I scream, you scream for our favorite East Metro ice cream spots

19August 2020

We might be in the middle of a pandemic, but it’s still summer, and my childrens’ ice cream cravings know no bounds.

(At least until the day we tried two parlors and my teen girl called uncle.)

Anyway, we thought it was a good time to update our list of favorite places in the east metro to get ice cream. From brightly colored Mexican shops to a cereal-and-milk theme to a cool, retro brand, the newbies on our list are worth a try. Then there are the tried-and-true classic parlors that have been around a long time for a reason.

Here’s our list, which is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of places to get ice cream in the east metro, but rather recommendations for where to get a sweet treat. That said, if I missed your favorite spot, email eat@pioneerpress.com to let me know.

* denotes a parlor new to our list

* 2 Scoops

2 Scoops ice cream shop on Selby Avenue in St. Paul, pictured in August 2020. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

I’m a sucker for an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, and I love a good chili dog, and this bright, cheery new spot in the former Golden Thyme coffee shop space (Golden Thyme relocated across the street and a few doors down) offers both! High-quality ice cream, classic malts and shakes, pie and more are on the menu at this brand-new spot on Selby Avenue. One of the sweetest things about 2 scoops? You can donate to the “2 Scoops 4 Kids” fund, which offers free ice cream cones to neighborhood children.

921 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-645-0227; 2scoopseatery.com

* Bridgeman’s

Isabella and Liam Fleming enjoy ice cream cones from Bridgeman’s in Woodbury in August 2020. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

This company has been putting out high-quality ice cream in one form or another since 1936. Long-time Twin Cities residents will remember standalone Bridgeman’s Ice Cream Shoppes all over the area, but most of them closed in the 1980s. Recently, the company has risen from the ashes and opened this sweet parlor in a Woodbury strip mall. On a recent visit, families were happily enjoying cones and sundaes — socially distanced from each other, of course. We thoroughly enjoyed the German chocolate and Mackinac Island fudge flavors and can’t wait to return to sample more. For those who remember, the 8-scoop La La Palooza sundae is still kicking, and if you finish it, you get your photo on the wall.

2110 Eagle Creek Lane, Woodbury; 763-971-2947; bridgemans.com

Cold Front

This shop in the old Lynden’s Soda Fountain in St. Paul, makes their own soda syrups, and the flavors, like lemongrass and blood orange-beetroot, trend toward the exotic.

The high-quality ice cream comes from the Chocolate Shoppe in Madison, Wis. Get it in a cone, a sundae, a float or a malt. There are even a few tables outside and/or curbside pickup for you to enjoy your treat safely.

490 S. Hamline Ave., St. Paul; 651-330-7632; coldfrontmsp.com 

Conny’s Creamy Cone

This sweet, nostalgic spot serves more than 24 flavors of soft serve, including mango, blueberry, Irish cream, pina colada and more.

The counter-service operation is painted bright red and white, and you can’t miss the giant ice-cream cone on the roof as you’re driving down Dale Street in St. Paul.

The place is a favorite with neighbors, so picnic tables and bench seating is at a premium. Get your soft-serve fix in a cone, a dish or a sundae, dipped or in a malt. There’s a menu of sandwiches and deep-fried delights, too.

1197 Dale St., St. Paul; 651-488-4150; connyscreamycone.com

Cup and Cone

Cup and Cone in White Bear Lake has been in business for 42 years. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

In charming downtown White Bear Lake, stopping for a soft-serve cone after lunch or dinner is the thing to do, and Cup and Cone is where you do it, since the mid-1970s.

The cones here are inexpensive, cold and creamy, and they still offer dips and crunches for just a few cents extra.

They have simple subs, hot dogs and brats, too, if you want something more substantial before you hit the sweets.

2126 4th St., White Bear Lake; 651-426-1498; cupandconewbl.com

Grand Ole Creamery

Grand Ole Creamery & Pizzeria

The creamery makes its own super-creamy hard ice cream, and the flavor choices are staggering. They make 200 kinds, and 31 of them are available on any given day.

The Black Hills Gold, with its caramel base, praline pecans and Oreos, is probably the shop’s signature flavor, but there’s enough variety to fulfill any craving.

Get the goods in a cone, cup, sundae, malt or decadent ice cream sandwich. During the summer months, a line down the block isn’t unusual, but service is swift and efficient, so don’t let that deter you.

The creamery has also opened a smaller counter in Potluck, the food hall in Rosedale, if you’re shopping and get a hankering. All locations are offering curbside pickup during the pandemic as well.

750 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-293-1655; 4737 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-2261; 1595 Minnesota 36, Roseville, 651-340-3978; grandolecreamery.com

Icy Cup

Housed in a former Dairy Queen, this West Side neighborhood gem sells soft serve, Blizzard knock-offs, dipped cones and other frozen treats.

But neighbors also know the food here is good. There are thick, juicy burgers; skinny fries; and even tacos and tamales on the menu to please the heavily Hispanic customer base. The breakfast burrito, served on Saturday mornings when they host a local farmer’s market in the parking lot, is one of our favorite non-sweet treats.

63 W. George St., St. Paul; 651-222-3596; icycup.net

* La Michoacana Purépecha

Ricardo Hernandez from La Michoacana Purépecha on St. Paul’s East Side in an undated courtesy photo. (Courtesy Photo)

Mexican ice cream shops are hot right now, and this new spot on St. Paul’s East Side has a menu that includes frozen treats including more than 50 natural, locally made popsicle flavors as well as over 30 ice cream varieties, fruit yogurts and shakes

It’s the third location for owners Ricardo Hernandez and Jazmin Hernández Martinez, who are aiming to re-create the authentic, original experiences of traditional La Michoacana shops in Mexico.

