On the North Fork, we’re blessed to have a couple truly great ice cream spots and even some unique ones like farms that work their fruit into flavors. Great ice cream is everywhere on Long Island, though, and this summer we thought it would be fun to do a roundup of our favorite spots across the region.
Now we know you can get a great ice cream at a farm stand or even a gelato or sorbet on a dessert menu — and even big chains like Carvel or Friendly’s have a claim to this space — but for this list we’re sticking mostly to independent ice cream parlors.
To come up with favorites I used my own well-traveled sweet tooth as a judge and polled some colleagues and trusted sources for the rest.
Here’s a dozen ice cream spots across Long Island that will have you screaming for joy.
This is Northforker, so there’s absolutely no way we’re starting a list like this without including our two favorite local spots. There’s long been a debate over which one of these is best and the long lines outside each make it clear both are beloved. It’s kinda like deciding who was better, Jordan or LeBron, at the end of the day these are both hall of fame selections. You’d do good to experience them both as often as your diet allows.
Grant suggests: Peconic Swamp Thing at Snowflake or Black Cherry Bourbon at Magic Fountain.
Nothing completes a beach day quite like a cone — or a cup, we’re equal opportunity ice cream eaters here. In our neighboring Brookhaven Town, whether headed to the sound or ocean, there’s a nice option either way. Ice Cream Cottage is a short drive from Smith Point in Mastic and it has lines that will rival Snowflake on a perfect summer Saturday. McNulty’s in Miller Place is down the block from the expansive Cedar Beach and boasts excellent outdoor seating.
Grant suggests: If you’re doing McNulty’s for dessert, maybe do so after having dinner at the terrific Orto across the street. Set in a gorgeous historic home it boasts one of Long Island’s best rustic Italian menus and generously allows you to bring your own wine. Hit the ATM first, though, because both Orto and McNulty’s are cash only.
Ice Cream Mecca: Northport
Nearly every community has an ice cream shop to keep in the time-honored tradition of an inexpensive family night out. Not every neighborhood boasts three great ones in close proximity to each other quite like Northport does. Tucked away not too far from Huntington on the North Shore, we once claimed this waterfront village ranks “high on the charm meter.” Auntie Mo’s, Northport Sweet Shop and Lics all contribute to that equation.
Grant suggests: Head to Northport and do your own little ice cream tour in the same downtown, while walking around checking out the cute shops and more.
New Kid on the Block
My colleague, Michelina DaFonte, has mentioned this place to me at least a half-dozen times since visiting our neighboring fork last week. “You have to try it,” she kept saying. She shouldn’t have to ask twice.
Grant suggests: Reward yourself following your next hike at Ditch Plains or Hither Hills.
On the Waterfront
The farthest spot off the fork on my list, Sweet Treats makes the list based on its dangerous mix of location and sweetness. Few things feel more like summer than a nice ice cream treat and a sea breeze.
Grant suggests: Their homemade ice cream sandwiches are top notch. They posted a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich on social the other day that had me so close to hopping on the Port Washington branch of the LIRR.
A Serious Approach
It’s strip mall location makes it an unassuming place, but it doesn’t take more than one visit to this Commack gem to have you want to keep coming back. They brand themselves as a chef-driven ice cream shop and it’s true their ice cream is made by a James Beard chef and his wife. Its vegan menu might be a draw for some, but the attention to detail in all 64 handmade flavors will make it a favorite for all.
Grant suggests: Leave the gun and take home one of their ice cream cannolis, made with chocolate or vanilla soft serve piped into a canal shell and topped with chocolate chips.
Step back in time …
You ever see the movie Pleasantville? You know, the black and white film where everyone starts turning into color once they live a little. Well this throwback parlor evokes images of the idyllic 1950s shop. It’s a great choice for a nightcap of the ice cream variety. Just keep mom away from the soda jerk.
Grant suggests:You gotta kick it old school at a place like this with either a shake, a malted, a float or an egg cream, based on personal preference.
Five Pennies is another great example of the modern take on the classic ice cream shop. Its location in Rockville Centre, which naturally conjures Long Island’s past, adds to the mystique. But this isn’t your run of the mill ice cream, its 130+ classic flavors rival the rich and creamy treats being served at many of the other top new-age ice cream shops around.
Grant suggests: When they say “creamy” peanut butter they mean it. Enjoy!