National Ice Cream Day couldn’t have come at a better time this year, what with all of these insufferable heatwaves roasting most of the country, including places that don’t normally get so hot.
What better way to counter the rising temperatures than with some freezing cold ice cream? That’s a trick question because while the obvious answer is to go grab some ice cream — which people can find anywhere — the better answer is to figure out where to get your ice cream from.
Baskin Robbins shops are easy enough to find, but that mega-business has been around for nearly 80 years. What about some of the local mom-and-pop ice cream shops? I’ll do you one better: What about those even fewer Black-owned ice cream shops — why not shop there?
Now, arguably more than ever, Black-owned businesses need our patronage. And what better time to start than on a sweltering National Ice Cream Day?
Keep reading to find a growing list of Black-owned ice cream makers who you should support.
Michael “Mikey” Cole is a serial entrepreneur but he said he stumbled upon the ice cream business by happenstance after having a cookbook fall on him while he was cleaning out a closet.
“I had no machine, no nothing. I put the ingredients into a bowl and popped it in the freezer. It was trash. So I was like we gotta change this,” Cole explained. “I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got a tabletop ice cream machine, and then it was like: ‘Oh, I see what this is.’ People started coming over to my crib. They’re saying: ‘Mikey, this ice cream is damn good.’”
With flavors like sweet potato pie and “brown suga bourbon cake,” Creamalicious is unapologetically Black-owned and operated. Liz Rogers is the founder, president and executive chef of Creamalicious Ice Creams, and the flavors she whipped up were inspired by “her own family recipes that have been passed down from 4 generations in the South,” according to the website.
Shawn Michelle’s Homemade Ice Cream in Chicago boasts flavors like “melanin magic” and “banana pudding” that have helped keep the Black-owned business operating for nearly 30 years. While the shop doesn’t offer to ship any of its products, an in-person visit will get you your choice of ice cream cone, ice cream in a cup or one of Shawn Michelle’s Homemade Ice Cream signature sundaes.
Located on the historic Georgia Avenue corridor and steps away from Howard University, Here’s The Scoop offers traditional and vegan options for ice cream and is even available for catering. If you’re ever in the nation’s capital, be sure to pay a visit to the good folks operating Here’s The Scoop.
Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Charm City is not just Black-owned, but it is also employee-owned, as all six of the shop’s founders remain employed by their labor of love. Aside from traditional flavors, Taharka Bros. offers non-dairy options for those who might be lactose intolerant. Its products can be bought in-store, of course, but they can also be found around Baltimore at places like Oriole Stadium as well as a handful of restaurants and grocery stores. But if you’re not in Baltimore, you can place an online order and have it delivered to your home.
This strictly vegan ice cream shop refers to its flavors as “the future of ice cream.” The owner, Uncle Otis, said he was inspired to open a vegan ice cream shop because he is a vegan who has always loved creamy desserts but can’t drink milk. His many options for ice cream are “completely plant based and absolutely delicious,” Earthy Goodness’ website says.
Hood Cream did the nearly impossible and opened up for business during the pandemic at a time when small businesses, let alone Black-owned businesses, were shuttering to historic proportions. Nikki Thompson, the owner and operator of Hood Cream, offers an exclusively non-dairy menu in part to address the number of Black people who are lactose intolerant, she said in an interview from April with Nola.com.
This Black- and family-owned business in North St. Louis offers a dozen traditional flavors of ice cream that come in all forms, including a banana split and sundae, and all sizes, from one scoop in a cup or on a cone up to a quart.
Little Giant Ice Cream makes all of its ice cream from scratch and while it offers traditional flavors, the shop welcomes ideas from its customers for which flavors to create next. There are also “killer vegan flavors available every week,” its website says, with coconut and almond milk as the preferred dairy substitutes.