was frozen custard or frozen yogurt and he said, "custard". Luckily, the owner at the other end of the room overheard this and corrected him, saving me some disappointment.

                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                            Woody's Yogurt shop (in the Town & Country shopping center, off Highway 101 in Mill Valley) is alive & well and still serving a tasty vanilla custard. I was there yesterday and had one.

                            The shop is located in the back of the shopping center, around the corner from Joseph Bank.

                            1. re: DavidT

                              Odd that they don't mention it on their menu.

                              Woody's Yogurt Place
                              214 Strawberry Vlg, Mill Valley, CA

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Yes, that is odd. I have had the Vanilla Custard many times at Woody's over the past 3-4 years. I could not say whether it is a "bona-fide" custard by the standards of the person starting this thread. What Woody's serves does have a distinctive taste that is certainly different from the frozen yogurts and soft-serve ice creams I have tasted elsewhere in the Bay Area.

                                1. re: DavidT

                                  From the info on, I think they serve Dannon YoCream, which is not yogurt. It's "made from rich cream and real eggs" and has 9 grams of fat per 1/2 cup vs. 0 to 3.5 grams for their frozen yogurts.


                          3. I'm from St. Louis, home of Ted Drew's (the best frozen custard in the country). There is nothing in the Bay Area remotely like it. I've given up a long time ago.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: The Dive

                              Similarly, I have found nothing similar to the fine frozen custards from Milwaukee and Detroit (the two places with outstanding frozen custard that I have experienced first hand) and have also stopped searching. I tried the frozen custard in Willow Glen and it was indistinguishable from regular soft-serve ice cream. It was nowhere close to the real thing and its absence would be no great chowhounding loss.


                              1. re: mdg

                                I'm getting that idea too. There are just some things you can't get in this area. Well, let's enjoy to fabulous gelato and ice cream here and we can have frozen custard to look forward to on the next trip.