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Where can I find some Frozen Custard?

Growing up in the midwest a weekly trip to Leon's Frozen Custard was the ultimate treat. Now I only indulge when I make my annual trip back home. First stop from the airport is Leon's. Are there any frozen custard stands anywhere in So Cal worth driving to.

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  1. Stricklands
    4523 Campus Drive
    Irvine, California


    2 Replies
    1. re: monku

      In checking the ingredients list on Strickland's website it seems that their product does not contain eggs, and thus is not frozen custard. If you look at their website, they refer to their product as "ice cream". Do they also sell frozen custard at their stores?

      1. re: josephnl

        Concur it technically isn't frozen custard, but when the "soft serve" subject comes up Strickland is mentioned several times.

    2. Used to be a frozen custard place called Lickety Split that started in El Segundo and expanded to Mahattan Beach and had a location at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood....I don't know are they still in business?
      They made some good frozen custard.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monku

        they always had problems paying the rent, especially as they tried to run it as a seasonal business, only opening in summer.
        last time i talked to the owner, he lost the lease on the el segundo branch and was trying to keep the one in manhattan going, but that one's been gone for a year or two now.
        pretty sad, because they did make good custard.

        1. re: alkylyou

          Too bad. The El Segundo store was the original right.
          I would talk to the owner (Scott ?) and he was passionate about frozen custard from the flavors he was working on to the machines he'd acquired (they weren't new...they were classic frozen custard machines he'd acquired from around the country). My limited frozen custard experience was through Lickety Split, I thought it tasted good-rich and creamy. They also did an excellent chili dog at the Egyptian Theater location.

      2. lucky devil's in hollywood

        1. I really miss Leon's too and I am always on the lookout for frozen custard. The Lickety Split in Manhattan Beach is closed now, but I didn't think it was good at all. Thanks to the other posters for the info on other places to try. I don't know why it is so hard to import this.
          My dream is to one day open a Leon's clone here in SoCal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mke2lax

            Along with you other transplanted Milwaukeans, I too miss the outstanding frozen custard. My first stop when visiting family is always Kopps.

            A number of people over the years have tried to make a go of frozen custard in Southern California. No go. Different culture, I guess. Can't really get great pizza here either. Or great BBQ. Or a cat puppet that delivers the weather forecast. (sigh)

            1. re: Nukedli

              We have Jillian....that's almost as good as Albert the Alley Cat! =)

          2. I had an amazing frozen creme brulee (basically a custard) at Local in Silverlake this weekend. It was a special that night so I guess you should call ahead to see if they're still serving it. Out of curiousity, why/how is frozen custard different from ice cream? I've made ice cream before and the base seems to be essentially the same as a custard, but the frozen custards I've had do seem distinct from regular ice cream. Is it frozen in a different way, i.e. not in an ice cream maker?

            2 Replies
            1. re: waferthin

              Waferthin: There really isn't anything in Southern California to compare with this regional treat. I'd say great frozen custard is to ice cream as great BBQ ribs are to diner meatloaf. Its richer (with higher butterfat and added egg yolk), its tastier (creamier and smoother on the tongue), and It tastes fresher than ice cream.

              Check out Kopps or Leon's in Milwaukee or search for some frozen custard shop reviews. Even on those coldest days of winter on the frozen tundra, there are long lines for Milwaukee's frozen custard.

              1. re: culinarycandy

                Not having come from the midwest, I know that the search for "frozen custard" has been somewhat of a mystery to me until now.

                Nearly all ice cream is frozen custard... what we're referring to is apparently midwestern style frozen custard, which uses a special extruder, more egg yolks, etc. as you outline above.

                This probably should be clarified, much in the same way we clarify pizza as "New York style", etc, so as to abate confusion.

                Mr Taster

            2. What's CARVEL??
              Is that not frozen custard??
              There's 2 that I know in west LA.

              2 Replies
              1. re: M Blues

                Frozen custard is basically the same recipe as ice cream except it includes eggs. Carvel is soft serve ice cream not frozen custard.

                1. re: monku


                  It seems that many people tend to define by texture rather than by the literal definition of what custard is.

                  Helping to confuse matters are places like "Stricklands Frozen Custard", which it is not, because they don't use eggs in their product. It's confusing to those who don't know, and nerve-wracking to those who do. (I guess that leaves the people who don't care-- I'd guess they're fine with the status quo).

                  Custard is milk/cream, eggs, sugar (and flavorings, like vanilla) cooked over low heat until the proteins in the egg denature into a silky smooth texture. Stick that same mixture in an ice cream maker and voila, you have frozen custard... or if you prefer, you can call it "French style" vanilla ice cream. But it is, literally, frozen custard. It's a custard which has been frozen into ice cream.

                  The VAST majority of homemade ice cream recipes (note: not called "frozen custard") use this simple base as a starter for almost all flavors and is rarely referred to as "frozen custard", though it is.

