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 Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains

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michaelcarraher

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  • Joined: 7/5/2004
  • Location: Berwyn, PA
Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 5:28 PM (permalink)
Setting aside independent or local Roadfood-qualifying ice cream places, which chain has the best ice cream?
 
My votes:
Handel's  - Made fresh at each location, often with local ingredients.  For my taste, dense but not too dense; high butter fat but not too much.
 
Also:
Bruster's -  Similar but not quite as rich.  OK when I can't get to Handel's.
Cold Stone Creamery - Over-priced.  Just OK.
Baskin-Robbins - Better than no ice cream at all.  Too cold to get much flavor.
Dairy Queen - Only if you want a sugar rush. 
TCBY - Not bad; fresh fruit toppings are nice.
 
 
#1
    mar52

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    Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 5:51 PM (permalink)
    I had Handel's last week.  What was good there was the choice of flavors.
     
    My vote goes to Graeter's.  Wish they had a location close to me.
     
    #2
      felix4067

      • Total Posts: 3299
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      • Location: Near Grand Rapids, MI
      Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 6:35 PM (permalink)
      Never even heard of your first two, but of the rest of them in the list I'd have to go with Cold Stone Creamery. WAY expensive, but they make some pretty darn fine combinations.
       
      TCBY isn't ice cream.
       
      #3
        Stephen Rushmore Jr.

        Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 7:12 PM (permalink)
        Ciao Bello is the best IMHO.
         
        #4
          mar52

          • Total Posts: 7599
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          Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 7:49 PM (permalink)
          I have the opposite opinion of Coldstone Creamery.  The combinations might be good, but it has no taste.
           
          You have to start out with good ice cream and then mix in the other flavors.
           
          #5
            felix4067

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            Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Tue, 08/2/11 8:04 PM (permalink)
            I get spoiled with ice cream, as the Hudsonville dairy is barely a 20-minute drive from my house. But of the available chain shops, Coldstone is the best, in my opinion...didn't really notice a lack of flavour under all the other stuff (kinda like Starbucks coffee - the base is really pretty nasty, but if you add enough stuff it tastes like the stuff instead). Of course, I've been there exactly twice, since there's a little shop 1/4 mile from home that's been there since god was a boy that uses exclusively Hudsonville.
             
            #6
              Pigiron

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              Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 10:17 AM (permalink)
              I grew up on Carvel and to me, it's the taste of childhood.  I love it to this day, but ice cream afficianados would probably gag.
               
              For the more mature palate, I really like Kilwin's.  Their flavors really pop, and I just love their ice cream with swirls of birthday cake.  My wife loves the fudge covered pretzels. 
               
              #7
                wanderingjew

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                Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 10:25 AM (permalink)
                Pigiron


                I grew up on Carvel and to me, it's the taste of childhood.  I love it to this day, but ice cream afficianados would probably gag.


                Pigiron
                 
                Have you ever been to Marvel's in Lido Beach?
                 
                #8
                  mar52

                  • Total Posts: 7599
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                  Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 10:51 AM (permalink)
                  I've also had Jeni's Ice Cream.
                   
                  Although the flavors were quite interesting, they were lacking in the rich, creamy department.
                   
                  It's also way too expensive for a single scoop of ice cream.
                   
                  #9
                    Pigiron

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                    Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 11:20 AM (permalink)
                    wanderingjew


                    Pigiron

                    Have you ever been to Marvel's in Lido Beach?

                     
                    Yes, the Carvel knock-off on Lido Blvd.  Used to go there a lot when I was hanging out in Island Park.  Long days at the beach followed by long nights at the nightclubs (Malibu, Sprats, Channel 80...remember those places?)  That was a long time ago.  I have no memory as to the quality of the ice cream, but it was always crowded. 
                     
                    #10
                      mar52

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                      Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 11:28 AM (permalink)
                      Carvel made an appearance in the Los Angeles market some time during the late 70's or early 80's.  It didn't last.
                       
                      I now see that they're trying to do it again in a much smaller presence in grocery stores.
                       
                      They were better for the novelty items like birthday cakes.
                       
                      #11
                        wanderingjew

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                        Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 11:32 AM (permalink)
                        Pigiron


                        wanderingjew


                        Pigiron

                        Have you ever been to Marvel's in Lido Beach?


                        Yes, the Carvel knock-off on Lido Blvd.  Used to go there a lot when I was hanging out in Island Park.  Long days at the beach followed by long nights at the nightclubs (Malibu, Sprats, Channel 80...remember those places?)  That was a long time ago.  I have no memory as to the quality of the ice cream, but it was always crowded. 


