Ask me what my favorite food is and I’ll say ice cream. Every time. It’s not only been a childhood dessert staple, it’s now my family’s so-to sweet treat. So, what better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month than by celebrating the best of the Buckeye State and the best ice cream in Ohio! Here’s a salute to Ohio’s favorite ice cream shops from top to bottom and in the middle, too.
1. Johnson’s Real Ice Cream – Dublin, Ohio
The Kid and I had the pleasure of popping into Johnson’s last month for a cool treat. With two locations to choose from, we taste-tasted at its Dublin, Ohio location and had a hard time narrowing down our favorite from its 40 flavors. But we did come up with a winner: Buckeye Fever. The fourth generation shop has a whimsical theme and is filled with photos from the family’s beginnings.
2. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
You’ll find Jeni’s at several locations around Cleveland and Columbus, but our fave is its first location at North Market in the heart of Ohio’s capital city. The ice cream company has fun and creative flavors like Wildberry Lavender and Goat Cheese with red Cherries (so delish and decadent!). Even better? If you don’t live near a location Jeni’s will ship your favorite flavor straight to your door.
3. Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream
Mardi Gras has such a fun history. Right off Route 270 in Columbus and owned by an Indian immigrant missing the flavors of home, she started Mardi Gras to incorporate traditional Indian flavors into her homemade ice cream. A fan fave is Kesar Pista blending saffron, cardamom, and pistachio.
4. Velvet Ice Cream
I’m lucky that I can grab a pint of Velvet Ice Cream in our local Giant Eagle, but sometimes a visit to its home base in Utica, Ohio is a must. The Ohio State Fair loves Velvet so much that its annual official flavor is so popular there’s a contest to create the next one every year. We’ve had the pleasure of trying Elephant Ear and Blueberry Sweet Corn and, while they’re only seasonal, they’re a must.
5. Young’s Jersey Dairy
Head near Dayton, Ohio to Yellow Springs and you’ll find Young’s. Just about an hour west of Columbus sits not only an ice cream shop but a fully-functional and working dairy farm offering everything from an onsite restaurant to putt putt golf. Want to taste test a unique flavor? Ask for the Cow Patty – dark chocolate ice cream filled with chocolate cookie pieces, toffee chunks, and mini chocolate chips.
6. Tom’s Ice Cream
Head an hour east of Columbus and you have to hit Tom’s. A Zanesville staple since the late 1940’s, don’t let the shop’s exterior fool you. Walk inside and you’ll see a fun blast from the past including its ice cream servers in black bow ties and those cool paper hats that kids love to try on. While ice cream is its forte, the shop also serves housemade chocolates and freshly-roasted nuts. Want to try its iconic sundae? Ask for the Tin Roof.
We love the name Dairy Isle considering its location on Put-in-Bay (one of the Lake Erie Islands). Sure, its soft serve ice cream is a must when visiting the island, but kids will adorer the fun outdoor play area that includes a jet ski, rowboat, and sand pit.
7. Second Street Dari Creme
Second Street Dari Creme is a hot spot to cool off in Portsmouth, Ohio. you’ll spy the city’s Ohio River flood wall murals and can grab an ice cream scoop or two while you’re admiring the pretty artwork.
8. The Dairy Depot
While there’s only three flavors on the menu at The Dairy Depot in Delaware, Ohio (just north of Columbus), there’s a reason why. Its vanilla, chocolate, and orange soft serve get rave reviews and help you narrow down your choice in a flash.
Do you have a favorite Ohio ice cream shop? Did we miss your favorite place to enjoy ice cream in Ohio? Let us know in the comment section below!
Special thanks to Johnson’s Real Ice Cream in Dublin, Ohio for the taste test!