Spring is on its way, and before you know it we’ll be trading in our jackets and parkas for bathing suits.
One true sign of warm weather approaching is when ice cream shops in the area begin to open their doors again.
Below I’ve compiled a list of five excellent and original ice cream shops in the South Jersey area that are guaranteed to satisfy that sweet tooth, while also being kind to your wallet.
1. Heaven Scent Ice Cream
140 W Browning Rd.
Bellmawr, NJ 08031
Heaven Scent Ice Cream is an independently-owned ice cream shack, located in Bellmawr, NJ. It is located conveniently on a major road, near softball fields, high schools and gyms. In the spring it often becomes a popular hang-out for sports teams in the area, especially softball and baseball teams who come to celebrate a winning game.
Ice cream is served over the counter window and guests can sit and enjoy their dessert on their large deck that’s lined with tables and chairs. Prices range from $2.50 for a small cone to $4.50 for a large, while milkshakes and specialty drinks range from $5 to $7 depending on its size. The service is excellent, quick and courteous and the flavor of the ice cream itself beats any big-chain ice cream store out there. Try their vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles!
2. Maple Shade Custard Stand
340 W. Main St.
Maple Shade, NJ 08052
Many local Maple Shade residents recall stories of their parents and relatives going to the Maple Shade Custard Stand when they were kids. Many describe The Stand as a landmark, where people can hang out at picnic tables outside and even in their cars in the parking lot. Perhaps it is one of the only places where you can find people eating their custard on a hot summer day with their tailpipes running.
What is exceptional about The Stand, is that it’s open year round, unlike many ice cream stands in the area. They are famous for their smooth and thick, soft serve custard and their deliciously slushy water ice, but they have many other treats as well. Milk shakes, sundaes, chipwiches, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate covered bananas and flurries (which is soft serve ice cream blended with toppings of your choice,) are just some of your menu options.
Another rare quality of this place is that they serve non-fat ice cream in vanilla and chocolate; great for those who are health-conscious or lactose-intolerant.
Overall, this ice cream stand has great prices, great selection and knows how to keep customers satisfied and coming back each year.
603 Station Avenue
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
Lite-n-Up is one of the most popular ice cream joints in the Camden County area, specifically for Audubon, Barrington and Haddon Heights residents. It is conveniently located near Haddon Height’s railway station, park, and Junior-Senior High School, explaining why it’s always swarming with high school teams, athletes, runners and passer-bys.
The place itself is air-conditioned, with a few tables on the inside for people to sit. However, most customers usually choose to enjoy their ice cream on the benches or sidewalk outside, since the store is constantly busy.
They serve soft and hard ice cream, including non-fat, with a large array of toppings and flavors to choose from. All of their ice cream and water ice is homemade, and the store owners are extremely friendly and personable with customers. This must contribute to what keeps Lite-n-Up a running business, as there are many big chain ice cream stores in the area, yet residents choose this one above all.
4. Ice Cream Shack
124 West Merchant Street
Audubon, NJ 08106
Opening in 2007, the Ice Cream Shack is the newest establishment on this list.
Don’t let the name deceive you; the place is more like a parlor than a shack. Unlike many businesses who serve through a window or tiny store, The Ice Cream Shack provides an air-conditioned, friendly environment inside, aligned with stools by the counter, tables and booths to sit and enjoy your dessert with friends or family.
The small, family-owned business quotes: “We strive to make the best ice cream and water ice we can possibly make; our heart and soul goes into each bucket.” Indeed, the Shack provides a large selection of menu items, such as soft and hard serve ice cream, soft serve and hand-dipped sundaes, water ice, pretzels and soda pop.
They also have “Shack Specialties,” which include the banana split, root beer float, brownie sundae, Belgium waffle sundae, soft serve shake and the “Pig Bowl,” which is known to feed up to four people. The also have various wet and candy toppings, from peanut butter, pineapple and crushed cherries, to brownie pieces, gummi bears and butterfinger pieces.
Their prices are reasonable, ranging from $2 to $3 for a small ice cream cone, and $3 to $6 for “Shack Specialties” and novelty items. The Ice Cream Shack also offers ice cream take-out in pints or quarts, and even hosts birthday parties with their own, homemade birthday cakes.
Best of all, the Shack is conveniently located near Audubon High School, Mansion Avenue Elementary School, Haviland Avenue Elementary School, and many local businesses and shops whose employees often stop in for a treat.
5. Cold Stone Creamery
210 Kings Highway East
Although Cold Stone is a major ice cream chain, it definitely lives up to its motto: “The Ultimate Ice Cream Experience.”
Cold Stone is known for taking high-quality ice cream and sorbet and transforming it into the creation of your choice; giving customers free reign to pick what flavor and toppings they like best. Cold Stone creations can come in shakes, smoothies, waffle cones and bowls, cups and cakes.
According to www.coldstonecreamery.com, there are approximately 11.5 million different ways to customize your ice cream dessert. Definitely a dream come true for ice cream lovers!
They have signature sundaes with memorable names as well, such as “Banana Split Decision,” “Hunka Chunka Burnin’ Fudge” and “Who You Callin’ Shortcake?”
What makes the store unique is also the way they make the ice cream. After choosing what you want in your ice cream, you get to watch the person behind the counter mix and make your treat right in front of you, using a frozen granite stone.
The store also has deals and specials, such as receiving free ice cream on your birthday as a member of their birthday club, getting discounts using “My Cold Stone Rewards,” and weekly specials like 6 Sweet Treat cupcakes for only $9.99. Cold Stone offers gift cards, take-out options, and a “healthy indulgence” menu for those on a diet.