20 Local Ice Cream Shops You Need to Visit This Summer

Come along on a journey through Cincinnati’s wild and wonderful world of ice cream, and discover the creamy whips, scoop shops, and frosty institutions that call our city home sweet home.

Come along on a journey through Cincinnati’s wild and wonderful world of ice cream, and discover the creamy whips, scoop shops, and frosty institutions that call our city home sweet home.

Photograph by Catie Viox


The Retro Revival

Old Milford Ice Cream Parlor

Stepping off Main Street and into the Old Milford Ice Cream Parlor is like taking a trip through the decades. The vintage vibes shine through without overpowering the real reason for going: The top-notch desserts. Do yourself a favor and order the edible cookie dough, perfect for those of us who ignore the warnings on a tub of Nestlé Toll House. 119 Main St., Milford, (513) 239-5704


The Ubiquitous

UDF

Carl Lindner Sr. opened the first United Dairy Farmers store in Norwood in 1940, selling cheap milk directly to consumers. Once the company added ice cream to the product line, our long local love affair began. Whether it’s Homemade Cherry Cordial or UDF Classic’s Blue Moo Cookie Dough, we all have a favorite flavor. Some of us live for peach season, some for the scoop sales, some for our favorite shake. Since there’s one on nearly every corner in our region, we’re never far from our favorite treats. Multiple locations


The Thai-Inspired Treat

Simply Rolled

If you make even the occasional excursion to OTR, you’ve likely walked right past the tiny, brightly lit storefront that houses Simply Rolled, the Columbus-based shop that specializes in Thai-inspired rolled ice cream. Here, the process is just mesmerizing as the final product. Watch through the glass as your order goes from liquid base to frozen treat on an icy “grill” before each individual layer is formed up into a rose-like roll. Choose from one of 12 signature flavors or select a base and pile on as many toppings as your heart desires. Don’t forget to snap a pic for your Instagram story—you’ll want to show this one off. 32 W. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 287-7716


The Pop Shop

Honey Child Artisan Pops

In an attempt to serve their children less sugary frozen treats, the owners of Honey Child created a line of artisan popsicles we all can enjoy. Try one of their Play Pops in traditional flavors like strawberry or mango, or if you’re looking for something to give you a boost, the Power Pops are packed with superfoods and proteins. And adults who like their frozen treats on the boozier side can indulge with an alcohol-infused Poptail. 1719 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 800-0911


The Adapter

Hello Honey

A downtown mainstay now after nine years, Hello Honey keeps adapting to the times. Order scoops or whole pints online and pick up curbside, or place orders ahead of time for cakes, coconut macaroons, and cheesecake bites. If you aren’t coming downtown much these days, check out the second location in East Walnut Hills, opening this spring. And if you’re into vegan options that are actually delicious, try matcha green tea, Thai coconut milk, or whatever new flavor got created in the back that morning. 633 Vine St., downtown, (513) 399-7986


The West Side Wonder

Sprinkles Creamy Whip

Smack dab in the middle of a residential block in Cleves, Sprinkles has customers walking from homes on the blocks that border it as well as those who drive over from nearby neighborhoods. With soft serve cones in 21 different flavors and in styles that have names like Funny Face, Purple People Eater, and Monster Face, this creamy whip is an absolute ice cream oasis for kids. (Seriously, the workers here dole out these cones like they’re balloon animals.) Too grown up for funny decorations? Try the doughnut ice cream sandwich or the cake bowl sundae, a single-serve vanilla or chocolate cake filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with your choice of sauce. 500 N. Miami Ave., Cleves, (513) 546-1731


The Late-Night Licks

Rhino’s

Regardless of when your frozen yogurt cravings strike, Rhino’s has you covered with its 24/7 service (holidays included). Yes, it’s located inside a Shell gas station on the corner of Kenwood and Glendale Milford roads in Blue Ash, but once you come to terms with that, it’s no different than any other frozen yogurt spot. Pick from 15 flavors of FroYo, ice cream, sorbet, and gelato, plus 100 toppings. Its mobile counterpart—dubbed Ohio’s first and only self-serve frozen yogurt truck—was in hibernation during our mid-March visit, but fans can book it for private events and request neighborhood visits during warmer months. 10415 Kenwood Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 792-2822


