From snack shacks to popular parlors, unpretentious spots for cones and more
Published: June 27, 2012
Family Treats 2010 Springwells St., Detroit; 313-841-3522: This southwest Detroit ice cream joint serves your favorite heat-busting sweet treats, but also has savory fare, including burgers, dogs, fries — even tacos — all at affordable prices.
Guernsey Farms Dairy Family Style Restaurant 21300 Novi Rd., Northville; 248-349-1466; guernseyfarmsdairy.com: You can go to Guernsey Farms just for an ice cream cone, or to buy dairy products from a little convenience store, or you can go for a meal. For less than $5 ($4.70 to be exact), the black-and-white sundae — a combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with marshmallow and hot fudge, sprinkled with nuts, piled with whipped cream, and a cherry — is a meal itself! Guernsey Farms has kept families lapping up quality ice cream since 1940. With 48 flavors available at any given time (and many more in production), as well as an assortment of cones, sherbets, sorbets and other ice cream desserts, you'll probably have a hard time deciding what to order. There's no need to worry — free samples are available upon request. If you're stunned by the selection, ask for butter pecan, take a seat outside in the shade on one of the many boulders and lick it up — you won't be disappointed. If you can't get enough of the creamy delights, most flavors are available in both half-gallon and 3-1/2 gallon sizes for purchase. Other products include chocolate milk, skim milk, probiotic milk, sour cream, chip dip and more.
Jim's Frostie Treats 1528 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-399-7919: A local favorite among many Royal Oak residents, this spot just west of Campbell Road offers soft-serve ice cream, banana splits, floats and coolers, shakes, brownies, cream puffs, parfaits, slush freezes, sundaes, "Jimbo bars," and more. It's open noon-11 p.m. daily.
Leason's Dairy Bar & Grille 11475 E. 13 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-977-2680: If the neon-orange sign doesn't attract you, then the nostalgic ice cream shop atmosphere certainly will. Family-owned and -operated since 1970, this shop's menu has a variety of soft-serve and yogurt delights, but also offers eight classic ice cream flavors, including cookie dough and "moose tracks." The "Glacier" is a popular item that mixes some of your favorite candies with vanilla soft-serve. Soft-serve wonders at Leason's include the "Gold Digger," with your choice of vanilla soft-serve or yogurt with hard chocolate topping, caramel and pecans; and the "Hot Fudge Crème Puff," a crème puff topped with your choice of vanilla soft-serve or yogurt, hot fudge and additional toppings. In addition to frozen treats they also serve pitas, gyros, burgers and hot dogs, and even "Chicken Sliders."
Paul's Market 3700 Monroe St., Dearborn; 313-278-2222: A former ice cream stand, the new owners at Paul's have branched out, but they still have the ice cream, usually about 24 flavors, including ice cream made on Mackinac Island, a genuine Michigan product.
Ray's Ice Cream 4233 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak; 1-888-549-5256; raysicecream.com: This family-owned ice cream parlor has logged a half-century in the business. They make gourmet ice cream on premises, more than 50 flavors of it. Among the favorites are butter pecan, "Huckleberry Pie," "Almond Joy," blueberry pie and black cherry. Unique to this shop is the "Fat Elvis," a confection made with banana and peanut butter — in honor of the King's love for peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches. They have a small fountain area, a counter and booths to seat 25, in addition to two seats from old Tiger Stadium. Though they're open all year, summer is the season that provokes lines that stretch out into the parking lot. Ray's also offers gourmet ice cream molds for parties. They're open till 11 p.m. every day.
Ritter's Frozen Custard 5962 Meridian Blvd., Brighton; 810-229-6992; 31227 Eight Mile Rd., Livonia; 248-476-4571; ritters.com: Two local outposts of the national chain serving "legendary ice cream." folks at Ritter's say their product "is so much more than just ice cream. It's smooth and creamy. And you can taste the difference with each delicious bite."
Treat Dreams 22965 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3440; treatdreams.com: Scott Moloney is the emperor of ice cream. Read the flavor board in his Ferndale bakery and micro-creamery and you might believe that you've somehow entered a fantasy world where anything can be made into a dairy-based dessert. Who knew that purple yam, potato chips, jalapeño peppers and chicken are all legitimate ice cream ingredients? In Moloney's able hands, unconventional but inspired flavors just keep coming. He reckons he has made more than 100 flavors, with another 50 or so written down and an additional 30 to 40 based on customer requests. Some flavors are quite zany (chicken and waffles, for instance), and others simply novel but appealing, such as honey-lavender, lemon-basil, dark chocolate peanut butter curry, salty caramel, avocado-lime, bananas Foster, pistachio-wasabi, and more. Open 1-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 1-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Uncle Ray's Dairyland 1462 N. Leroy, Fenton; 810-629-1791; uncleraysdairyland.com: The Uncle Ray's empire includes not just Uncle Ray's Dairyland, with its hand-scooped, boutique ice cream treats, but also the Heavenly Halo Burger and Uncle Ray's Mini-Golf. Sounds like an outing for the whole family, with the chance to work off some calories in the bargain.
Wally's Frozen Custard 20898 Harper Ave., Harper Woods; 313-343-9059; wallysfrozencustard.net: Your typical roadside frozen yogurt stand, with vanilla, chocolate, twist or flavor of the week, ranging from $1.40 for a "baby" to $4.60 for a waffle cone. In addition, there are sundaes, shakes, coolers (floats), slushies, banana splits, frozen custard pies, strawberry shortcake, an avalanche, and more. Their ice cream is sold to go by the pint or quart. What's more, they have their very own fire engine, which has been converted into a "party engine," and it's available for rental.
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