                        Yes, of course I riemember Malibu, and Sprats on the Water. Wow, certainly brings back memories of places I was dragged too (and hated). And of course who can forget Paddy McGees in Island Park?  From a nightlife perspective only,  I was so relieved when I moved to Seattle in the early 1990's and was able to hang around Pioneer Square, listen to live blues and drink pints of real craft beer
                          
                         
                        #12
                          kland01s

                          • Total Posts: 2835
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                          • Location: Fox River Valley, IL
                          Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 12:26 PM (permalink)
                          Stone Cold Creamery made an appearance in this area but are long gone now. We have a local place, Oberweis, that started out as a small family dairy in Aurora Illinois and opened a one store operation in the 1940's or so that served ice cream and sold milk and milk products. They have now become a chain that operates in 6 or 7 states. I'm not sure if they do home delivery everywhere but I know they do here, but I live maybe 3 miles from the main plant. Their ice cream is rich and creamy but lately I've developed a strong liking for gelato which Oberweis does not sell.Still, we stop by the main plant now and then for some good ice cream!
                           
                          http://www.oberweis.com/web/icecream.asp
                           
                          #13
                            michaelcarraher

                            • Total Posts: 159
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                            • Location: Berwyn, PA
                            Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 12:36 PM (permalink)
                            @felix: I'm willing to include yogurt, custard, soft-serve, gelato and most anything cold, sweet and creamy in the discussion.
                             
                            That said, years ago I was partial to Carvel's frozen yogurt, which tasted like it was really yogurt that was frozen.  Their hard ice cream was sort of tasteless.  Their soft-serve was slightly better than Dairy Queen.  Seemed like less air, less sugar.
                             
                            The worst chain I can recall was Bressler's.  33 flavors and very little flavor.  Mostly they seemed to add stuff so you couldn't taste the ice cream.
                             
                            Graeter's v. Handel's is, I guess, one of those Southern Ohio - Northern Ohio divides.  Like Reds - Indians, or Bengels - Browns. 
                             
                             
                             
                            #14
                              Pigiron

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                              Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 12:44 PM (permalink)
                              wanderingjew

                              Yes, of course I riemember Malibu, and Sprats on the Water. Wow, certainly brings back memories of places I was dragged too (and hated). And of course who can forget Paddy McGees in Island Park?  From a nightlife perspective only,  I was so relieved when I moved to Seattle in the early 1990's and was able to hang around Pioneer Square, listen to live blues and drink pints of real craft beer  

                               
                              I didn't enjoy those clubs all that much either, but that's where the girls were back in the 80's, so I was powerless.  I saw some great bands at Malibu back then: The Alarm, Billy Idol, Depeche Mode, The Blasters, etc.  U2 played there in 81, but I was too young to go.  Paddy McGees is still there, but it's expanded into more of a restaurant.  I went there a few years ago for lobster when the line at Jordan Lobster Farm was too long.  It was very average. 

                               
                              #15
                                buffetbuster

                                Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 1:00 PM (permalink)
                                I like both Graeter's and Handel's, but would give a clear edge to Graeter's.  But, I will take Jeni's out of of Columbus over either one.  Jeni's doesn't have that many locations, but I can buy it in my local grocery store.
                                 
                                #16
                                  ces1948

                                  • Total Posts: 1499
                                  • Joined: 8/6/2003
                                  • Location: Port St Lucie, Fl
                                  Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 4:25 PM (permalink)
                                  I'm not saying it's the best but everything I've gotten at our local Friendly's has been pretty good. I also liked Kilwin's but have only had it a couple of times. Kilwin's also gets in your wallet pretty deep.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    jman

                                    • Total Posts: 1276
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                                    • Location: berea, KY
                                    Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 4:49 PM (permalink)
                                    Orange Leaf and Menchies are both pretty good frozen yogurt chains.  At both, you pick the flavor you want, fill your cup, and top it with whatever you choose.  You pay by weight. 
                                     
                                    #18
                                      mar52

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                                      Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 7:02 PM (permalink)
                                      buffetbuster


                                      I like both Graeter's and Handel's, but would give a clear edge to Graeter's.  But, I will take Jeni's out of of Columbus over either one.  Jeni's doesn't have that many locations, but I can buy it in my local grocery store.

                                       
                                      I've had them all.  We now have Handel's in Manhattan Beach here in California.
                                       
                                      If I was comparing the same flavor at each place  (if possible) Graeter's would win that contest.  The quality, richness, creaminess, texture and scoop size gives them my vote.
                                       
                                      Menchies loses my vote here because I've dealt with one of the franchise owners in my area at my place of business.  His customers should treat him like he treats others.  
                                       
                                      #19
                                        bartl

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                                        Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 8:40 PM (permalink)
                                        Pigiron
                                        I grew up on Carvel and to me, it's the taste of childhood.  I love it to this day, but ice cream afficianados would probably gag.

