You scream! I scream!
Gelato joints, roadside stands, custard counters and other ice cream stops
Published: August 10, 2011
Custard Hut 25947 W. Warren St., Dearborn Heights; 313-278-5577: What makes frozen custard so much richer? It's the formula that calls for higher butterfat content, giving an added richness that draws many into this venerable custard shop. They do vanilla, chocolate, a vanilla-chocolate twist, and a flavor of the week that they can also twist with vanilla. Last week, it was creamsicle. (They have about a dozen special flavors they rotate through.) It's cash-only, and open until the end of September.
Erma's Frozen Custard 6451 Auburn Rd., Utica; 586-254-3080: Open since the 1940s, this roadside custard stand stocks a few flavors a week, but what flavors! Cashew cluster or tangerine, anyone? Located between Mound and Van Dyke roads just north of M-59, open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. One of our fellow employees recommends the "Custard Puff" highly. Open through October.
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 and even tacos, all at affordable prices. That should explain the line that often queues up outside. Open through October.
Guernsey Farms Dairy Family Style Restaurant 21300 Novi Rd., Northville; 248-349-1466: 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 $4, 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 60 flavors to choose from and 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. For a fruity sensation, try their recent flavor, Grandpa's Blueberry Way — a combination of blueberry and pomegranate blended with dark chocolate pieces in honor of the founder's 100th birthday. 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.
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."
Paciugo Italian Gelato 1198 E. Walton Blvd., Rochester Hills; 248-608-6751; paciugo.com: A chain based in Texas ought to know how to cool customers off! And this joint in the Boulevard Shoppes in Rochester Hills has what it takes to put a freeze on the heat. With milk-based, water-based, soy-based and sugar-free flavors running into the dozens, there should be something here for everybody, whatever their dietary concerns or preferences.
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 16 to 18 flavors, including ice cream made on Macinac Island, a genuine Michigan product.
Ray's Ice Cream 4233 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak; 1-888-549-5256: 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: 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."
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