With fall thankfully on the way, now is the time to cool off with a frozen treat. Here’s the scoop on our hometown Mom and Pop ice cream shops — the “cream of the crop,” as they say. —Arielle Stevenson
BO’S ICE CREAM 7101 N. Florida Ave., 813-234-3870. The beloved old-fashioned ice cream stand (est. in 1954) has a walk-up order window and newfangled drive-thru. Nearby residents stroll with pooches and friends, gathering at patio tables for soft-serve cones, dips, splits and sundaes.
CAMPBELL’S DAIRYLAND 200 S. Parsons Ave., Brandon, 813-685-1189. Tampa and Brandon locals speak of Campbell’s as if it were the holy land of dairy. Formerly Dairy Isle, opened in 1985, Dairyland was born after the building burnt down in 2002. Classic scoops, soft serve cones, shakes, and baskets of perfectly fried burgers and fries.
CANDY KITCHEN 13711 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach, 727-392-6803. Candy Kitchen makes killer homemade ice cream, and boasts a vast selection of hard-to-find candy varieties. Don't miss the ice cream shop’s restroom, which is plastered floor-to-ceiling with candy wrappers.
COQUINA CREAMERY 3922 Sixth St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-331-1535. Located next door to St. Pete’s beloved Munch’s restaurant is a brand new ice cream shop. They boast 27 flavors of soft-serve, hurricanes, dipped cones, waffle cones, sno-balls, sundaes and more.
D’LITES EMPORIUM 3629 49th St. N., St Petersburg, 727-525-0400, 1906 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-251-5222, 5955 Gulf Winds Drive, St. Pete Beach, 727-592-1934, tampabaydlites.com. Feed your sweet tooth without all the guilt of full-fat ice cream. D’Lites Emporium offers low carb, low sugar, and low fat ice cream with as little as 50 calories a serving.
DAIRY INN 1201 Dr. Martin Luther King St. N., St Petersburg, 727-822-6971, dairyinn.com. Dairy Inn is St. Petersburg’s quintessential old-fashioned ice cream shop (established in 1947). Serving up hand-dipped scoops, fresh soft serve flavors, and the most jam-packed banana splits you’ve ever seen. Don’t miss their milkshakes, burgers, and beignets either.
DAIRY KURL 1555 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater, 727-446-1549. Clearwater’s tiny but mighty ice cream shack almost always has a line of locals waiting patiently to order their twist soft serve cones. Trust this local, Dairy Kurl’s waffle cone of chocolate-vanilla twist is worth the wait. Be careful if you go too big; you might not be able to handle the generous portion sizes that the Kurl serves up daily.
DAIRY JOY 3813 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa, 813-839-5485. South Tampa’s staple serves hearty scoops on the cheap ($1-$3 for a cup or cone), all from homemade ice cream. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor tables and enjoy. Cash only.
FRITZEE FREEZE 368 Patricia Ave., Dunedin, 727-736-3008. Dunedin’s old-school ice cream shop serves tasty homemade shakes, sundaes, and hard or soft serve. Try the delicious burgers, fries, and dogs, too.
GELATARIA DEL DUOMO 2223 N. West Shore Blvd. at Bay Street, Tampa, 813-877-7771, duomogelato.com. International Mall’s Gelataria serves up artfully crafted Italian gelatos. In addition, Duomo also offers delicious tiramisu, cakes, and freshly brewed espresso.
MAZZARO’S ITALIAN MARKET 2909 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-321-2400, mazzarosmarket.com. Beyond the wine and cheese room, just past the coffee bar in the bakery is a glass case filled with Mazzaro’s homemade gelato. You may have missed it running for your muffaletta, but do yourself a favor and order a cup. From fresh fruit flavors, to rich and dark chocolates, it’s a sensory overload.
MISSING LINKS 1201 E. Bay Drive, Largo, 727-584-8088. Missing Links in Largo is part driving range, part miniature golf course, and part ice cream shop. The shop serves a variety of locally made Working Cow hand-dipped ice creams and sundaes and impressive soft-serve flavor combination menu.
OLD FARMER’S CREAMERY 2531 Fourth St. N., St Petersburg, 727-896-2827. Housed inside a barn-fashioned building is another great St. Petersburg ice cream spot. Dozens of hard and soft ice cream options, milkshakes, sundaes and more. Cash only.
REVOLUTION ICE CREAM CO. 220 W. Brandon Blvd. #104, Brandon, 813-857-3250, revicecream.com. Owners Bill and Leslee Workman started making ice cream at home while Bill was still employed at his “square job.” When that ended, the Workmans decided to try opening an ice cream shop. By the look of the line snaking out the door, it was a good decision.
SHAKE SHOP 11920 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. After a day at the beach, skimmers and bronzed bikini babes head to the Shake Shop to cool off. Their milkshakes are something of a local legend (some say “amaze-balls”).
STRACHAN’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & DESSERTS 310 Main St., 727-733-3603, strachansdesserts.com. Strachan’s ice cream is so good it gives Working Cow a run for its money. Full fat, full cream, and fully delicious.
YO BOYZ 1815 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-330-0452, yo-boyz.com. The brother-owned and -operated fro-yo shop in Ybor City is open late on the weekends to feed that evening sweet tooth.