HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >

Montco or Bucks Local Ice Cream

AmyRF25 Aug 23, 2008 10:16 AM

Hi Everyone,

Looking for some recommendations for good local ice cream places. We've tried Longarce's (yummy) and Grida's in Richlandtown, but we're looking for some more...any suggestions?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. n
    nevets RE: AmyRF25 Aug 23, 2008 10:51 AM

    Zwahlen's Ice Cream & Chocolate
    670 Shannondell Blvd.
    Audubon, PA 19403
    (610) 635-0115

    Merrymead Farm
    2222 S Valley Forge Rd
    Lansdale, PA 19446
    (610) 584-4410

    Freddy Hill Farm
    1440 Sumneytown Pike
    Lansdale PA, 19446

    4 Replies
    1. re: nevets
      malkazanie RE: nevets Aug 23, 2008 05:37 PM

      Merrymead is my favorite of those three. Their Graham Slam ice cream really rings my bell. The milk from there is especially delicious as well.

      1. re: nevets
        givemecarbs RE: nevets Aug 23, 2008 11:23 PM

        Dunno about the Adubon place but Merrymead and Freddy Hill also have fresh picked corn right now as an added allure!

        1. re: nevets
          JohnnyKBar RE: nevets Aug 24, 2008 06:12 PM

          There was a writeup of Zwahlen's in the Inqy a couple years ago that was favorable and said that the owners got inspiration for their frozen custard from Ted Drewe's in St. Louis. I had to check it out and really enjoyed it. I'm particularly partial to the Cardinal Sin at TD's (vanilla custard, hot fudge & tart cheries), but alas & alack, they didn't have a similar one, so I tried one of their other sundaes. Definitely worth swinging by if you're in the area.

          1. re: JohnnyKBar
            jkml RE: JohnnyKBar May 20, 2010 09:37 AM

            There was a nice write up on the Holly Eats site, which made us go visit Zwahlen's. We really enjoyed it, very much reminded us of Midwestern Custard. It is different than most of the custard here in the east, which is rather bland and squirts out like Dairy Queen. It is richer when made well, a harder ice cream, and often flavored and is made fresh throughout the day. Theirs was very good, the hot fudge topping on my sundae was good, a bit sweeter than I'd prefer, but tasty and they sell it also. They also sell chocolate. Oh, I wish we lived closer! Worth a special trip on a quiet weekend, maybe in conjunction with another enjoyable activity in the area. But beware! It is closed Sundays-the first time we tried to try it we found out.

        2. j
          JNUNZMAN RE: AmyRF25 Aug 23, 2008 11:17 AM

          I never realized that Shady Brook Farms in Newtown/Yardley makes their own hard ice cream and has a nice little place to sit outside and a walkup window.
          In the borough of Yardley is the Yardley Ice House. Excellent ices and some very inventive flavors.

          1. j
            Jdbc RE: AmyRF25 Aug 23, 2008 11:59 AM

            Try Rosenberger's on Forty Foot and Koffel Rds. in Hatfield. It's incredibly inexpensive too.

            1. s
              SweetLisa RE: AmyRF25 Aug 24, 2008 12:43 AM

              Tanner Brothers Dairy
              1070 Hatboro Rd.

              I'm in LA now and thought I'd drop by and saw this post.
              How I miss eating ice cream by the fences and watching the cows graze!
              Goodnoe's is now gone. That use to be a treat.
              Good luck.
              Back to my traffic and smog!

              4 Replies
              1. re: SweetLisa
                givemecarbs RE: SweetLisa Aug 24, 2008 02:46 AM

                Goodnoe's is gone???? The one in Newtown? Nooooooo!

                1. re: givemecarbs
                  cwdonald RE: givemecarbs Aug 24, 2008 07:20 AM

                  Goodenoe's has been gone almost two years... they closed on Labor Day weekend in 2006. The whole restaurant has been knocked down and turned into a strip mall. One of the businesses that has sprung up there is a Newtown branch of the pizza restaurant Jule's Thin Crust, that is also in Doylestown.

                  1. re: cwdonald
                    maddoxdy RE: cwdonald Aug 24, 2008 03:47 PM

                    I used to be the bus driver for a group senior ladies that went out to lunch every Saturday. We would go at least twice a year. They were very sad to see it go.

                    We also lost the Ice Cream Factory in Coopersburg. It's a bank now.

