The Ultimate Guide to Soft Serve Ice Cream in Philadelphia, Suburbs, and the Coast

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Nothing epitomizes summer quite like soft-serve. A tower of fluffy, smooth vanilla ice cream rolled up on a cone or in a cup — perhaps dipped in rainbow sprinkles or a chocolate shell — is irresistible on a sticky August day. Routes to the beach or the mountains are lined with custard shacks and scoop shops sporting soft-serve silhouettes. There are also encores in the city, where the sounds of Mister Softee trucks echo through the streets.

Just in time for the peak of summer, here are more than 25 local spots in the Philadelphia area to get your dose of soft-serve. (Thanks to several Inquirer readers who provided suggestions for the list.)

Meticulously prepared Vietnamese coffee and food is the main draw of this stylish café and coffee roaster in the Harrowgate section of Kensington, but its menu also includes condensed milk and tropical pandan-flavored soft serve in cones, cups and on lattes and black tea. Past popular flavors include Mocha, Avocado, and Honey Butter. 3400 J Street, 215 690-1268, capheroasters.com

Sidekicks at this seasonal Wissahickon shop praise its homemade hand-dipped ice cream, but the soft serve ice cream is also popular. Available in vanilla, chocolate, and twist, as well as Dole Whip dairy-free soft serve rotating flavors, it’s stuffed into ice cream sandwiches and swirled with toppings to make ice cream. 5461 Ridge Ave, 215-487-1920, candccreamery.com

Vanilla, chocolate, and twist are all year round at the local ice cream shop in Manayunk. Look for the flamingo on Main Street. 4162 Main Street, 215 483-4162, instagram.com/chloescornermyk

In addition to cones, cups, and pints, you can get Coco Crushes (vanilla, chocolate, or soft swirled mixes mixed with toppings) and soft Oreo cookie and chocolate chip sandwiches at this Powelton Village storefront. 3632 Powelton Ave, 267-353-8059, cocoscookiesandcreamery.com

South Philly lines up here for soft serve sundaes and handmade sorbetto ice cream. Keep an eye out for pretzel pocket specials: Center City Pretzel co. vanilla, chocolate or soft twist filled buns. 1928 E. Passyunk Ave, 215-514-3930, instagram.com/oldworldicetreats

Order ice cream in a cinnamon donut cone at this veteran East Passyunk store, which also mixes chocolate and vanilla with homemade treats like chocolate covered strawberries and peanut butter cups. 1800 E. Passyunk Ave, 215-271-7621, favours-saveurs.com

Brown sugar soft serve is homemade and included with every dinner order at Laser Wolf in Kensington, where the toppings rotate (pistachios, cherries and crisps are customary). The same flavor recently made its debut at Dizengoff downtown, where it’s topped with strawberry shortcake or peanut sesame dukkah on a magic chocolate shell. 1301 Howard St. N., 267-499-4660, laserwolfphilly.com; 1625 Sansom St., 215-867-8181, dizengoffhummus.square.site

Find Rival Bros. 1-900-ICE-CREAM Soft Cream Espresso and Sweet Cream Flavor. at Fishtown’s trendiest pizzeria. Garnish it with an amaro. 1313 N. Lee Street, pizzeriabeddia.com

New flavors of soft scratch dough are on the menu at this Washington Avenue bakery every weekend from Memorial Day through the end of October. They chart the season: think strawberry-rhubarb, sweet corn-blackberry, and pumpkin-nut. 2204 Washington Ave, 215-545-2939, smallovencafe.com


Last summer, the effervescent Fishtown ice cream parlor launched grass-fed soft serve ice cream at its Ardmore store. Flavors change weekly, on a whim, and rarely repeat. They come in pairs that twist nicely. Recent examples include Strawberry Nesquik plus Roasted Sicilian Pistachio, Graham Cracker plus Key Lime Pie, and Brown Sugar Cake plus Pineapple. Look for soft drinks soon at 1-900 stores in downtown and Fishtown. 18 W. Lancaster Ave, Ardmore, 267-227-1668, 1900icecream.com

This West Chester dairy makes many products with its grass-fed milk, but the vanilla bean soft serve is perhaps the most delicious. A sought-after special offer: half a cantaloupe filled with soft cream. Look for him at Baily’s ice cream truck. 1821 Lenape Road Unionville, West Chester, 610-793-1151, bailysdairy.farm

