Cones, floats, concretes and more: Keep cool with our

No St. Louis summer is complete without visiting Ted Drewes on a warm evening for frozen custard. But that leaves a lot of other evenings — and afternoons and (we won’t judge) mornings — for other frozen treats. From orange sherbet in Edwardsville to paletas in the heart of Cherokee Street, the Go! Magazine team has gathered some of our favorite frozen treats to guide you through these hot, humid dog days of 2022. 

Bobby's Frozen Custard

A blackberry pecan concrete at Bobby’s Frozen Custard in Maryville

Bobby’s Frozen Custard: blackberry pecan concrete

To people who live east of the river, Bobby’s is Illinois’ answer to Ted Drewes — some may even say it’s better. I am not particularly loyal to any combination, but I almost always order a concrete. On our most recent trip I was tempted by the special — Peanut Butter Blast — but instead went with one of my favorites, blackberry pecan. The crunchy nuts and juicy berries were plentiful and a perfect combo. On the hot, steamy Thursday night we stopped by, there was no wait, but most nights — especially when a band is playing on the outdoor stage — expect to be 20-deep or more in a line waiting to be served. The large parking lot leaves plenty of room to spread out to enjoy your treat, and the new owners recently added a drive-thru for added convenience. By Norma Klingsick

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Where 2525 North Center Street, IL-159, Maryville • More info

Fresh banana malt at Crown Candy Kitchen

A fresh banana malt at Crown Candy Kitchen

Crown Candy Kitchen: banana malt

In March 2020, at the tail end of the Before Times, a newsroom colleague made a lunchtime run to Crown Candy Kitchen and brought back malts and — what else? — giant BLTs. A few days later, the historic Old North soda fountain paused restaurant operations. It later pivoted to curbside pickup and eventually resumed business as usual, but I only recently made it back inside for one of my favorites: a fresh banana malt, just like the one that accompanied that comically oversized BLT. The shop blends a banana with milk, malted powder and three scoops of its housemade ice cream for a treat that’s simply indulgent — thick and creamy with chunks of real banana, but still easily drinkable through a straw. I took mine to go, but if you enjoy your malt in the shop, it’s served in a fancy glass, with the excess waiting in a metal tumbler. By Gabe Hartwig

Where 1401 St. Louis Avenue • More info 314-621-9650;

Fitz's floats

A server delivers ice cream floats to a table at Fitz’s in the Delmar Loop.

Fitz’s: root beer float

Ice cream, shakes and concretes are good all year around. But the root beer float is a true summer treat, and Fitz’s makes a great one. The unique taste of root beer both complements and contrasts with vanilla ice cream, and the soda’s foamy head provides its own extra glamour. Root beers in general combine flavors of sassafras or sarsaparilla, wintergreen, vanilla, and other roots, spices and herbs. Fitz’s version is a superior one, and having a float of any variety (even cream, orange or other sodas) feels like a party at the bottling restaurant. It also has an adult version that adds spiced rum. Root beer may not be as popular as it once was (although a few A&W outlets are hanging on), but the old-timey soda makes a delicious and special summer treat with just two ingredients. By Jane Henderson

Where 6605 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 5244 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Sappington • More info

The Fountain on Locust

A black cherry mini-cone at the Fountain on Locust

Fountain on Locust: mini cone

Capping a full lunch or dinner with a big hot fudge sundae may feel like too much some days. But what about a couple of mini cones? The Fountain used to offer an official “flight” of four small cones. It’s not on the menu anymore, but you can still get several tiny cones at $1 each as a dessert or just to try different flavors of ice cream. Recently I tasted butter pecan, espresso bean, vanilla and black cherry, each requiring six or seven licks plus two or three bites for the sugar cone. The little scoops, apparently wrangled using a melon-baller, seemed to be sized for a lactose-tolerant squirrel or Chihuahua. Each flavor (the ice cream comes from Wisconsin) was delicious. If you’re feeling even more decadent but still want few calories, there’s also the $3 “World’s Smallest Hot Fudge Sundae.” On the next visit, you might feel virtuous enough to splurge on any number of ice cream martinis. By Jane Henderson

Where 3037 Locust Street • More info 314-535-7800;

Snow cone

A Tom Collins snow cone makes up for in flavor what it lacks in showmanship. The Frozen Tiki on Hampton Avenue in south St. Louis also features tart and sweet syrups, plus chicken and beef for four-legged customers.