                  2. re: givemecarbs
                    sommrluv RE: givemecarbs May 27, 2010 11:43 AM

                    Goodnoe's re-opened an ice cream only shop.

                2. s
                  SarahEats RE: AmyRF25 Aug 24, 2008 10:30 AM

                  There's a new ice cream place where Goodnoe's in Newtown used to be - I think it's called Sweet Pea. They make a really good toasted coconut ice cream.

                  There's also the Zebra Striped Whale in Newtown. And someone already mentioned Shady Brook Farm ice cream.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: SarahEats
                    foodrun RE: SarahEats Jul 17, 2010 07:51 PM

                    Goodnoes is still around. Just drove by today. They are next door to the old Stockburger Chevrolet site.

                  2. d
                    dmb_ant RE: AmyRF25 Sep 26, 2008 09:27 PM

                    I'm personally partial to Merrymead. so good. my fav. flavors: mocha chip, cherry cheesecake, among others.

                    1. Den RE: AmyRF25 Sep 27, 2008 03:38 PM

                      If you like gelato, there's a little place in Ambler on Main Street about a block or so off Butler. I forget the name but the gelato is excellent.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Den
                        TeamPhilly RE: Den May 28, 2010 05:05 PM

                        The gelato place in Ambler is Toto's. It is on Main Street which in Ambler is NOT the main street. Main Street is near the train tracks and parallel to them. The street that runs through town is Butler Avenue which also has a gelato place near the movie theater diagnonally across from Rita's. But Toto's has been on Main Street about 8 years and makes their own stuff.

                        Main Street Cafe
                        126 E Main St, Elkton, MD 21921

                        1. re: TeamPhilly
                          AmblerGirl RE: TeamPhilly Jun 5, 2010 07:41 PM

                          I love love love Toto's, it is by far the absolute best gelato around. When I was pregnant i think I had their double chocolate gelato every day! Their fruit flavors are amazing - limoncello, mango, blood orange (I often mix the three). They also have a fabulous chocolte hazelnut one called Donatella. From the Boot serves Toto's gelato.

                          Cafe Maida (the one across from the theater) serves very good gelato, agree their banana carmel is delicous. Great spot for an after dinner treat and people watching. Even though I go there often and really do enjoy Cafe maida, I still have to say that Toto's wins the great Ambler gelato contest (as if there is one!).

                        2. re: Den
                          truffles2 RE: Den Jun 3, 2010 02:16 PM

                          There is also awesome gelato at Cafe Maida in Ambler. On a corner across from Rita's. Just had the banana carmel last week. Had to stop myself from placing a second order!

                        3. b
                          Bigley9 RE: AmyRF25 May 27, 2010 12:48 PM

                          Have you tried oWowCow in Ottsville? Great local ingredients paired with the best ingredients from around the world (ie: different types of vanilla beans)

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: Bigley9
                            AmyRF25 RE: Bigley9 May 28, 2010 04:52 PM

                            oWowCow is delicious. Everyone should give it a try.

                            1. re: AmyRF25
                              JohnnyKBar RE: AmyRF25 May 29, 2010 01:12 PM

                              oWowCow has a facebook page and do a great job of letting you know what they have & when they extend (or contract) their hours. It's great when they have new flavors like strawberry rhubarb (as they have now.)

                              1. re: JohnnyKBar
                                teddybare RE: JohnnyKBar Jun 2, 2010 04:02 AM

                                Tried O Wow Cow last night. Looking forward to the next rip. Tried the Strawberry Rhubarb, OMG!

                                1. re: teddybare
                                  Bigley9 RE: teddybare Jun 3, 2010 09:07 AM

                                  I live in CC but pass there occassionally on my way to a friends home - It is amazingly good

                            2. re: Bigley9
                              Velvet Elvis RE: Bigley9 Jul 13, 2010 09:50 PM

                              Thank you for this rec. We have been about once a week since I first saw your post, and we have never been disappointed with oWowCow. It is by far the best ice cream we have tried in the area.

                              1. re: Velvet Elvis
                                Bigley9 RE: Velvet Elvis Jul 14, 2010 10:40 AM

                                You are making me jealous - I wish I lived close enough to go weekly! (I am in CC Phila)

                                1. re: Velvet Elvis
                                  sommrluv RE: Velvet Elvis Jul 14, 2010 11:49 AM

                                  We tried O Wow Cow for the first time a week or two ago. I had a half scoop green tea & half expresso chip and my husband had half scoop nutty nutella and...something else I can't remember. :)

                                  My green tea was creamy, and the expresso chip was good but not very coffee-y. My husbands nutty nutella had raw nuts in it that were an awful texture. They also had three vanilla's available, but not one chocolate based flavor. I appreciated the interesting mix of flavors, the stellar customer service...but I wasn't knocked out of my socks.

