This DC ice cream guide is dedicated to Cone E Island, a Foggy Bottom institution loved by GW students. The funky parlor closed its doors last semester. You will not be forgotten Cone E! Thanks for the cavities!
This guide is split up into the following categories: Classic Ice Cream, Gelato, Ice Cream Trucks, FroYo, Custard and Novelties. Let us know if we left out your favorite place!
CLASSIC ICE CREAM
Thomas Sweet is your classic ice cream parlor. You can get all of your favorite, fattening flavors here topped with jimmies, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Thomas Sweet is actually a New Jersey chain based in Princeton. I have a picture of 5-year-old me sitting in the window of the Princeton Thomas Sweet devouring a chocolate ice cream cone, with much of the ice cream smeared on my face. Thomas Sweet has a special place in my heart. Obama is a fan too.
Georgetown: 3214 P St. NW
With flavors like Thai Iced Tea, Sweet Potato Pie and Baklava, you have to stop by just to see what these desserts taste like in ice cream form. Newcomer Ice Cream Jubilee just opened in The Yards Park and has been getting rave reviews since. The ice cream shop specializes in small batches of ice cream made with all-natural and local ingredients (and very unique flavors).
Navy Yard: 301 Water St. SE
Right next to Georgetown’s movie theater, hidden under the darkness of the Whitehurst Freeway, is a Hershey’s Ice Cream shop I have never seen anyone go into. As a Pennsylvanian, I have to support my local brand, but there are so many better ice cream shops in the area!
Georgetown: 3151 K St. NW
You already know what Haagen Dasz is, but the Georgetown location is quite charming. It has a wonderful mural on the wall with a map of Georgetown that shows where famous people (the Kennedys, Elizabeth Taylor) lived. It’s a cool way to learn about the area.
Georgetown: 3120 M St. NW
Capitol Hill: 703 7th St. SE and 50 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Chinatown: 703 7th St. NW
Virtually across the street from Georgetown’s Haagen Dasz is Ben and Jerry’s, another well-known ice cream establishment. Come for the kooky flavors and to take a picture on the cow bench outside the shop. Come back on Free Cone Day in the spring, or just splurge on a pint at 7-Eleven to avoid the crowds. I have to give Ben and Jerry credit for personally coming to Washington a few years ago to hand out scoops of their ice cream to the Occupy DC protestors.
Georgetown: 3135 M St. NW
What used to be Georgetown Scoops is now Crepe-N-Cream, a crepe and ice cream shop that seems to be trying to one-up GW’s favorite Crepeaway. Considering Crepeaway is open until 4 a.m. on some nights, I don’t think Crepe-N-Cream will be a threat. However, I always liked Georgetown Scoops’ ice cream, and it hasn’t changed since the store’s name has. They have good flavors like Salted Caramel and Green Tea. Since it’s located just at the beginning of Georgetown, I have racked up plenty of Belly points at this establishment. If a cone won’t do it for you, you can get a crepe a la mode or a milkshake.
Georgetown: 2818 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Next to the never-ending line at the Dunkin Donuts in GW’s Ivory Tower basement is a lonely ice cream freezer that makes up the Baskin Robbins portion of this shop. After a year of getting breakfast and late-night snacks at this food court, I have never seen anyone get ice cream from Baskin Robbins. I am convinced that the ice cream tubs on display are the same ones that have been there since the beginning of Baskin Robbins’ time (much like the frightening Christmas fruitcake). However, GW students may have to start working their way through these tubs now that Cone E Island is gone.
Foggy Bottom: 616 23rd St. NW
Woodley Park: 2604 Connecticut Ave. NW
Eastern Market: 801 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Columbia Heights: 2750 14th St. NW
Gateway: 2420 New York Ave. NE
Although this gelateria is owned by Argentines, you say they know the cold confection better than the Italians. With flavors like Thai Coconut Milk, Mascarpone & Berries and Lemon Opal Basil, these gelatos and sorbets are for foodies seeking something they’ve never tried before. The gelateria has multiple locations in the DMV area, including shops in Georgetown, Dupont Circle and U Street. Dolcezza recently opened its highly-anticipated factory by Union Market. Stop by for a tour of the factory on Saturdays at 2 and 4 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m. Coffee lovers can pair their gelato with a cup of joe from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, served at all locations.