Frozen Tiki: snow cones

I am not a snow cone stand loyalist: Any concessionaire who can shave a chunk of ice and drench it in candy-colored syrup has my heart. But the Frozen Tiki in south St. Louis tops my list because of its proximity to my house. After a two-block stroll to the parking lot of an auto-body shop, I am pursuing a menu nailed to a trailer that could be generously described as ramshackle. The glowing roof proclaims both snow cones and shaved ice. Which is it? Does it matter? Just know that for three bucks, you can dig into a mound of powder-soft ice, doused with the tang of Tom Collins. (Pro tip: It’s one of the few flavors that won’t stain your mouth, should you need to maintain some dignity in your snacking.) Your temperature drops, your mood mellows, you don’t even notice the persistent waft of exhaust fumes from the traffic on Hampton Avenue. It’s heaven. By Colleen Schrappen

Where 5300 Hampton Avenue • More info

The Gelateria Coffee Co.

Gelato at the Gelateria Coffee Co., 3197 South Grand Boulevard

Gelateria Coffee Co. and Gelato Di Riso: gelato

Once upon a time, in the years B.C. (Before Children), my husband and I traveled to Rome and Florence. I decided to eat a scoop of gelato every day of the trip — and made the harder daily decision of what flavor to try. Gelato contains more milk and less cream than ice cream, and it usually doesn’t include egg yolks. The Gelateria Coffee Co. on South Grand is a safe bet here, and my daughter and I recently tried the lemon, mango, chai and cherry lime flavors. You can also get gelato at Pastaria in Clayton, Tre Cuori Gelateria & Açaí in Ellisville and Le Macaron French Pastries in Webster Groves. Gelato Di Riso is in Kirkwood, but at its location on the Hill, you can order and bring your gelato to a seat around the corner at Piazza Imo, enjoy the marble fountain and imagine yourself in Italy. The kids might like it, too. By Valerie Schremp Hahn

Where Gelateria Coffee Co., 3197 South Grand Boulevard • More info

Where Gelato Di Riso, 5204 Wilson Avenue; 151 West Jefferson Avenue, Kirkwood • More info

City Foundry Food Hall: Poptimism

From left: cantaloupe sea salt, blueberry lemonade, watermelon, blackberry goat cheese, peach basil and cucumber lime ice pops from Poptimism 

La Vallesana and Poptimism: paletas and ice pops

It might not draw as much attention as ice cream or local favorite frozen custard, but we are living in the golden age of the ice pop — or the paleta, if you happen to be on Cherokee Street, where no visit to La Vallesana is complete without a refreshing mango or a spicy, energizing piña con chile paleta. At Poptimism, the ice-pop venture Kaylen Wissinger spun off from Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop, the flavors change with the season — right now is peak peach-basil time — and sometimes follow such St. Louis-inspired whims as Provel or crab Rangoon. By Ian Froeb

Where La Vallesana, 2801 Cherokee Street • More info

Where Poptimism, Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way • More info

Where Whisk: a Sustainable Bakeshop, 2201 Cherokee Street • More info

Lion's choice cone

A Lion’s Choice cone, available for 50 cents. 

Lion’s Choice: mini vanilla cone

On my list of the 10 best things about St. Louis, the mini vanilla cone from Lion’s Choice ranks high. The price recently doubled to 50 cents, but for many years it was a modest quarter (27 cents with tax). But even at 50 cents, the generous swirl of vanilla frozen custard in a mini cone is a delicious bargain. It’s small enough that it barely counts as a guilty indulgence, but substantial enough to satisfy an intense craving for something sweet. Every time I drive by this St. Louis-based fast-food chain, I start scrounging in my cup holders for spare change. By Aisha Sultan

