Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains

Post
michaelcarraher
Cheeseburger
2011/08/02 17:28:56
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.
 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/02 17:51:37
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.
felix4067
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/02 18:35:32
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.
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/02 19:12:35
Ciao Bello is the best IMHO.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/02 19:49:07
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.
felix4067
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/02 20:04:06
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.
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 10:17:37
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. 
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 10:25:11
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?
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 10:51:52
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.
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 11:20:21
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. 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 11:28:20
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.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 11:32:19
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
  
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 12:26:40
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
michaelcarraher
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 12:36:52
@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. 
 
 
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 12:44:15
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. 

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 13:00:00
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.
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 16:25:20
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.
jman
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 16:49:54
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. 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 19:02:26
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.  
bartl
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 20:40:34
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
bartl
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/03 20:42:48
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.
senor boogie woogie
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 04:24:37
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!"
 
 
 
 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 09:49:06
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?
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 13:36:36
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?
post edited by mar52 - 2011/08/04 14:49:00
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 17:35:27
Freddie's Frozen Custard is very good!
http://www.freddysfrozencustard.com/
Currently in 10 states west of the Mississippi
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 19:01:13
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 19:20:17
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?
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/04 21:09:37
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
Holly Moore
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 07:32:21
I miss Tom Carvell, master TV spokesperson.  Never did battle with Fudgie The Whale, he still around?
jajarino68
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 10:16:11
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.
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 11:44:02
Mrs. Metro and I love frozen custard.
 
In NoVA:  Frozen Dairy Bar in Falls Church, Carl's in Fredericksburg, Dairy Godmother in Alexandria, and Milwaukee Frozen Custard, Chantilly and other locations.
 
Here in the Metroplex there is an excellent family-owned place we enjoy in "downtown" Frisco: http://www.doubledipfrozencustard.com/ and a Culver's in McKinney.  The place that served the best product, Sheridan's, ( http://www.sheridansfrozencustard.com/ ) closed down their two Metroplex locations due to poor planning and huge overhead.  They had beautiful, new free-standing 1500 sf buildings that were walk-up only, no seating.  As I write this we are "enjoying" our 35th. consecutive 100+ degree day with "parking lot" temps in excess of 120.  As good as their product was, there was no way Texans were going to wait in line, then sit in their cars in these climate conditions.   Another custard chain, Freddy's opened across the road from the old Sheridan's, offers indoor seating, and seems to be doing very well.
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 12:24:47
Holly Moore

I miss Tom Carvell, master TV spokesperson.  Never did battle with Fudgie The Whale, he still around?

 
My best friend and I have been exchanging Fudgie the Whale cakes, along with Cookie Puss cakes (very cleverly renamed "Cookie O'Puss around St. Patrick's Day) for decades as a gag.  Funny thing is, we always eat every bite. 
 
A bit of really useless trivia: the Santa Claus cake and the Fudgie the Whale cakes are made in the same mold.  Fudgie's tail becomes Santa's hat. 
 

mar52
Sirloin
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 12:50:49
Jim, after shopping a Sam Moon's I spotted Freddy's. That was my second try at frozen custard.
 
We left Texas on I think day number 23 of the record heat.  
 
I really found Culver's vanilla to have more flavor, but I sure wouldn't say no to Freddy's.
 
I Googled frozen custard in Los Angeles and everything points to frozen yogurt.  Not as good!
 
 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/05 15:00:20
buffetbuster

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?

I haven't seen other recipes, but there is a lot of theory behind the ice cream making process - so, it's more than a cookbook in that is more than just a compilation of recipes.  There may be other recipes in there, but I haven't found them yet.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Jenis-Splendid-Ice-Creams-Home/dp/1579654363/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312549927&sr=1-1
michaelcarraher
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/06 03:36:04
Sundancer7

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

Paul:  I've tried Rita's.  Not a fan.  They call their (overly sugared IMHO) soft-serv frozen custard - it's not.  They put layers of "custard" and water ice in a tall serving cup and call it "gelato" - not even close.  And they close up from Halloween to sometime around Easter.  The Rita's closest to me used to have people lined up much of the day - until Handel's opened up in the next town.  Apparently, people can tell the difference.
 
Also there were about half a dozen Dairy Queens fairly close to me, and they are all gone now.   A Bruster's near me also closed (although others in the area are still open - none of them very close).  I guess cold desserts (I won't call what Rita sells "ice cream" and DQ barely qualifies) is a tough business. 
 
Friendly's seems to be operating straight out of the HoJo's playbook with a lot of the same menu items.  I don't think the ice cream is as good (and they don't have 28 flavors) and the cleanliness of many of them is more like a turnpike HoJo's than a neighborhood location. 
WBBear
Junior Burger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/06 17:51:11
A sure sign of spring is when "Zesto's" opens.
10 locations in a 40 mile radius of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Softserve would be an insult to what served here. Vanilla, Chocolate and Twist cones do the job for Mrs. Bear and I. They have the usual treats but in our opinion nothing is usual with going to Zestos!!!!

Holly Moore
Cheeseburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/06 18:40:39
Michael,
 
Rita's mixture of Italian Ice and Ice Cream is called "Gelati" to distinguish it from Gelato.  Rita's copied it from Italiano's in South Philadelphia.
 

ladygodiva
Hamburger
Re:Best Ice Cream (and Custard) Chains 2011/08/07 14:18:35
Stricklands in Akron, OH one near the Akron Canton Airport the other near Medina about 2 miles west of Summit Mall.