You scream, I scream, we all scream... because it’s June in Atlanta and it’s fucking hot out. Our dreaded nickname (don’t you dare say it) has again become our hated reality. As everyone attempts to mooch off other people’s pools and/or air conditioners, some of us are beating the heat with a hearty scoop (or three) of fresh, delicious ice cream. The city has great options no matter if you prefer a cone, a cup, or a sandwich. Now the only question you have left to answer is: are you team ice cream, or team gelato?
If you spot the giant ice cream cone on the curb, Paolo’s is ready to scoop its gelato for you. The flavor you should absolutely demolish is the “Straciatella,” a scrumptious blend of milk-based gelato and rich chocolate shavings. It’s the right amount of sweet, no matter your palate. Get a second scoop of one of his floral ice creams -- lavender or rose. If you happen to run into Paolo, ask him his favorite scoop. He has a habit of whipping up some unique one-offs.
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This ice cream shop, owned by a former pharmaceutical rep, lives up to its tagline -- “Atlanta’s Favorite Ice Cream.” Morelli’s ice cream is as thick as it is creamy. And its signature salted caramel is totally worth standing in line for at the East Atlanta location. The spot is also known for churning some crazy flavors, too: sweet corn, oatmeal cream pie, krispy kreamier, dark chocolate chili, and rosewater are just some of them. Visit the online library for the full... scoop (sorry not sorry).
Old Fourth Ward
This is the only company in Atlanta making its ice cream from scratch. What’s that mean? For starters, it means that it’s damn good. From homemade marshmallows to unique flavors (like candied fennel), this gal knows how to think outside the box… or carton… or whatever ice cream comes in. Try the Ooey Gooey Butter, or a scoop of the dairy-free coconut -- if you’re intolerant. If you need a pick-me-up, pair your favorite flavor with an affogato, a scoop in a mug with espresso, or stop by for Milkshake Mondays, where you can snag a shake for a measly $5.
Small-batch? Check. From scratch? Double check. Butter & Cream offers about 20 flavors at any given time, made with real cream right behind the counter. Honeycomb Forest, Cashew Creme Brulee, and Caramelatte Crunch should top your list of flavors to try first. If you’re lactose-intolerant, rest easy, as the dairy-free sorbets are also to die for. Pick up a scoop of the Grapefruit Campari or Good Word Brewing Passion. And sprinkles are always free, so go crazy, you animal.
Old Fourth Ward
Honey fig, fresh mint, brown butter, Meyer lemon -- are you drooling yet? Honeysuckle has some of the creamiest flavors in the city. Stop by its Ponce City Market storefront to pick up a scoop and make it a sandwich. Again, make it a sandwich! Choose between brownie, pie crust, or doughnuts for the ultimate delectable treat. Don’t want a scoop? Fine, no worries! Pick up a milkshake instead. Also, 5% of the profits go to the Atlanta Food Bank, so your meals mean a meal for someone else.
The first frozen custard in Atlanta landed on the Westside and we’re so, so glad. This spot offers the classic vanilla and chocolate along with a flavor of the day. Our favorite? Definitely Froot Loops. Each flavor is fed into a barrel and the mix is rapidly frozen with very little air and small ice crystals, giving you an incredibly smooth spoonful. Come for the ice cream, but stay for one of its Everydaes -- a sundae concoction that comes in salted caramel, s’mores, and other dope flavors. Tip: there’s no seating available, so plan to take your picnic elsewhere.
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1. Paolo's Gelato1025 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta
2. Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream749 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta
3. Queen of Cream701 Highland Ave NE #1, Atlanta
4. Butter & Cream416 Church St, Decatur
5. Honeysuckle Gelato675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta
6. Vintage Frozen Custard1021 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta
Run by an Italian expat (aka Paolo), this gelato shop in Virginia-Highlands serves authentic gelato from a roster of 60-plus flavors. The weekly selection is limited to 10 or so flavors, but expect a mix of classics like chocolate, stracciatella, and tiramisu alongside more inventive flavors like floral jasmine and geranium. Paolo's also serves Italian coffee, espresso, and custom-filled cannoli.
This neighborhood ice cream shop in East Atlanta doles out insanely thick and creamy scoops in a counter-serve parlor. Led by a former pharmaceutical rep, the Morelli's team has come up with more than 200 (and counting!) flavors, all of which are categorized in the website's "Flavor Library." Expect crazy -- but delicious -- takes like sweet corn, oatmeal cream pie, and dark chocolate chili.
Before Cora Cotrim (aka the Queen of Cream) opened her Old Fourth Ward artisanal ice cream shop, she sold her scratch-made speciality at farmers markets throughout Atlanta. She makes the ice cream completely from scratch starting with the base, which she pasteurizes herself instead of using a pre-made one. Aside from signature and seasonal flavors like burnt-sugar caramel, sprinkle cookie, and blueberry cobbler, Queen of Cream offers cold-brew coffee and pastries.
This Decatur ice cream shop makes all of its ice cream in-house. The flavor roster includes classics like butter pecan and Tahitian vanilla, house signatures like cashew creme brulee and butterscotch brownie, and seasonal varieties like honey lavender fig and green tea ginger. Aside from ice cream, Butter & Cream sells cookies, cakes, brownies, and caramels, all of which are made on-site.
A food truck fave turned brick-and-mortar, Honeysuckle Gelato is the brainchild of self-taught gelato maker Jackson Smith. The menu includes signature flavor and topping combos like honey fig and pistachio with amaretti crumbs, but you can also create your own two-scoop-and-a-topping combo. There are also hard-to-resist gelato cookie sandwiches and whipped cream-topped shakes.
Sweet, frozen custard is what's on offer at Vintage Frozen Custard, a food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar on the Westside. The menu is short and simple with three flavors: classic vanilla, chocolate, and a rotating flavor of the day. You can keep it simple with a scoop and topping combo, or go big with one of the "Everydae" sundaes that come in variations like smores, mocha crunch, and salted caramel.