809 7th St. E., St. Paul; lamichoacanapurepecha.com

Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop

There are no lack of ice cream spots in Stillwater. Downtown, that includes longtime favorite Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, which is now using its walk up window exclusively for ice cream orders-only for efficiency during COVID-19. Order in person or by calling ahead of time. Take your cookies n cream ice cream, mango sorbet or other frozen sweet treat to one of the patio seats or to nearby Lowell Park overlooking the St. Croix River.

31 Main St., Stillwater; 651-351-3943; leosgrill.com

* Michoacan a Pedir de Boca

Michoacan a Pedir de Boca in West St. Paul, pictured in August 2020. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

My children were ecstatic to discover this bright, cheery new spot in the seen-better-days Signal Hills strip mall, which is walking distance from our house. I was ecstatic to find that in addition to high-quality hard ice cream and sorbet (with fun flavors like tequila, which of course I tried, and it’s delicious), there are also Mexican popsicles, which are beautiful and refreshing on a hot day and aqua frescas and horchata, the rice-milk concoction that is refreshing on its own, but also great when mixed with a high-quality rum at home (you’re welcome).

There are several Twin Cities locations, including one on Cesar Chavez on St. Paul’s West Side.

1201 St. Robert St., West St. Paul, 651-340-2842 or 197 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, 651-797-3349; facebook.com/mapdbMN

* MN Nice Cream

MN Nice Cream started as a food truck, but in just a few years has grown to two bricks-and-mortar locations. Due to the pandemic, the Northeast Minneapolis location is serving out of said food truck instead of inside, and the cute new Stillwater shop has been reduced to a walkup window. Still, the made-for-Instagram soft-serve cones topped with everything from berries to candy, cereal to popcorn, generally topped with a poof of edible glitter, are worth a visit.

807 Broadway St. N.E., #102, Minneapolis; 308 E. Chestnut St., Stillwater; mnnicecream.com


10-year-old Desmond Haug, of St. Paul, smiles after seeing how much ice cream the child-size cup held at Nelson’s Ice Cream in St. Paul on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Holly Peterson)

The Stillwater location of this shop has been open for nearly 100 years, and it’s easy to see why. The portions of high-quality ice cream (they serve Cedar Crest and Kemps) are ungodly. A child-sized serving is nearly as big as said child’s head and costs just $4.

They claim to serve the biggest portions in a five-state area, and I have no doubt that’s true.

There are plenty of flavor options to please everyone. Just remember to arrive hungry.

920 W. Olive St. W., Stillwater; 651-430-1103; 454 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul; 651-348-8990; nelsonsicecream.biz

* Sweet Science

Rachel Lemons hands a ice cream cone to a guest at the Sweet Science Ice Cream counter in the new Keg and Case West Seventh Market in St. Paul on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

If I’m playing favorites, I think Sweet Science is the cream of the local crop.

Owner Ashlee Olds is committed to using the best-quality ingredients — all organic, pure cane sugar, vanilla paste, French gray sea salt, you get the picture. The result is rich, creamy ice cream with bright, punchy flavors. Some of our favorites are the rhubarb-cinnamon-almond and the floral, herbaceous basil that you just have to try to understand. We also recently flipped out over the carrot cake flavor (limited, a partnership with nonprofit Urban Roots) and the naturally minty grasshopper pie, but really, absolutely everything is good. My kids refuse to leave Keg and Case without a scoop.

928 W. 7th St., St. Paul; sweetscienceicecream.com

* St. Paul Corner Drug

I don’t know how I have lived in St. Paul for decades without ever visiting this old-fashioned soda fountain, but I guess I’ll have to wait until the pandemic passes to properly sit at the counter. They have a walk-up window for now, where you call in or order online before they make it and pass it safely to you. There’s one table around the side of the drugstore, but that’s it, so plan to take your malt, shake, soda, float or hard ice cream to go.

240 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul; 651-698-8859; stpaulcornerdrug.com

* Treats

Ice cream and cereal are mixed together for a cool snack at the new Treats Cereal Bar and Boba on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

I have to say, I was a little skeptical about the cereal-in-ice-cream gimmick, but the result is so delicious I can’t argue. Treats has a machine that mixes your favorite cereal flavors into hard ice cream to order and shoots the treat out into tasty swirls that get topped with all kinds of goodies. These concoctions are not only delicious, but also made for Instagram, so expect to be in line with the teenage crowd, which adores this place. They’ve got hand-whisked matcha drinks and funky, cereal-topped waffles on the menu, too.

770 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-478-4385; treatsmn.com

* Wonders Ice Cream

Vietnamese coffee flavored rolled ice cream at Wonders Ice Cream on University Avenue in St. Paul. Shot Sept. 13, 2017. (Pioneer Press / Jess Fleming)

If you haven’t jumped on the Thai rolled ice cream bandwagon yet, Wonders, which has a new South St. Paul location inside Basil and Sprout in addition to its original University Avenue spot, is a great place to start. Watch as employees turn cream into colorful, flavorful rolls of ice cream on a below-freezing griddle, and don’t forget to take a photo for your social media feed.

298 W. University Ave., St. Paul, 651-493-2254 or 417 S. Maria Ave., South St. Paul; wondersicecream.com

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