Des Moines has a lot of options when it comes to ice cream besides the national chains. When it comes to ice cream, the following are worth the calories.
- Fiss’ Ice Cream – This is in Carlisle but they are well worth the extra drive. I have stuck with Peanut Butter cup each time I’ve gone there and each time there’s ben a more than generous amount of candy in the blizzard. I’m not talking little chopped pieces either but rather half a peanut butter cup size chunks to give you some perspective. They offer other treats and sandwiches too if blizzards aren’t what you’re craving.
- The Outside Scoop– This is based out of Indianola but they make a habit of going into Des Moines with their bright pink ice cream truck. They have the absolute best sundaes in Des Moines. Their hot fudge tastes like gourmet chocolate and in the fall you’ll get a whole new set of fall-themed sundaes to choose from. Their smores sundae uses a blow torch to give an authentic taste to the giant marshmallow on top. They do like to have experimental flavors but even they usually are winners. Make it a point to buy their pints towards the end of the year so you can have this treat after they close in October for the season.
- Granny’s Sweet Freeze Shoppe– An eastside favorite, this shoppe has tons of original flavors that taste homemade. The French Silk Pie flavor is spot on as well as my favorite, the Cherry Mash that instead of putting cut up candy in like other blizzards, uses a homemade mix that tastes like a freshly made Cherry mash mixed with the ice cream. Their seating area is well shaded with plenty of seating and painted in bright, cheery colors.
- Classic Frozen Custard– You will first notice the quality of the custard is very high. They’re located both in Altoona and on the southside,it tastes like real, quality food . They’re extremely generous with their servings to the point that you’ll be full from a small cup of 1 scoop. Their specialty sundaes are generous as well. My personal favorite, the Turtle, featuring tons of chopped nuts and a pool of hot chocolate and caramel. The strawberry shortcake sundae is extremely generous in their real starberries and cake pieces. You’ll walk away from here very full. In the fall, this is my absolute favorite pumpkin ice cream in town.
- Over the Top– This is a fairly new addition to Pleasant Hill, housed in a spacious, open air building and offers not just ice cream but homemade candies as well as a lunch menu. Their flavors are fun and offer generous servings. They offer a bonus mini scoop of any flavor you’d like to the top of your cup/cone of ice cream -it’s like a tiny ball of the flavor but it’s a nice free addition to your order.
- Dairy Zone– An eastside tradition that offers consistently good ice cream whether you go with their tornados or their other specialty treats. They offer my second favorite pumpkin ice cream in the fall with their pumpkin tornado. Their specialty sundaes are very filling and they’re incredibly generous with whatever toppings your order comes with to the point that you may run out of ice cream before you run out of topping.
- Van Dees– Based out of Johnston, they offer great choices and plenty of outside seating. They only take cash- at least the times I’ve gone so be prepared either way. I don’t carry cash very often so this was enough to keep me from eating here a few times that I’ve tried to go there but when I have been fortunate to have enough cash on hand, they offer great choices and friendly staff.
- Chocolaterie Stam– This is a gelato spot which is the European favorite for a cold creamy treat but once you taste it, you’ll have a hard time going back to regular old ice cream.They are as close to authentic gelato as you’ll get outside of Europe. They offer a variety of flavors that change seasonally so be sure to drop by often to try the new flavors.
- Zombie Burger– Their specialty shakes are both weird and wonderful with the added bonus of coming in both the traditional style as well as a cereal and cake option. The Nutella marshmallow shake is a great option and makes what seems like it would just a boring chocolate shake take decadent. Perfect to pair with their burgers.
- Snookies Malt Shoppe– This is a West Side favorite and has been around for 31 years this season. I’ve only been here once but they were generous with their toppings and had fast service. Just as a warning, they only accept cash so don’t make my rookie mistake and show up without any. The long lines can be annoying but they’re fast at getting the orders completed and the staff is very friendly.