5 Best Places for Ice Cream in Charlotte


THE NUMBER of sample spoons and color-stained popsicle sticks I’ve gone through recently makes me think I’ve tried every new flavor of ice cream out there. It was a scoop of rocky road, though—full of marshmallows, nuts, and rich chocolate cream—that reminded me why we love the frozen treat. Find your own favorites, old and new, at these local shops.

Elizabeth Creamery
This shop makes its own waffle cones, and you should try your ice cream in one. The scoops come in a variety of flavors, from cappuccino to cookie dough to a beautiful black cherry, studded with dark cherries and wholly unlike the cloying cherry vanilla of my youth. Take home a pint of the ginger ice cream and enjoy its zingy snap with a summer berry cobbler. 1535 Elizabeth Ave., 704-376-3426

Paleteria La Margarita
You can drive past this shop at the corner of Lyon Court and Central Avenue and never know it was there. Not to be confused with the popular Mexican restaurant of a similar name, La Margarita makes and serves a variety of popsicles and ice creams whose flavors you won’t find at Baskin-Robbins— think guava, mango, and coconut, complete with real fruit pieces. Soon to join them in the nearby Plaza Midwood neighborhood is Two Scoops Creamery, which will sell homemade frozen treats, including vegan options. 1516 Lyon Ct., 704-492-0776

Va da Vie Gelato
The owners are fastidious about their gelato, from the local milk to the imported spoon you use to enjoy your frozen treat. Don’t be afraid to experiment with rotating flavors such as avocado and cannoli, which reward you with treats that are exceptionally true to their names. Sorbets like the Bartlett pear are capable of inducing a deeply contented sigh on a summer day. 4203 Park Rd., 980-201-9159

Waxhaw Creamery
A small-town feel permeates this creamery, where you’ll find families milling inside and out at dusk. The shop’s special flavors come and go, and range from maple bacon to the well-loved coconutty. Textured with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and crushed almond, it is made for fellow lovers of Almond Joy candy bars. 201 W. South Main St., Waxhaw, 704-843-7927

Cabarrus Creamery
This nostalgic ice cream parlor is a reboot of a Concord institution dating to 1923. Kids and adults line up to get dips, splits, and sundaes. The menu includes seasonal flavors such as luscious peach, and year-round standards such as bubble gum or moon pie. The popular sliced lemon is delightfully sour, but I recommend the banana pudding, ordered in a sandwich between the shop’s freshly baked cookies. 21 Union St. S., Concord, 704-784-1923

Categories: Food + Drink, In Print