                                  On a side note...we bought a pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes there that were perfect in every way.

                                  1. re: sommrluv
                                    JohnnyKBar RE: sommrluv Jul 15, 2010 04:13 AM

                                    Their chocolate "I Hate Chocolate" is made with a ganache, so it's really decadent, but it's a bit more labor intensive than most chocolates, so they may have just been out. The "I Hate" is about making it. It's certainly not for the taste.
                                    The three vanillas are really different. We are so used to Madagascar, that we don't appreciate the others. Tahitian makes a much better ice cream, imho. The mexican was less memorable.
                                    I know they turn over the flavors fairly quickly, so they'd probably appreciate the feedback. I know the first time I had the mint chip, I didn't care for the commercial mini-chips, but they've since fixed that one. I'm just glad we have someone up her experimenting and hitting mostly doubles or triples.
                                    Also, they take suggestions on their facebook page.

                                    1. re: JohnnyKBar
                                      sommrluv RE: JohnnyKBar Jul 15, 2010 10:39 AM

                                      Mint chip was was my husband had! LOL. Thanks for the memory jog. It was good, but again, it wasn't "fabulous".

                                      It might very well be one of those cases...you tell everyone how beautiful someone is, and their expectations are raised, and they think the person is unattractive. They tell the next person that the woman in question is ugly, and they think she is breathtaking.

                                      Possibly I had over-exalted expectations. It's probably worth a second trip to taste their vanilla. It was certainly very busy and the staff was really pleasant.

                                      1. re: sommrluv
                                        watercress RE: sommrluv Jul 17, 2010 07:58 AM

                                        I've been there a lot of times. It's a wonderful place. Not all the flavors have the perfect balance in my opinion-- some are too weakly flavored, but if I were grading the place (sorry-- used to teach), I'd give it an A minus or an A. That's still pretty damned good.

                                        1. re: watercress
                                          JohnnyKBar RE: watercress Jul 17, 2010 01:42 PM

                                          I'd have to agree with you there. I'm much more forgiving of a less-than-mind-blowing flavor there because I know it's likely a single batch and they just seem to be getting better and better as they go. Since they aren't market testing every flavor and making them from scratch, I can cut them a break for everything not being "perfect". It's still darn tasty.

                                2. re: Bigley9
                                  bucksgirl RE: Bigley9 May 8, 2011 09:33 AM

                                  oWowCow is opening another branch, supposedly in late May, in Wrightstown

                                3. s
                                  sommrluv RE: AmyRF25 Jun 6, 2010 09:22 AM

                                  Nelson's Ice cream...it's made in royersford, and this is better than anything I've ever had. They have a chocolate or vanilla moose tracks...it had a dark salted chocolate fudge ripple going through it...out of this world. I get them at the dairy, but there's a list here:


                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: sommrluv
                                    Laura D. RE: sommrluv Jun 6, 2010 10:55 AM

                                    I've only had hand-dipped Nelson's Ice cream one time, but I have had it by the pre-packed container several other times. It is very, very good ice cream. I just wish it were available at more places near me, though the link you sent is very helpful for locating it!

                                    1. re: sommrluv
                                      grlwhoeats RE: sommrluv Jul 12, 2010 11:36 AM

                                      Hate to burst anyone's bubble, but I think it's no coincidence that Merrymead, Tanner's and Nelsons all have the same EXACT flavors and icecream names. Maybe they make their own chocolate and vanilla icecream on site, but I suspect that all the flavors are from mixes, just like the Bruster's icecream CHAIN. My dad worked for a large bakery/food supply company that made mixes to sell to bakeries, icecream shoppes, etc. They can still say "homemade" and be on this side of honest if they make the vanilla and chocolate icecream on site, but to keep their costs down, just about everyone mixes in all the "flavors" from only 2 or 3 different vendors who supply them. So, Merrymead and Nelson's both carry the "Graham Slam"- it's vanilla icecream with a mix pour in, I'd betcha. It would not be cost effective for these farm stores to make all of these mixes from scratch. Just sayin'. You'd be surprised how many bakeries use mixes from large vendors as well- tasted one donut, tasted them all, quite frankly. Hardly any "from scratch" recipes anymore...