Georgetown: 1560 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Dupont Circle: 1704 Connecticut Ave. NW
Logan Circle: 1418 14th St. NW
Northeast: 500 Penn St. NE
Unlike Dolcezza, which experiments with unusual gelato flavors, Pitango prides itself on being the best at classic Italian gelato. Flavors like Nocciola (hazelnut) and Stracciatella (chocolate chip) will take you back to your study abroad days in Italy. Pitango also serves batches of refreshing sorbets in flavors like Bosc Pear and White Grapefruit. With locations in Chinatown, Eastern Market and Logan Circle, classic Italian gelato is never far away.
Logan Circle: 1451 P St. NW
Penn Quarter: 413 7th St. NW
Eastern Market: 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
ICE CREAM TRUCKS
Street Cream is anything but your typical ice cream truck. Asking for a Snitchin’ Berry will get you a scoop of strawberry, while Pimpin’ Passion translates to coconut in colloquial parlance. The truck is a really good value, with a Cool Wit’ It (small size with one scoop and two toppings) setting you back only $2.50 plus tax. If you want more, get a Down Wit’ It (medium) or a Have’N Sum For Sho’ (large). I dare you not to laugh while placing your order.
Find the truck’s location via Twitter at @StreetCream34
Everyone at GW is obsessed with Captain Cookie, and with good reason. While the cookies are famous, the ice cream served on board is also delicious. Vanilla, chocolate and black cherry ice cream are served daily, while the flavor of the day changes and is a little less standard (think maple bacon ice cream). I personally recommend getting cookies with your ice cream. You can’t go wrong with a Snickerdoodle Cookie, Black Cherry Ice Cream Sandwich. Read my review of Captain Cookie here.
Find the truck’s location via Twitter at @captaincookiedc
Goodies is a 50’s ice cream parlor on wheels. You can get your fill of ice cream floats, sundaes, milkshakes custards, concretes and vintage sodas from this truck. The Big Red Donut Sandwich – custard sandwiched between two red velvet doughnuts — looks like it has enough calories to sustain a small Africa village.
Find the truck’s location via Twitter at @Goodiesdc
This ice cream truck is only on this list so I can advise you that it’s not worth your time or money. I tried Orange Cow at a NOMA outdoor movie screening. I waited in line for literally 45 minutes for a sundae made of the most mediocre ice cream ever, topped with canned whipped cream and chocolate syrup (not even fudge)! If you see an orange truck with spots creeping around your neighborhood, stay away.
Find the truck’s location via Twitter at @orangecowdc
Mr. Yogato is not your typical froyo place. You can play Nintendo while you wait. Adhering to the Rules of Yogato can get you a 5-20% discount on your order. Discounts can be achieved by answering trivia questions, singing along to “Mr. Roboto” or placing your order in your best impression of Dory. Fans recommend the original tart flavor, but there are also two flavors that change regularly. Mr. Yogato isn’t self-serve, so you don’t have as much control over your order, but what you compromise in control you get back in fun. Mr. Yogato seems to be a big fan of Seinfeld. Bringing in a minor Seinfeld character for a photo will earn you a week of all-you-can-eat froyo. Challenge accepted!
Dupont Circle: 1515 17th St. NW
Yes, Pinkberry is a national chain, but if you’ve never had their Chocolate Hazelnut froyo, you must. It’s as tasty and as creamy as Nutella, but it’s healthy because it’s frozen yogurt… right?! Pinkberry isn’t like your local pay-by-weight froyo shop. You have to be waited on, there are only a few flavors available on any given day, you don’t have as much freedom with your toppings and prices are steep. However, it’s all worth it for the Chocolate Hazelnut froyo. Go try it!