                                        I grew up with Carvel, as well, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. The lowest overrun of any soft serve ice cream, and some good recipes. And Tom Carvel was a great guy. In spite of his commercials.
                                         
                                        Bart
                                         
                                        #20
                                          bartl

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                                          Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Wed, 08/3/11 8:42 PM (permalink)
                                          I've mentioned it before, but I found out a number of years ago that a scoop is not a scoop at Friendly's; they have "dish scoops" and smaller "sundae scoops". You do better ordering a dish of ice cream with "side" toppings than you do ordering a sundae.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            senor boogie woogie

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                                            • Location: Bucksnort, TN
                                            Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 4:24 AM (permalink)
                                            Ice cream shops are an utter ripoff. For a scoop of Baskin Robbins, you can go to the store and buy a tub of the same product.
                                             
                                            One of the guys, Baskin or Robbins died of heart disease and obesity. That in and of itself to stay the hell out of their store. The other dude, Baskin or Robbins, lived to be an old man, counted his gold coins in a dark place and laughing at the moron customers, much like Starbucks.
                                             
                                            TCBY used to be "This Cant Be Yogurt." then some farthead company sued them because they had the same phrase. (This is why the judicial system is so screwed up, wasting the taxpayers dime on lawsuits like this.) Now they are "The Country's Best Yogurt". I would have called it, "This Crap Be Yummy!"
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                            #22
                                              The Travelin Man

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                                              Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 9:49 AM (permalink)
                                              buffetbuster


                                              I like both Graeter's and Handel's, but would give a clear edge to Graeter's.  But, I will take Jeni's out of of Columbus over either one.  Jeni's doesn't have that many locations, but I can buy it in my local grocery store.

                                              I know you are not much of a do-it-yourself guy when it comes to the kitchen, but a friend just bought me the Jeni's "cookbook."  It's really well done.  I am seriously considering purchasing an ice cream maker now.
                                               
                                              What would be the odds of me coming up with a fried chicken or pastrami-flavored ice cream?
                                               
                                              #23
                                                mar52

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                                                Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 1:36 PM (permalink)
                                                senor boogie woogie


                                                Ice cream shops are an utter ripoff. For a scoop of Baskin Robbins, you can go to the store and buy a tub of the same product.

                                                One of the guys, Baskin or Robbins died of heart disease and obesity. That in and of itself to stay the hell out of their store. The other dude, Baskin or Robbins, lived to be an old man, counted his gold coins in a dark place and laughing at the moron customers, much like Starbucks.

                                                TCBY used to be "This Cant Be Yogurt." then some farthead company sued them because they had the same phrase. (This is why the judicial system is so screwed up, wasting the taxpayers dime on lawsuits like this.) Now they are "The Country's Best Yogurt". I would have called it, "This Crap Be Yummy!"





                                                More hateful drivel.
                                                 
                                                What do you like?
                                                <message edited by mar52 on Thu, 08/4/11 2:49 PM>
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  Foodbme

                                                  • Total Posts: 9567
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                                                  • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                                                  Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 5:35 PM (permalink)
                                                  Freddie's Frozen Custard is very good!
                                                  http://www.freddysfrozencustard.com/
                                                  Currently in 10 states west of the Mississippi
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    mar52

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                                                    Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 7:01 PM (permalink)
                                                    I had Freddie's Frozen Custard when I was driving through Frisco, Texas.  It was good, but Culver's was better because I could taste the vanilla.  At Freddie's it was cold, but not much flavor.
                                                     
                                                    I had vanilla at both.
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      buffetbuster

                                                      Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 7:20 PM (permalink)
                                                      The Travelin Man


                                                      buffetbuster


                                                      I like both Graeter's and Handel's, but would give a clear edge to Graeter's.  But, I will take Jeni's out of of Columbus over either one.  Jeni's doesn't have that many locations, but I can buy it in my local grocery store.

                                                      I know you are not much of a do-it-yourself guy when it comes to the kitchen, but a friend just bought me the Jeni's "cookbook."  It's really well done.  I am seriously considering purchasing an ice cream maker now.

                                                      What would be the odds of me coming up with a fried chicken or pastrami-flavored ice cream?

                                                      Is the cookbook strictly ice cream?
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        Sundancer7

                                                        Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Thu, 08/4/11 9:09 PM (permalink)
                                                        Anybody ever try Rita's or BOPS?
                                                         
                                                        Some company bought TCBY a few years ago and run it in the ground.  Green shades at work.
                                                         
                                                        I first tried Rita's in Allentown, PA a few years ago.  I was happy they opened a store in Knoxville.  The franchisee told me that Rita's would not allow her to sell anything but their products which makes the place become a money drain in the winter.  BOPS I think is mostly in the south.  My experience does not offer much to compare those to against but I have certainly enjoyed both their products.
                                                         
                                                        Paul E. Smith
                                                        Knoxville, TN
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Holly Moore

                                                          Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Fri, 08/5/11 7:32 AM (permalink)
                                                          I miss Tom Carvell, master TV spokesperson.  Never did battle with Fudgie The Whale, he still around?
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            jajarino68

                                                            • Total Posts: 152
                                                            • Joined: 10/15/2006
                                                            • Location: Maryville, TN
                                                            Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains Fri, 08/5/11 10:16 AM (permalink)
                                                            We have a Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moos. Marble is closer to the house. It's good for a guilty treat. We also have a new frozen yogurt place called Froyoz. Self-serve, fill a cup with a variety of flavors and whatever topping you please. You pay by weight. It's our new favorite place to go.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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