                  Ice cream made without eggs is just ice cream, not frozen custard. Sometimes referred to as "Philadelphia" or "New York" style.

                  Therefore, any soft serve ice cream which contains eggs would be frozen custard, and any soft serve which does not contain eggs is just ice cream... irrespective of texture and consistency.

                  Mr Taster

              2. The Greater Ozlet went to college in St. Louis, and one of the many reasons I loved visiting her there was the frozen custard at Ted Drewes on Chippewa St. Oh my golly gosh! Why ISN'T good frozen custard to be had in Los Angeles?!?

                1 Reply
                1. re: ozhead

                  It was to be had at Silky Smooth for over 4 years, Big J's in Tustin a few years ago, Kill Devil's in Lake Forest a few years ago, and Theron's right now in Redlands. LA locals only understand soft-serve yogurt, and not enough transplants were faithful to these shops. All 4 of them were (and in the case of Theron's, are) excellent quality, they had the right machines, the right flavor, and were served fresh always, unlike Lickity Split which blew it by hard-freezing theirs in barrels (rarely served fresh, only at Hollywood location for a short time).
                  Bottom Line? Not enough of us midwest transplant fans to keep them in business, not enough locals to try a product with such an unfortunate name. Only hope for the future is to not call it "frozen custard", but to sell exactly the same product wit a different label that will resonate with locals.

                2. I've never had the authentic midwestern version, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but the Pitfire Pizza branch on Westwood Blvd. just started serving Straus Creamery's frozen custard. I thought it was delicious. They only have one size serving ($3.25), but I thought it was pretty generous - couldn't finish it myself. They also offer a few toppings - caramel, chocolate, or fresh strawberries, if I recall correctly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jme

                    I called Straus Creamery last week, and they told me it's a 6% soft-serve mix, NOT frozen custard. And, Pitfire uses a soft-serve machine, which pumps it full of air. So, sorry, this stuff is not even close to the ultra-gourmet product that this thread is all about.

                  2. Don't know if it is still in business but there was a Silky Smooth Frozen Custard stand in the Beverly Center (7th floor near Macy's). Frankly, I was not that impressed by it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bob Brooks

                      Silky Smooth is no longer in the Beverly Center, but if you weren't impressed by it, then you wouldn't be impressed by ANY frozen custard. They used the very same process and the very same Wisconsin Dairy as Kopps, which along with Leon's and Ted Drewes (if you like honey), are considered the gold standard for frozen custard nationwide. Silky Smooth was a little sketchy during its first year or so, but they really got it together after the summer of '05, after they got rid of the "custard" name. Sure hope they can come back soon...

                    2. The only genuine Midwest-Style, extruded frozen custard (with eggs, unlike Strickland's) at the moment in SoCal is Theron's Frozen Custard in Redlands, open Fri/Sat/Sun only.


                      A bit of a drive, but sure beats making the haul to Las Vegas or Phoenix, which do have several frozen custard shops each. Be sure to call ahead before you go, and if they just ran a new batch, you will feel like you are in Milwaukee or St Louis! Great Stuff!!

                      1. Wow-I just had my first taste of frozen custard last month in New Mexico, and honestly, I don't know how I ever lived without it! I went online to find some, and found Stricklands, but was having a hard time deciphering if it was really frozen custard that they had. Is Lickety Split on Hollywood still open? Thats in my hood. And Lucky Devils you say??

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: schrutefarms

                          Lickity Split closed all stores 2 years ago. Lucky Devils is ok, but its soft-serve, so it cannot compare with the real deal like you had. Silky Smooth was awesome, they may reopen sometime in the future. Strickland's is made with the right type of extrusion machine, but does not contain eggs so it is NOT frozen custard. Also, they use HFCS in their recipe, unfortunately.
                          Theron's is the only genuine frozen custard shop open in SoCal now, see my post above.

                          1. re: culinarycandy

                            And unfortunately, if you order stuff to be sent from Ted Drewe's, it ain't the same thing as sitting on your car hood in the parking lot on Chippewa. Not even close.

                        2. I was tipped off a few months ago that Neptune's Net in Malibu was serving frozen custard, so I called them and they said they were...I finally made it up there last week, and I gotta tell ya, this was the absolute worst "frozen custard" I have ever had in my life. Not only was it cheap, air-filled soft-serve, but the texture literally seemed like it had sand in it (well, it's right across from the beach, maybe it did!), and the flavor was awful. I tried the chocolate, too, and it was so messed up that it was full of un-mixed chocolate particles in it, as if they forgot to blend the liquid before pouring it into the machine.
                          Neptunes Net is actually a great restaurant, I loved the seafood I had (shrimp was to die for)
                          and it's a real fun place to hang after a day on the beach. Too bad they don't have a clue what frozen custard is supposed to be.