Don’t let the heat get you all hot and bothered—scoop up some of the original Mother’s Little Helper and chill out, instead. From classic favorites at ice cream institutions to modern takes on the sweet stuff, Atlanta’s dripping with options. Read on for the scoop on where to score the best in town.

photo: iStock

Butter & Cream

All ice cream at this Decatur institution is hand-made right there in the store, and with flavors that range from classic to exotic—honey lavender fig and dark chocolate malbec, for starters—you might never leave. Check out their seasonally rotating menu for the most "now" flavors.

The Cherry On Top: Take your ice cream to go and saunter over to the nearby Little Shop of Stories—they have story times on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday!

416 Church St.
404-378-7272

661 Auburn Ave. Suite 130
404-709-2173
Online: butterandcream.com

Cathy's

You'll find gourmet ice cream sandwiches at this treasure, where you begin by choosing your cookies (there are 7 types to choose among), your ice cream (16 flavors that range from standard to exotic), and a topping, which your sandwich is rolled in. While it's not cheap—a cookie sandwich will run you a solid $10—each custom concoction is deliciously indulgent.

The Cherry On Top: Want to try your hand at making a gourmet ice cream sandwich at home? Cathy's sells cookie kits, with cookie dough ready to go and ice cream by the pint.

855 Peachtree Street
404-902-3812
Online: cathyscle.com

Vintage Frozen Custard

What started as a food truck quickly took flight and now the brick-and-mortar custard store on the West Side soars above the standard coop. Whether you like your custard straight-up or mixed with a topping (a concrete, if you want to know the lingo), you've come to the right spot.

The Cherry On Top: Feeling frisky? Give a Leige Waffle a whirl. Also, check the website for info on the Vintage food truck's Iocation, in case you can't make it to Roswell.

1075 Canton St.
Roswell, GA
678-694-8903
Online: tastevintage.com

Sub-Zero NItrogen Ice Cream

This flash-frozen ice cream is created using liquid nitrogen, which is found in the air we breathe. And the founders take the idea of science in the kitchen seriously—they even offer classroom demos and have a song about the Periodic Table on their homepage. Whatever the science behind this ice cream, it's good.

The Cherry On Top: The downtown location is a perfect place to stop after a morning at the Children's Museum or an afternoon at Centennial Olympic fountains.

250 Park Ave. W NW
Centennial Park District, Downtown

11720 Medlock Bridge Rd.
Duluth, GA
404-343-4837
Online: subzeroicecream.com

Paolo’s Gelato

From the kid-level glass case displaying fluffy mountains of the good stuff to the wafer cookie on top of every scoop, this Va-Hi sweet shop will delight kids and adults alike. If you’re a stickler for the trifecta (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry), you might be disappointed because the flavors change and trend towards nutella, zabione, rose, and amaretto. Don’t forget your cash as this joint doesn't take cards.

The Cherry On Top: It's a wafer cookie, not a cherry. But it's yummy.

1025 Virginia Ave. NE
404-607-0055
Online: paolosgelato.com

Queen of Cream

This homemade ice cream window in Inman Park starts its batches with local grass-fed dairy, and makes small batches in-house using fresh and local ingredients. Pick up your scoop at the ice cream window, located on Bernina.

The Cherry on Top: Vegan flavors, including Mango Coconut, hold their own on the menu.

337 Elizabeth St NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Online: queenofcream.com

Jake's Ice Cream

Jake’s Ice Cream can be found in many locations around town, but get it at the Irwin Street Market for the traditional ice cream parlor effect. Ice cream coolers straddle an old-fashioned ice cream bar, complete with red vinyl stools and glistening countertops. For the wobblers out there, there are also family-style kitchen tables in a lounge adjacent to the ice cream counter. Jake's impressive list of creative (and offbeat) flavors are sure to satisfy every craving in your crowd. They're also opening a new location in East Point this summer, so keep an eye out.

The Cherry On Top: The ISM houses breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dessert vendors all under one roof, so hit this spot if you just can’t bring yourself to make dinner... or lunch... or brunch... one day. It's right off the Beltline, and a worthy destination. Keep in mind that they're only open on Sat. & Sun. from 2-5 p.m., so plan your day around it.

660 Irwin St.
678-705-7945
Online: jakesicecream.com

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Think of this sweet spot as education for tiny tounges. Nestled in the hip haute spot of the Westside Provisions District, this ice cream counter serves up samples of fanciful flavors like Wildberry Lavender, Goat Cheese & Red Cherries, and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet.

The Cherry On Top: A waffle wedge comes complimentary with each scoop. Don't forget to load up on pints to take home to use to bribe the babes later.

1198 Howell Mill Rd.
404-355-6050

77 West Paces Ferry Rd., Suite 35B
470-270-8117
Online: jenis.com

photo: S. Massey

Frosty Caboose

Trains and treats? Yes, please. This sweet shop is a converted train caboose with a walk-up window serving Greenwood’s ice cream—Atlanta’s answer to Mayfield’s on a smaller scale and with wilder flavors. With a private and plentiful parking lot between the caboose and the real train track (another plus for your little train aficionados), you can either enjoy your ice cream tailgate style, or stroll the streets of downtown Chamblee as you eat.

The Cherry On Top: Can't get enough of Greenwood Ice Cream? Check out their manufacturing location not far from The Frosty Caboose. You can score an ice cream cake from one of the coolers up front if you're lucky!

5435 Peachtree Rd.
770-451-4556
Online: frostycaboose.com

Morelli's

This is ice cream the way it’s supposed to be. Morelli’s churns up conventional flavors (salted caramel will make you moan) as well as more creative combinations (think strawberry balsamic, maple bacon, or coconut jalapeño). But no matter your kids’ tastes, the creamy, smooth, rich quality of Morelli’s will have them begging for more.

The Cherry On Top: The Moreland Avenue store is a perfect stop after a day at the zoo.

749 Moreland Ave. SE,
404-622-0210

4515 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd.
770-454-2207
Online: morellisicecream.com

Kilwin's

Okay, okay—Kilwin’s is a chain—but there is only one in Georgia (in Atlantic Station) and you should go. The smell of chocolate greets guests at the door, and kids will marvel at the toys, candy cases, and decorations as they make their way back towards the ice cream. Very few things can actually distract a child from an ice cream cone, but the candy maker molding bite-sized chocolates at the front of the store just might do it.

The Cherry On Top: They make their waffle cones in-house. Yum.

1380 Atlantic Dr. Suite 14160
404-817-7500

251 Market St.
Alpharetta, GA
470-268-4328
Online: kilwins.com

 

Featured image Patrick Fore via Unsplash

—Shelley Massey

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