All words: Chris Crowley
All photos: Alex Joseph
(Disclaimer: does not include gelato or frozen yogurt places, we’ll get to those soon, we promise-ed)
What does a roundup of ice cream in the Washington area mean to me as a writer? Well for one, a gym membership is officially one of the top necessities in my life.
In our quest to find some of D.C’s most delectable frozen treats, we laughed, we cried, we licked, we ate (sounds like breakup sex so far, huh?) but most importantly we have come away with some great places for all of you to find your chilled sugar fix in the midst of the summer heat.
U-SCREAM 1301 U Street Northwest D.C. 20009
As the pictures show, U-Scream Ice Cream located on U Street in the U Street Corridor (how much of that needed to be said is up to U) offers a bevy of flavors of ice cream that is made on site with tasty attention. There are plenty of selections, but don’t expect anything visually flashy here- the ice cream is more like gelatto in the sense that you won’t find any added bits or pieces, instead you are treated to actual flavored ice cream- but the flavors are interesting enough.
My banana split featured scoops of Red Velvet Cake, Caramel, and Brownie flavors. By the time it melted it admittedly looked like a chocolaty red ice cream crime scene, but the flavor was on point.
The Red Velvet Cake stood out the most with decadent flavor that didn’t feel too rich like some cake batter ice creams can. Truthfully I dig that flashy stuffed style of ice cream with many add ins, mixtures and swirls, and this is where the Brownie and the Caramel flavors sometimes fell short in my opinion. What’s brownie ice cream without brownie bits? What’s caramel ice cream without a little caramel swirl?
The flavors like Blueberry Muffin and Red Velvet Cake are definitely worth trying, if anything for their strangeness, but U-Scream is not for the Ben & Jerry’s faithful. However they do have a sizeable amount of toppings and delicious syrups, overall a decent option for ice cream that doesn’t involve going to Georgetown (more about that later).
CONE E ISLAND Lobby 1A, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave Washington D.C., DC 20006
Cone E Island is inside a shopping mall style basement in Foggy Bottom, so don’t expect anything essentially quirky about this spot. But it was in fact the coolest place in temperature and atmosphere we found. The AC is on blast and the upstairs seating area has the feeling of an ice cream strip club with ice cream cone neon lights.
Battling the daytime city humidity with a couple of beers fresh in the belly, this may be a good time to opt out for a nice burst of fruit flavor, which is why I recommend the Rainbow Sherbet from here. It drips on the lighter side, it’s colorful, and most importantly it is a nice change from the opposite sweeter side of the ice cream spectrum.
THOMAS SWEET (3214 P Street Northwest Washington D.C., DC 20007)
Thomas Sweet may just be the Belle of the Ball for ice cream in D.C, though its location in Georgetown may make what I just said one of the more obvious things I’ve ever written on this website.
The Georgetown ice cream institution is not unique to D.C, with four other locations across the state of New Jersey, but this may be the best ice cream we came across in the city as a whole. If this stuff was pint-ed up and sold in grocery and liquor stores I believe it would really give some those boys from Vermont and the Bronx (Häagen-Dazs) a run for their money.
Not really a fan of coffee ice cream, something called to me to try the Coffee-Oreo ice cream and was it an oral-gasm. The ice cream was dark, creamy, and roasted while the oreo chunks were proportionally large and filling for each bite. This was a perfect scoop for a 6:30 ice cream run on a Saturday in Georgetown- probably one of the top things in Georgetown I actually enjoy and would go back for.
Not only does Thomas Sweet have a nice corner location at P and Wisconsin with a great menu, for all you fudge lovers they have a wide range of flavors and if you buy a pound of fudge you get a half pound FOR FREE. #DessertSwag
Max’s Best Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop (2416 Wisconsin Avenue NW DC)
Tucked away in Glover Park up Wisconsin past Georgetown, this ice cream shop conveniently located next to Z Burger is a great destination for intriguing unique flavors you won’t find just anywhere.
Highly recommended here is the Honey Graham ice cream with a honey swirl mixed in with graham cracker bites. If I could pick scoops of this ice cream off of trees, bet I would live under that tree and grow to the average size of people profiled on Hoarders.
Max’s does have that unique feel to it, and is a great place to scream for cream in Washington.
If you enjoy ice cream, catch on to Cone-ing, it’s the new Planking.
Here is what you do, go to a drive thru restaurant that sells soft serve ice cream (McDonalds is perfect considering their 50 cent deal that inspired this craze) and try and freak out the worker as best you can. Be sure to get creative!