The Traditionalist

Buona Terra

Nestled in a row of Mt. Lookout Square storefronts, Buona Terra beckons, a dessert beacon between Zip’s Café and MLT. More than 100 different flavors of traditional Italian gelato fill the recipe book, with at least a dozen on sale at any time, including specialties like tiramisu, white chocolate lavender, and strawberry basil. There’s also dairy- and fat-free fruit sorbetto and a display case full of homemade candies, macarons, cupcakes, and brownies. 1028 Delta Ave., Mt. Lookout, (513) 386-9356


The King

Graeter’s

The King Kong of local ice cream outfits, with a growing national profile, Graeter’s is still a cuddly family-owned business at heart. The fourth generation of Graeters continue to make all that ice cream in 2.5-gallon French Pots and hand-pack pints and mini-cups before shipping them to more than 6,000 grocery stores across the U.S. And they’ll gladly make you a classic sundae or milkshake at your neighborhood “scoop shop,” just like they’ve been doing for 150 years. For a touch of modern, try one of the six new vegan ice cream flavors. Multiple locations, including outposts at Union Terminal, Great American Ball Park, and Kings Island


The Novelty

Eishaus

In 2020, Tom Von Den Benken and his family opened a small walk-up window on Court Street in Covington. The limited menu included coffee drinks, pastries, and spaghetti eis. To make the German treat, ice cream gets extruded, originally through a potato ricer, creating “noodles.” Eishaus uses the noodles to make a three-way, topping the ice cream with Rice Krispies in chocolate sauce, then shaving yellow chocolate on top and serving it with mini vanilla wafer cookies. Or there’s the frikadelle, with strawberry “marinara” sauce, brownie “meatballs,” and sugar wafer “breadsticks.” Fun, tasty, and highly Instagrammable. 117 Park Pl., Covington


The Village Vanguard

Piper’s Ice Cream Bar

When the ceramic ice cream cone is perched on the wrought-iron fence outside of Piper’s, that means the walkup window is taking orders for its lactose-free frozen treats. Known in its very recent past life as Piper’s Cafe, the MainStrasse Village mainstay rebranded in April to focus its offerings on coffee cocktails and icy adult treats like milkshakes, malts, slushes, and customizable hard seltzers. 520 W. Sixth St., Covington, (859) 291-7287


The Summertime Pit Stop

Dairy Corner

Newtown creamy whip Dairy Corner has the unique advantage of being stunningly close to several popular parks, sporting fields, and The Little Miami Bike Trail. East side kids will swear that a cone at Dairy Corner is something of a right of passage, and on any given afternoon in the summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see entire youth baseball teams swarming the walk-up window. The menu, which is plastered across the windows, will leave you cross-eyed if you stare at it for too long, so save yourself the trouble and stick with the dipped cone, a Dairy Corner specialty. 3501 Church St., Newtown, (513) 555-1234


The Gold Standard

The Bold Face Dairy Bar Company

After realizing their neighborhood didn’t have a creamy whip the owners of The Bold Face Dairy Bar Company set out to deliver ice creamy goodness to the masses. Operating out of the same building as BLOC Coffee Company in East Price Hill, the walkup window serves traditional soft serve but excels in more innovative flavors like cardamom, lavender, and bourbon barrel stout. If you’re feeling luxurious, snag a Bold Face cone, which comes in a waffle cone with caramel sauce, a chocolate sauce center, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, and edible 23-karat gold leaf. 801 Mt. Hope Ave., Suite B, East Price Hill