                                      135 State Highway 70 N, Medford, NJ 08055

                                      1. re: grlwhoeats
                                        Laura D. RE: grlwhoeats Jul 12, 2010 11:54 AM

                                        Hi grilwhoeats,
                                        You make a really good point that I can't speak well too since I've only had Tanner's Ice Cream one time and Nelson's about three times and have never had Merrymead. I will say, however, that I remember Nelson's, even when not hand-dipped and thus possibly not as fresh, to rock the socks off of Tanner's Ice Cream which I found to be a disappointment (not bad, but not great). If there is a mix involved but the base of the ice cream is still made from scratch, I wonder how much that really matters in whether an ice cream is truly homemade or not. I guess it depends on what you deem "homemade" to mean. I wouldn't be surprised if what you say is true, though, because given that it is truly difficult to find a bakery that makes everything, cake, frosting, fondant, etc) from scratch I'm sure it is difficult to find an ice cream purveyor who does either. From a marketing perspective, if these places are making ice cream from the same mix it seems like it would be in their favor to alter the names slightly ("Graham Slam" to "Graham Kablam" or something equally obnoxious sounding) so that people don't automatically make the assumption that the ice cream at one place is in fact the same as the ice cream at another place.

                                        1. re: Laura D.
                                          Bob Loblaw RE: Laura D. Jul 12, 2010 11:59 AM

                                          there was an article i read about that guy in San Francisco making various avant-garde flavors. He started with a mix he bought. Apparently it was a (city? state? ) regulation, for anyone not pasteurizing on site.
                                          no idea what the PA laws on this are, but that *might* be relevant.

                                          1. re: Bob Loblaw
                                            grlwhoeats RE: Bob Loblaw Jul 12, 2010 12:22 PM

                                            CA is kooky. I've no idea about the PA laws. I would think if the farm stores are allowed to sell their own milk, then icecream shouldn't be a problem as long as it does not include raw ingredients. Some farmers markets even sell un-pasteurized milk in PA. Eh, look, I've only met maybe one or two icecreams that I didn't like, so all 3 are good to me! Tanner's is the best price. Nelson's is the most expensive, especially for a sundae. I suppose Laura D. that it would be smart to change the names, but it's not like they are very very nearby. We love icecream. My folks live near Tanner's, Merrymead is halfway between us and I'm near Royersford so I've had all three- all in the same summer (it was the kids' idea- really!) and that's when I noticed the names of the icecream flavors all being the same. I have a weird memory for stuff like that. Oh well. I really don't like Bruster's at all. In fact, I'd rather have a thick vanilla shake from the local Sonic than the tasteless, sickly sweet more milk than icecream "shake" from Brusters. Oh, I've been to Zwahlens twice as well- it was good, different kind of eggy tasting very thick custard- got the apple dumpling, vanilla custard thing. Know what I want- a gelateria out here in the burbs. Yes I do.

                                            135 State Highway 70 N, Medford, NJ 08055

                                            1. re: grlwhoeats
                                              sommrluv RE: grlwhoeats Jul 12, 2010 06:05 PM

                                              (sonic's shakes are surprisingly good!...could give or take anything else there).

                                              Speaking of custard...any custard shops around here, or do I have to go to the shore?

                                              1. re: sommrluv
                                                Itsreal RE: sommrluv Jul 18, 2010 05:36 AM

                                                I heard about a new Frozen Custard, where the custard is made fresh daily and scooped like they make in the Midwest (no soft serve) is under construction in Paoli. www.jakesfrozencustard.com

                                                1. re: Itsreal
                                                  sommrluv RE: Itsreal Jul 19, 2010 11:09 AM


                                              2. re: grlwhoeats
                                                Bacchus101 RE: grlwhoeats May 11, 2011 04:40 AM

                                                I did not read back far enough in this string to note your point regarding mixes. I can say that the Scoop Shop I worked in as a kid did use mixes to flavor their vanilla which was made at a central location supplying just 3 stores. Good point regarding how could a small operation make all this from scratch and survive or maintain a price point acceptable to patrons. The same name might be a give-away or it may be taking advantage of a favorable identity, ie Graham Slam. Interesting insights and thoughts.

