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When temperatures heat up, locals head to Arlington’s ice cream shops for some chilled treats. Arlington is home to several homegrown ice cream shops that are making headlines for their inventive flavors, fresh ingredients and unique styles. Top off your vacation with one of these frozen desserts that will be sure to leave you smiling.
Topping lists for the best ice cream shops in America, Ice Cream Jubilee specializes in hand-made ice cream conceived by lawyer-turned-ice-cream-maker Victoria Lai. Ice Cream Jubilee uses all-natural, local ingredients to create unique flavor concoctions inspired by Lai’s Chinese roots, her travels, cocktails and more. Try whimsical ice creams like Whiskey Toasted Marshmallow, Gin & Tonic Sorbet and Cookies & Cookie Dough when you stop into their shop in Quarter Market.
Try ice cream rolls at this Thai ice cream shop in Shirlington. Their smashed-and-rolled ice cream concept originally started in Thailand and recently expanded to the U.S. Each order is made fresh on the ice cream plate and can be customized with your favorite mix-ins like fresh fruit or candy bars. Order the Mango Sticky RI-CE with Thai coconut infused sticky rice and mango cream, Rose Lychee or Strawberry Cheese-CE cake with real New York cheesecake.
Tucked in a shopping center on Lee Highway, locally owned La Moo Creamery specializes in made-to-order, rolled Thai ice cream with fresh ingredient mix-ins. Try one of La Moo's menu items like Key Lime Pie with pie crust and lime zest or the S-Moores with brownie, graham crackers and marshmallows. Everything can be customized, as the cups are made fresh for you without preservatives and stabilizers. You can also try their fun milkshakes, dairy-free chopped ice, and Japanese-style crepes.
Some of the freshest ice cream around, the flagship location of Nicecream literally freezes its ice cream before your eyes. The brainchild of college sweethearts, Gil Welsford and Sandra Tran, Nicecream started as a push-cart at farmers markets and grew into a celebrated local chain with four locations. Each flavor starts with fresh, grass-fed cream and ingredients from nearby farms, and is flash-frozen to order using liquid nitrogen. Try mainstays like salted caramel or dark chocolate, or check out seasonal flavors like Peachy Keen and Sweet Corn. Indulge in the brownie sundae or score a cup of locally roasted Swing’s coffee to go with your creamy confection.
Pupatella might be known for its award-winning pizza (the lines out the door at dinnertime prove it), but few know that Pupatella also makes its own delicious gelato. Husband-and-wife team Enzo Algarme and Anastasiya Laufenberg are the force behind this Neapolitan pizzeria, which also started out humbly as a food cart. Try the pizza and save room for the gelato, because it’s the perfect complement to their homemade pies. Anastasiya whips up the seasonal and traditional flavors with fresh ingredients onsite at their Arlington location. Grab a scoop of the gelato staples like Nutella, hazelnut or biscotti made with ricotta cheese, or opt for seasonal flavors that change out regularly .
Nestled in the heart of Pentagon City in the Pentagon Row shopping center, Smallcakes NOVA is an adorable creamery and bakery dishing up a colorful dose of sugary charm. This locally owned and operated franchise makes all of its ice cream and cupcakes onsite, by hand in small batches. Their house-made ice cream includes the cupcake-infused Red Velvet, 24 Karrot carrot cake ice cream, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chip and the sprinkles-and-cake laden Birthday Cake. Try their signature Smashcake — two scoops of ice cream smashed between your favorite cupcake.
The quintessential neighborhood ice cream shop, Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee in Westover goes back years. The teenagers who work the shop now tell us they remember coming in as kids. This cozy ice cream shop focuses on creating small-batch ice cream with natural ingredients made on the premises. Try tried-and-true flavors like cookie dough, indulge in Coffee Oreo, or sample some of the Filipino flavors like the colorful Ube made with taro. They also make milkshakes, hot fudge sundaes, ice cream cakes, real fruit smoothies, and locally roasted coffee drinks.
Author: Talia Salem