Photograph by Catie Viox


The Skinny Scoop

La Grassa

La grassa is Italian for the fat one; ironic, considering the small-batch gelato at this Madeira shop contains two-thirds less fat than ice cream. The name La Grassa pays homage to Bologna, Italy, where brothers Jared and Nick Wayne—who also own A Tavola and Taglio pizzerias—and friend and co-owner John Berman learned how to make the slow-churned milky treat. We love the stracciatella, a silky-smooth vanilla bean gelato packed with crunchy, homemade dark chocolate shards. Lactose-free and vegan friends can enjoy four dairy- and egg-free sorbettos, or opt for a specialty coffee drink. Want the best of both worlds? The affogato is a heavenly combo of espresso and gelato. 7014 Miami Ave., Madeira, (513) 271-9000


The Ice Ball Headquarters

Schneider’s Sweet Shop

Bellevue institution (82 years on Fairfield Avenue) Schneider’s Sweet Shop makes it all: opera creams and other candies, caramel and candy apples in the fall, and of course, ice cream. While you can get cones, shakes, sundaes, and floats, do yourself a favor and go for an ice ball, when it’s in season. Pick your ice cream, and you’ll get it inside a ball of shaved ice that’s soaked with your choice of syrup. Leave the birthday cake ice cream with cotton candy syrup to the kids; the coffee ice cream with amaretto syrup is a more sophisticated choice. 420 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 431-3545


The Extreme Topper

Milk Jar Café

Sandwiched between Sport Clips Haircuts and Penzeys Spices at Hyde Park Plaza, Milk Jar Café offers three trendy treats: Thai ice cream bubble tea, and a cereal bar We especially enjoyed the “Monkey Business”: rolled ice cream with banana and Nutella. The best part? Each order of Thai-rolled goodness comes with unlimited toppings—or at least as many as you can physically fit in your cup. Trust us, it tastes as good as it looks. 3880 Paxton Ave., Suite M, Oakley, (513) 818-9141

Photograph by Catie Viox


The Small Batch

Golden Gelato

Golden Gelato’s tiny storefront opened along Covington’s bustling West Pike/Seventh street corridor in January, a short walk from the action at Braxton Brewing and Hotel Covington. Enamored with Italians’ love of gelato after a trip there, Joe Jones and his wife, Vanessa, make gelato and sorbetto in small batches on the premises, sourcing local dairy and natural flavor ingredients. Try the affagato, a shot of Deeper Roots espresso over a cup of your favorite gelato. 130 W. Pike St., Covington, (859) 360-3709


The Sherbet Spot

The Cone

Orange sherbet is the name of the game at The Cone in West Chester, housed inside a 30-foot-tall ice cream cone the owner shipped in from Florida in the ’90s. If the menu seems overwhelming—there are hundreds of options to choose from—play it safe and order the ever-popular orange-vanilla swirl. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go for a fried ice cream “wizzard,” a soft serve concoction that could give Dairy Queen a run for its money. 6855 Tylersville Rd., West Chester, (513) 779-7040


The Creative Creamery

Dojo Gelato

Dojo strives to create “the most distinctive” Italian-style ice creams you can experience. Staples include Tahitian vanilla and Vietnamese Coffee, but we indulged in gooey buttercake and carrot cake. Everything is handcrafted in small batches at the Northside kitchen, in addition to the flagship Findlay Market location, which is open year-round, and roaming gelato truck. 137 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 328-9000; 1735 Blue Rock St., Northside


The Classic

Aglamesis Bro’s

If it’s an old-fashioned ice cream parlor experience you’re looking for, the Oakley location of the 113-year-old family business Aglamesis Bro’s delivers. From the marble soda fountain counter to the gorgeous Tiffany lamps, it’s a scene straight out of Central Casting. But this isn’t movie magic—this is the real deal, with gorgeously silky ice cream served in metal bowls and in sundaes topped with whipped cream so rich it’s almost butter. It’s a super sweet escape from the daily grind. 3046 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 531-5196; 9899 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 791-7082

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