Where Multiple locations • More info


Homemade kulfi at Mideast Market 

Mideast Market: homemade kulfi

Growing up in Texas, there was no frozen custard scene. We regularly had Blue Bell ice cream stocked in our freezer, but for special occasions, my mom would make kulfi, a dense and creamy dessert that originated in the Indian subcontinent in the 16th-century Mughal era. My parents had eaten kulfi on a stick growing up in Pakistan, and Mom created an approximation of the traditional recipe. She used a small can of condensed milk, a can of evaporated milk, one pint of heavy whipping cream and two pieces of white bread without the crust. Blend these ingredients for less than a minute, then add a handful of finely chopped raw almonds and pistachios. She would pour this mixture in popsicle forms and freeze. It was a rich, sweet and nutty delight. When I moved to St. Louis, I was thrilled to discover both frozen custard and a version of kulfi at Mideast Market, a small ethnic grocery store, that reminded me of home. By Aisha Sultan

Where 14375 Manchester Road, Manchester • More info 636-230-7018;

Narwhal's Crafted Urban Ice Thriving Near SLU

A flight of three 7-ounce slushies at Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice on Laclede Avenue

Narwhal’s Crafted: Banana Dave

Do you ever go to a favorite spot with an expansive menu and still order the same thing every time? That’s me at Narwhal’s Crafted. The list of frozen, boozy drinks is long and tempting — Mayan Junglebird, Prickly Pear Margarita, Strawberry Peach Bellini, Blueberry Mule and more — all appealing for someone like me who enjoys fruity, frozen drinks. My go-to is the Banana Dave, made with pineapple and coconut rums, vodka, homemade ice cream, freshly pureed bananas, pineapple and citrus. It’s a cool favorite, often after a concert or dinner with friends, usually a late-night run. Flights are also available; I once ordered the Chocolate Mudslide, Orange Dreamsicle, Strawberry Peach Bellini and Passion Fruit Punch, which were good but didn’t necessarily go well together. Since then, it’s been the Banana Dave for me. By Kevin C. Johnson

Where 3906 Laclede Avenue; 1450 Beale Street No. 125, St. Charles • More info

Northside Dairy Haven

Orange sherbet and vanilla swirl cone at Northside Dairy Haven in Edwardsville

Northside Dairy Haven: orange sherbet and vanilla swirl cone

Pulling into the gravel lot surrounded by woods on the outskirts of Edwardsville, Northside Dairy, which opened in 1961, will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. My kids and my husband always go for a specialty concrete, and on our most recent visit, my younger son ordered a Goldbrick concrete (Heath, crunch and butterscotch). The owner, who was taking our order, said “excellent choice,” and he wasn’t wrong. But I am still sticking with the classic orange/vanilla soft-serve cone. The creamsicle-flavored delight brings back childhood memories of hot car rides when my dad told my three siblings and me to “keep it simple,” so we all ordered orange sherbet (meanwhile, my dad returned with a scoop of black walnut). The tall, generous serving is also a steal — $2.35 for a medium cone. By Norma Klingsick

Where 1902 North Main Street, Edwardsville • More info

Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher at Starbucks

Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher at Starbucks

Starbucks: Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher

In the Academy Award-winning film “The Hurt Locker,” Jeremy Renner plays a soldier who’s an expert at disarming explosive devices — but is dumbfounded when he’s called upon to make a choice in a supermarket cereal aisle. So he makes a random pick. That’s pretty much how I feel about icy sweets: Anything will do. That is, as long as it’s not so cold that it gives me a headache. But if pressed to select just one, I’ll have to go with the Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher at Starbucks. As anyone who knows me even casually can attest, I’m not normally a fruit-and-vegetables guy. But this drink has a powerful effect on my taste buds. By Calvin Wilson

Where Multiple locations • More info

SugarBot Creamery in St. Charles

The gooey butter shake at SugarBot Creamery in St. Charles

SugarBot Creamery: gooey butter shake

If you can imagine someone baking one of the best gooey butter cakes St. Louis has ever produced, chopping it up into tiny bits and putting those bits in a blender with vanilla ice cream, you can imagine SugarBot’s famous shake. At $8.95 it’s a little pricey, but let’s just say it’s a healthy pour. Share it with a friend at the adorable Main Street St. Charles soda fountain (which opened at that location in May), and you will walk away happy. By Amy Bertrand

Where 302 North Main Street, St. Charles • More info