Rosati’s Frozen Custard in Northfield at dusk (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Food + Drink

16 Roadside Ice Cream Stands in Ohio to Visit this Summer

Long live the roadside stand — part of the fabric of summer in our state. Here are decades-old favorites and new finds to check out during your travels this season. 

The roadside ice cream stand is an Ohioan’s summer oasis. We are drawn in by the low-tech menu board and soft, inviting glow as daylight fades. That comforting familiarity is proof that not everything changes and makes what we’re handed through the service window — from soft-serve cones to colossal milkshakes — all the sweeter. these roadside spots merit a visit on your next cruise-worthy summer evening.

Cockeye Creamery | Warren
Sitting just behind Cockeye BBQ, this small-batch ice cream stand began dishing out scoops in 2019. With unique flavors like Buttermilk Pie (made using fresh-baked pies from the restaurant) and Sweet Corn and Sorghum, this spot offers 30 year-round flavors and a rotating special flavor of the week, like Honey Lavender. 1805 1/2 Parkman Rd. NW, Warren 44485,

Mother and daughter with ice cream cones outside The Cone in West Chester (photo courtesy of Travel Butler County)
The Cone | West Chester
Look for the orange-and-vanilla, swirl-cone roof to sample a local tradition that dates to 1995, when this vintage, soft-serve-shaped stand was moved to Butler County. Nine all-natural, soft-serve flavors are available, but the orange sherbet is a summer treat that is as famous in these parts as the building where it’s served. 6855 Tylersville Rd., West Chester 45069,

The Creamery | Delphos 
Founded in 1982, this northwest Ohio spot serves up 24 hand-dipped flavors and a selection of classic soft-serve (including fat-free and sugar-free options). Those looking for something a little different can opt for Waffle Nachos, featuring ice cream and toppings with round waffle chips made for dipping. 252 N. Canal St., Delphos 45833,

The Dairy Hut | Pataskala 
People have been lining up at this little red shed just off state Route 16 since 1973. The stand offers 40 flavors of soft-serve ice cream as well as its famous one-pound specialty sundaes. The hulking creations come in flavors like Buckeye, Turtle Brownie and Bananas Foster. 42 S. Main St., Pataskala 43062,

Dairy Isle | Heath
This 1960s-style stand offers seven soft-serve selections alongside 18 flavors from New York-based Perry’s Ice Cream and is known for its classic banana split. The family-owned business also operates the Fetter’s Dairy Isle locations in the neighboring Licking County city of Newark. 303 S. 30th St., Heath 43056,

Ice Cream Island | Cadiz
This Harrison County spot has a daily happy hour. Pull up between 3 and 4 p.m. for $1 cones featuring a choice of 12 soft-serve flavors. Ice cream fans also flock here for the Mason Jar milkshake, a towering creation topped with sweet treats like buckeyes or s’mores. 812 E. Market St., Cadiz 43907,

Father and son walking with ice cream cones at Jerry’s Dari-Pride in Wickliffe (photo by Rachael Jirousek)
Jerry’s Dari-Pride | Wickliffe
Family-owned and -operated since 1952, this Lake County spot sells classic soft serve and 16 hand-dipped homemade flavors, the most popular of which is Butter Pecan. Another favorite is the Peanut Butter Cup Sundae, hot fudge over soft serve topped with peanut butter, Reese’s cups and whipped cream. 30136 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe 44092  

Kreamy Kreations | Marietta
Located in a pink-and-green, candy-striped trailer just steps from the Ohio River, this Marietta spot has been serving customers since 2017. Flavors range from Cherry Nut to classics like Mint Chocolate Chip, with dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free options. Kids and adults alike love the Animal Cracker placed atop each scoop. 112 Greene St., Marietta 45750,

Mason Whippy Dip | Mason
Located just 4 miles from Kings Island amusement park, this stand beckons visitors with its vibrant purple patio. Soft serve is the focus here, and the spot is locally famous for its animal and creature creations. Swirled up servings of different ice creams take the form of unicorns, dogs, chicks and more. 127 E. Main St., Mason 45040, 513/459-7966,

Max’s Dairy | Wapakoneta
This blue-and-white stand has served its original soft serve recipe since 1950. Located in the hometown of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the place pays tribute to the city’s favorite son with its Buckeye on the Moon parfait: vanilla soft serve with layers of hot fudge and peanut butter sauce topped with buckeye candies. 901 Bellefontaine St., Wapakoneta 45895,

Pav’s Creamery | Akron
Pav’s Creamery started selling its homemade, soft-serve “kustard” and 25 flavors of ice cream at a stand near Portage Lakes in 1969. You can still stop by today for favorites like the Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday sundae with scoops of birthday cake ice cream, hot fudge and sprinkles. 3769 Manchester Rd., Akron 44319, 330/644-8524,

Rita’s Dairy Bar | Grand Rapids
Situated in the heart of a historic canal town, this spot serves 15 small-batch, homemade ice cream flavors with names like Muddy Maumee and Berries of the Black Swamp that are inspired by the region’s history. Traditional favorites include the hot fudge sundae and banana split. 24030 Front St., Grand Rapids 43522, 419/832-7482,

Girl eating ice cream at Rosati’s Frozen Custard in Northfield (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Rosati’s Frozen Custard | Northfield Center
Creamy, dense and more flavorful than standard ice cream, frozen custard brings the locals to this spot that features at least one special flavor each day. So far, 300 different ones have made an appearance and include nostalgic favorites such as Higbee’s Chocolate Malted, which is available every Wednesday. 95 E. Aurora Rd., Northfield Center 44067, 330/908-0889,

Terry’s Ice Cream Bar | Lynchburg
Open since 1978, this Highland County stand offers soft serve, a rotation of Dole whip flavors and over-the-top milkshakes. The Princess milkshake features colorful swirls topped with pink and purple whipped cream and a tiara, while the seasonal Crazy Carnival has cotton candy, Twinkie and rock candy on the top.1505 U.S. Hwy. 50, Lynchburg 45142,

Whipty-Do! | Maineville
It’s all about Dole whip and soft serve at this Warren County spot that features a blueberry flavor that has become a local favorite. Open since 2009, the stand also has a secret menu of creations, including the Peanut Butter Beast (soft serve blended with chocolate peanut butter toppings). 2529 U.S. Hwy. 22, Maineville 45039,

Girl eating ice cream cone outside Zip Dip in Cincinnati (photo by Matthew Allen)
Zip Dip | Cincinnati
Since 1950, the white, red and green neon lights of this ice cream stand have called out to customers. Vanilla, chocolate and orange sorbet soft-serve ice cream and a rotation of frozen yogurt flavors are served in handmade cones and bowls. For an old-school favorite, try the Hot Fudge Malt. 4050 Drew Ave., Cincinnati 45248. 513/574-6252,