This old-school Levittown ice cream shop, started in the 1950s, has two privately owned locations. The two exchange many soft flavors with the seasons. On Woodbourne Road, look for strawberries, bananas, pumpkins, graham crackers, orange sherbet and pineapple Dole Whip. Old Bristol Pike flavors include blueberry, apple, cinnamon, and ube (often sold as a mystery flavor). 972 Woodbourne Road, Levittown, 215-547-1636; 7504 Old Bristol Pike, Levittown, 215-943-0600

Conshy Crazes and sundaes are built with chocolate, vanilla and soft, hearty toppings at Conshohocken’s seasonal shop, which also offers sea salt caramel pretzel frozen yogurt. 515 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, 610-828-1413, instagram.com/scoopsconshy

Flourtown’s ice cream shop is doubly sweet: it serves chocolate, vanilla, and soft serve ice cream (plus popsicles and Bassett ice cream), and it supports a good cause. The shop/non-profit organization raises funds and provides employment for adults with autism. 1020 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, 267-317-5298, nightlighticecream.com

This family-run ice cream maker got its start in South Jersey in 1894. It’s changed hands a few times since – it’s now owned by the folks behind Philadelphia Water Ice Co. – but the ice cream is still premium. All but one of the stores (sorry, Glenside, the store is too small) have a machine that can dispense many flavors of ice cream at the touch of a button, resulting in colorful, Instagram-worthy cones. Shops in Prospect Park, Levittown, Glenside, Linwood, Feasterville and Hammonton and Brigantine, NJ; richmansicecream.com

This walk-in ice cream storefront in Ambler sells soft serve ice cream from April through October, which makes it a bit special. Try it – vanilla, chocolate or twist – in a root beer float. 11 Lindenwold Ave, Ambler, 215-542-0272, sweetbriarcafe.net


Avalon’s favorite ice cream storefront (cash-only) sells chocolate, vanilla, and soft twist cream, as well as pretzel and sea salt caramel frozen yogurt. 2288 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-4141

A quick detour off the AC highway, this family-friendly outfit infuses different flavors into its smooth serve depending on the time of year. Watch out for blueberries, strawberries, tiramisu, coffee, mint, orange, coconut and salted caramel. 608 Cross Keys Road, Sicklerville, 856-629-3013, creanies.com

Run by the Plum family since 1977, these two stores adjacent to the Shore can infuse all kinds of flavors, from espresso to banana. Try a chili (served mild mixed with toppings) or a confectionery sundae. 710 New Rd., Somers Point, 609-653-0420; 109 NJ-50, Ocean View, 609-390-0361, instagram.com/custardhut

This long-standing ice cream shop bills itself as “the king of flavors”. Co-owner Joe Mosco comes up with new flavors for his 24-flavor system every time he comes out, which means he can create around 40 intriguing flavors like guava, peanut brittle, and chai tea. 1540 N. Black Horse Pike, Blackwood, 856-227-1222, facebook.com/HilltopCreamery

Lines can be long at this 1950s restaurant and ice cream bar, but they’re worth the wait. Get your soft serve dipped in a chocolate, cherry, or peanut butter shell. 9510 Ventnor Ave, Town of Margate, 609-822-9559, margatedairybar.com

This old-school stand operates year-round and sells chocolate, vanilla, and fruit-flavored sorbets by the cup and cone or mixed in bursts. 340 W Main St, Maple Shade, 856-663-1351, mapleshadecustardstand.com

Pennsauken’s Mister Softee storefront sells what you’d buy at traveling ice cream trucks, but it also mixes seasonal flavors into its ice cream rotation: banana, strawberry and orange creme in the summer, peanut butter, peanut butter and pumpkin jelly. in autumn. Also keep an eye out for the almond milk soft serve. 3605 Haddonfield Road, Pennsauken Township, 856-662-3787

This strip of Haddon Avenue in Westmont is full of candy shops, but Primo Water Ice has a loyal following after 26 years in business. Besides chocolate and vanilla, its most popular flavors are cotton candy, black cherry, and espresso (for adults). Bonus: nuggets are always free. (Primo’s Cherry Hill outpost only offers chocolate, vanilla, and twisted soft cream.) 28 Haddon Ave, Haddon Township, 856-854-8221; 484 E. Evesham Road, Cherry Hill, 856-685-7364, primowaterice.com

This second-generation scoop shop in the “blueberry capital of the world” uses family recipes for its homemade ice cream. Owner Lou Graziano won’t divulge too much about how pastry cream is made here, but he mixes in fruit purees like blueberry, peach, strawberry and pumpkin when the season is right. 1051 S. White Horse Pike, Hammonton, 609-561-4423, royalcrownicecream.com

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