What happens in the summer that makes you crave ice cream? (Ok, we eat it all-year round) I've had the urge to go out for ice cream with the kiddies a lot the past few weeks. I wish we had a place within walking distance of our house (like when I was a kid), but that is not the case.
Our favorite local place, Jarling's Custard Cup, is great (a must-visit when in CU). But this year, especially...getting (and paying for) treats for five people, I feel a bit discouraged to frequent the place like we used to. The prices are ridiculous. You can easily spend over $20 for a family (you can easily spend under $10 as well). A single scoop of ice cream anywhere in town will run you from $1.50-$2, including Custard Cup. However, unlike most places where the single scoop is crazy-big that I often order a kiddie-size, Custard Cup's scoops are modest. But who goes there for a scoop of ice cream anyways?! Their signature is the Snowstorm (aka mix-in, concretes, blizzards). My husband's favorite is the peanut butter fudge with chocolate custard, mine the coffee oreo with chocolate custard. They have a list of many but you can create your own as well. But this year, a junior size will cost you $3.50! My daughter's favorite, the banana split (which she shares with me) is $4.50. And their sundaes are crazy...when I picture a 'sundae' I think of ice cream, topping, whipped cream, nuts, cherry. Here you must pay for each topping individually. Their shakes are great too but again, pricey. Now, don't get me wrong...I love Custard Cup (a staple in my pregnancy diets) but I just can't afford to go there much anymore.
There are other options in town (and in your own town)...
Kaleidoscoops (an Illinios chain) is great. They have lots of flavors of ice cream , frozen yogurt, and soft-serve including death by chocolate, cake batter, Superman, cheesecake, some Weight Watchers ice creams.... They also have standard sundaes (e.g. hot fudge, strawberry, brownie). They have 'blizzard'-type treats, fun toppings (e.g. candy bars, sprinkles, cookies), waffle cones. They also have ice cream cakes. The prices are very reasonable as well.
Baskin Robbins (which is most likely attached to a Dunkin Donuts) is ok. My first job was at a Baskin Robbins, so I have some attachment to the place. Ours in town isn't great...the ice cream is often a bit icy. They have the famous 31 flavors (gold-medal ribbon, rocky road, daiquiri ice) as well as sundaes, and 'blasts'. Prices are reasonable but the quality is just ok.
Cold Stone Creamery which is an addition to our campus-town area is ridiculous. Besides there is NO parking...which often makes us forget about it. The prices are extreme and the ice cream isn't really that great on its own. The idea is that they have several base flavors of ice cream and then you select things to mix into the ice cream. Although the flavor combinations are endless and the suggested mix-ins sound fabulous...you pay per ingredient, making a scoop of ice cream very expensive. And I personally, don't think it is worth the money (or the wait...sometimes you could wait for 20-30 mins).
Courier Cafe has awesome shakes and sundaes. Cozy Custard* is ok (some of my readers really like it).
Petersen's in Oak Park, IL is my favorite ice cream place ever!
The best option....go to the store and buy some ice cream and toppings and have an ice cream party!! Even if you buy more than one flavor of ice cream and a couple toppings, you will have probably spend less money than going out and the kids (and adults) will have more fun!! We love Edy's Double Churned Ice Cream (1/2 the fat and still tastes great)! Once in awhile, we spring for Ben and Jerry's (again, especially on sale, still cheaper!).
So, go out and have some ice cream! We all love it (plus you are getting a serving of dairy and possibly fruit!). Have some fun!!
*I previously had this as Cuddley Cup...this is because my daughter used to call it that and so when I was thinking about Cozy Custard, that is what I typed. Sorry.