                                              3. re: Bob Loblaw
                                                rutabaga RE: Bob Loblaw Jul 13, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                I wouldn't knock a place just because it doesn't make the stuff completely from scratch. If that guy in SF makes flavors like "secret breakfast" (bourbon and cornflakes) (read the article too), the end result is probably completely dependent on what flavors you add, the quality of those extra flavors and ingredients, and probably there are better-quality and lesser-quality ice cream bases out there, too.

                                            2. re: grlwhoeats
                                              sommrluv RE: grlwhoeats Jul 12, 2010 06:04 PM

                                              I would agree, if Nelsons were a farm store. It's actually a manufacturer, but they do have their own store. They sell to most of the farms in the area. They even boast that do make their own mix from scratch on site in royersford. They also have sweet cream ice cream, mint...flavors other than vanilla/chocolate

                                              Making homemade ice cream is fairly easy with today's inexpensive machinery. The tanners were neighbors of ours and I was fairly confident they mixed their own. Now, are they making graham crackers and pounding them? I wouldn't expect them to.

                                              I totally see where you are coming from, but if they are making the ice cream themselves, I'm pretty happy with that. I do think Nelson's salted fudge is unlike anything I'd ever had around here.

                                              As far as the flavors...there's so many regional favorites I think calling them the same name is just good marketing sense.

                                          2. m
                                            mary0201 RE: AmyRF25 Jun 24, 2010 10:26 AM

                                            Check out Uncle Dave's at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley. Very good. We are always torn between that and the Yardley Ice house for Water Ice or Gelatis.

                                            1. cheesewit RE: AmyRF25 Jul 13, 2010 09:19 AM

                                              Merrymead does not make their own ice cream. Don't be misled. Freddy Hill Farms does. Zwahlen's and Freddy Hill make the best ice creams in this part of Montco. Zwahlen's is very much like the frozen custards of the midwest.

                                              1. g
                                                givemecarbs RE: AmyRF25 Jul 18, 2010 05:56 PM

                                                Was at Merrymead around 8 pm tonight and boy was it ice cream weather! Lots of folks went there to get their ice cream fix. It was so mobbed that I passed on the frosty shake I was contemplating getting and just snagged corn, cherries and some heavily discounted annuals. It always makes me smile to see that place doing well. I think it would break my heart if it was sold to a developer. Go open farmland!!!!

                                                1. s
                                                  SnowCat RE: AmyRF25 Jul 19, 2010 04:49 PM

                                                  It's somewhat out of the way, but I highly recommend the Inside Scoop in Coopersburg. The flavors change with the season (maple bacon ice cream in the fall!) and they have liege waffle sundaes. The homemade ice cream is so delicious. http://www.theinsidescoop.com/

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: SnowCat
                                                    JohnnyKBar RE: SnowCat Jul 19, 2010 06:41 PM

                                                    I've been wondering how that place is. I noticed that it opened up right before they ripped up 309 though town. Bad timing, but I saw they were still open today. I'll have to stop in one of these days, especially if the ice cream is good.

                                                  2. Bacchus101 RE: AmyRF25 May 8, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                    Zwahlens makes what I consider very good high quality hard custard ice cream. As most Ice Cream is good it is the degree of goodness which sets Zwahlen's apart. The only problem I have with them is that they only make 3 flavors. As a teen funding gas for my first set of wheels;I worked in a 48 flavors scoop shop. The ice cream there was like most others, cold, creamy and good, not great. I do love Zwahlen's but I do miss the variety of flavors and the create-your-own concept is not quite the same thing for me as that big board with the 48 flavors.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bacchus101
                                                      wmtairyite RE: Bacchus101 May 9, 2011 07:58 PM

                                                      Cherries Ice Cream Parlor just opened in Jenkintown. They serve Hershey's ice creams- many different flavors to choose from. It's on Old York Road across from Trader Joes

                                                      Ice Cream Parlor
                                                      32 Clinton St, Delaware City, DE 19706

                                                    2. d
                                                      doylestownhoppie RE: AmyRF25 Jul 23, 2012 05:54 PM

                                                      Oh WoW COW near Nockamixon is very good as is Sweet Peas ice cream attached to the Doylestown Inn, I just had Nelson's Ice Cream which I used to really like and I was so disappointed. Moose Trails had hardly anything but vanilla ice cream and very rare pieces of chocolate so much so that I am inclined to call them as they have no e-mail.

                                                      Show Hidden Posts