Golden Triangle: 1213 Connecticut Ave. NW
Georgetown: 3288 M St. NW
FroZenYo is the best froyo chain in DC. They have a generous sample policy in which you can basically pour froyo in your cup, try it and get a new cup if you’re not satisfied. We all know how hard those soft serve cranks are to control, so you get a huge sample. Furthermore, HOT FUDGE AND CARAMEL ARE FREE!!! They are stationed next to the register and you are supposed to put them on after you pay. Yes, you could potentially come back to the hot goodness counter after your froyo has been depleted and just eat the artery-clogging sweets by themselves. I may or may not have tried this… If you correctly gauge how much you’re capable of eating, a trip to FroZenYo can be very cheap. I don’t spend more than $3 on a trip. FroZenYo is now trying to appeal to coffee lovers with its Zombie Coffee products. They even offer free coffee once a week. This chain has locations all over DC and the greater DMV, so a cheap treat is never far.
There are too many FroZenYo locations to list them all below. You can find the complete list on their website.
Sweetgreen serves what seems to be the healthiest froyo out there. Their so-called Sweet Flow is made of Stonyfield yogurt. It’s organic and fat-free — and tastes like it. Sweet Flow is froyo without the bells and whistle, just classic, tart yogurt flavor. Sweetgreen only serves this classic flavor and offers healthy toppings such as fruits and granola.
So many locations. Find them all here
I must have passed Dickey’s a hundred times during my time at GW, but it never looked like anything more than one of the countless sandwich shops in the Farragut area that caters to professionals on their lunch breaks. However, Yelp reviewers don’t lie, and they have nothing but complimentary things to say about the frozen custard. One reviewer described the custard as this: “Mmm. Creamy, thick, super smooth, buttery frozen custard. This stuff is good.” I’m taking a hint from Brendan J. of Washington and am stopping by as soon as I’m back in the District.
Golden Triangle: 888 17th St. NW
Shake Shack has a cult following. It’s known for its burgers, hot dogs and frozen custard treats. The menu offers shakes, cups, cones and concretes – dense custard blended with mix-ins. Since I’d never heard of a concrete before Shake Shack, the name was a turn off. However, I can now assure you that concretes are delicious. Even Obama and Biden can’t resist.
Golden Triangle: 1216 18th St. NW
Penn Quarter: 800 F St. NW
I’m a Philly girl, so I can’t leave Rita’s off this list. While Rita’s is known for its water ice (or Italian Ice as you foreigners call it), their custard is stellar. In order to get the best of both worlds, I recommend ordering a “gelati”. It has absolutely nothing to do with gelato (making me suspect of how Italian this “Italian” ice is), but is instead water ice sandwiched between two layers of custard. You have to go for the mango water ice. It’s the classic flavor. You can get vanilla, chocolate or twist custard. It’s packed with flavorful and has a heavenly texture. Head to Chinatown or the H Street Corridor to try cool yourself off Philly-style. Tip: Rita’s gives out free water ice on the first day of spring.
Chinatown: 610 H St. NW
H Street Corridor: 1014 H St. NE
Rhode Island Ave: 2318 Rhode Island Ave. NE
Pleasant Pops aren’t anything like the rocket popsicles you get at the grocery store for the 4th of July. These popsicles are based on paletas, Mexican ice pops made of fresh fruit. Pleasant Pops offers tantalizing and refreshing flavors like Watermelon Mint, Grapefruit Rosemary and Strawberry Ginger Lemonade. You can also find ice cream pops in flavors like Iced Coffee, Cookies and Cream and Chongos, made of Mexican sweet cream and cinnamon. Yum. You can find Pleasant Pops at their mortar and brick location in Adams Morgan, or at farmers markets around DC.
Adams Morgan: 1781 Florida Ave. NW
Love N Faith just opened this summer in Columbia Heights. Their claim to fame is liquid nitrogen ice cream, which sounds like a crazy chemistry class experiment. Basically, liquid nitrogen speeds up the freezing process because it is incredibly cold. Instead of waiting for hours for your ice cream, it freezes virtually instantly. Does this make the ice cream taste any better? Who knows. It may be just a trend, but I’ll definitely try out this novelty.
Columbia Heights: 2424 14th St. NW