While many consider summer a time to focus on the “bathing suit body”, I’ve found that this is the hardest time of year to say no to sweets. There are too many delicious ice cream places in west Michigan!
Best Ice Cream in West Michigan
As the temperature in the western Mitten heats up, I did a little research to find you ten places to cool down… but not necessarily slim down.
Ice Cream Garage
Located in Standale, just a few minutes from Fulton St., the Ice Cream Garage is a walk-up style ice cream shop that reminds me of getting cones as a kid.
The bonus: they serve Hudsonville Ice Cream, and often carry Michigan’s own Superman Ice Cream!
Not only do they have tons of flavors, but the staff at the Garage has also carefully compiled concoctions utilizing the more unique varieties of ice cream, their assorted syrups, and toppings.
They also do all sorts of fun specials- “Malt Monday, Topping Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday, Turtle Thursday, Flurry Friday, Soft-Serve Saturday, and Sundae Sundays”!
Slushies and soft serve are available if you’re not craving the cream. Open noon until 10 p.m. every day this summer!
Kilwin’s Grand Rapids
When I recently found myself soaking in some air conditioning at a Kilwin’s in Florida, I learned something from the bag of my obligatory purchase- the original Kilwin’s was opened in Petoskey, Michigan!
In 1947, Don and Katy Kilwin opened up shop and now have a huge presence nationally. In West Michigan we have three locations: Rivertown Crossings Mall, Holland, and Monroe Center (the newest one). It’s classically delicious. Plus there’s candy and fudge!
I always get toasted coconut ice cream with hot fudge on top… try sneaking that into a movie without making a huge mess in your purse.
I’m not sure when it happened but “fro-yo” swiftly captured the hearts of every West Michigan resident I’ve met. Sweet Yo’s, a frozen yogurt buffet, was founded by the Uccello and Piccione families of East GR. They have three locations in Grand Rapids – Downtown Grand Rapids, Grandville, and Forest Hills.
The phrase “Treat Yo-self” can be found all over the company t-shirts and the outlook on health and happiness is one I need to hear: “Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. At Sweet Yo’s we encourage you to treat yourself, while still being conscious of your health.”
The set-up in store encourages a balance between self-control and foodie experimentation as you balance topping combinations vs. paying per ounce. I solemnly confess that my most expensive fro-yo was at the north end of the seven-dollar mark. But fruit can be heavy, right?
Furniture City Creamery
New to the scene in 2013 is Furniture City Creamery, a micro-creamery founded by Rachel Franko, a successful businesswoman and, as it turns out, a dairy genius.
As Beer City proudly waves its flag, Rachel was one entrepreneur to find a link in success with beer: micro-brew ice creams. Currently sold at The Mitten Brewing Company, a brewery and pizzeria on the northwest side of GR, recent flavors include Peanuts and Crackerjack Porter, No-Bake Cookie, Lime in the Coconut and Honey Vanilla.
The cool thing about FCC is that almost all of the flavors have vegan counterparts, so come one, come all!
The Parlor at Cherry Hill
Located on the corner of Cherry and Packard streets, The Parlor at Cherry Hill truly takes you back to a time when the word “parlor” was used far more often.
Aside from the quaint interior, the stuff is gooood. Mooville Farms of Nashville, MI provides some of the ice cream here; the other half of their menu includes ice cream, sherberts, yogurts & sorbets made in Ludington MI’s House of Flavors.
Waffle cones are made fresh in the parlor and you are able to sit indoors and outdoors, depending on how quickly you want your cone to melt. These guys are open from 3:30-10 so save it for your after-lunch stop.
Because Rockford isn’t Grand Rapids, it’s easy to forget how close they really are! Today I drove out there with a fellow ice cream tester Ava (a 2-year-old with a raging sweet tooth) to make sure Rocky’s could earn its place on the top ten ice cream places in West Michigan…and was not disappointed.
Rocky’s serves both Hudsonville Ice Cream and United Dairy Farmers, which includes awesome things like “Cherry Limeade Sherbet” and “Black Raspberry Chip” ice cream.
There was no line, benches to sit, prices were reasonable and when we were done, we were right in the prime shopping zone of Main St. in Rockford. Also, for those of you who don’t know, there are no parking meters in Rockford, which made the ice cream taste that much better.
With clientele like George Bush and Mitt Romney, Captain Sundae in Holland and Zeeland has certainly established some West Michigan rapport. Not surprising considering their innovative “Ice Cream Salad” and dog-friendly cones!
With three locations, ice cream cakes, a summer food menu, coffee, catering, and the famous Tommy Turtle Sundae, I would gladly head here for a Sundae Fun-day. I defer to fellow writer Amy on a more detailed history of Captain Sundae’s success!
Love’s Ice Cream
Love’s Ice Cream was founded by Chris Mckellar, and the name was inspired by what we all know to be true – people love ice cream. They use milk from Grassfield Farms and from cones to candy toppings, all of the menu items are hand-made in store.
More Places to Enjoy Ice Cream in West Michigan
I’m exhausted from researching ice cream. I believe I need a frozen pick-me-up. Where do you like eating ice cream in West Michigan?