LoCo List: Our Five Fave Ice Cream Spots
Summer has finally arrived in Loudoun County – and as our heat index quickly leaps to Code Red, it is time to take refuge inside of ice cream shops, shivering in the air-conditioned chill, ogling brightly colored mounds of ice cream and candy toppings. With so many options from which to choose – soft serve, traditional, gelato, and then custard is a whole other topic. But there is one thing that unites them all – ice cream is the best way to celebrate summer in Loudoun County. Here’s our fave five spots in Loudoun.
Walking into Gruto’s Soft Serve in Purcellville is like walking into an ice cream party every day of the week. The small storefront is usually packed with happy customers eagerly awaiting their tasty treat. The New Orleans vibe complete with beads, masks and LSU banners puts a smile on your face as you are greeted when you walk through the door. There is even a siren for first-time customers, so make sure to let them know. Assorted classic soft serve flavors are transformed into party boats, banana splits, strawberry shortcake sundaes and so many other tasty treats. Summer tradition beckons to kids and adults to try and finish a Beast or a Godzilla and get your name on the wall. With a perfect location within a short walk of the W&OD and right off Main Street in downtown, you are sure to run into someone you know, or enjoy the happy comradery of other friends and families partaking in a fun treat. Big news for Gruto’s! They’re opening a second location in downtown Leesburg this fall. Yay!
141 W. Main St., Purcellville
Tipped Cow is a newcomer to the ice cream scene and they are paving a careful path with delicious batches of handcrafted ice cream. Created by the family that owns Monk’s BBQ, Tipped Cow is in the same building, providing another destination where families can sit down and enjoy good food and have fun together. The ice cream is dense and rich using quality ingredients and offering some more unusual flavors like Lucky Charms and Carrot Cake. They are not stingy with the mix-in ingredients – so your cookies and cream has a great ratio of cookies to cream. You can tell they have taken their time to perfect the recipes, but be warned that they tend to run out of flavors quickly, hopefully working out the supply and demand as they continue to grow.
251 N 21st Street, Purcellville, 540-441-3835
One bite of Il Dolce gelato in Ashburn will transport you to your favorite gelateria in Florence. The handcrafted artisanal gelato uses a simple combination of cream and fresh ingredients that are mixed in small batches. The owner Carmen makes all of the gelato herself in the store using only fresh ingredients and she adds no preservatives. The espresso flavor comes from brewing multiple cups of espresso and the fruit flavors are simply fresh fruit mixed with cream. She is particularly proud of the exotic flavors such as Chirimoya, Lucuma, Guanabana, and Chicha Morada that pay homage to her home country of Peru. The chocolate is a simple mix of Peruvian chocolate and cream – and it is to die for.
43135 Broadlands Center Plz #127, Ashburn, 703-470-8692
Frozen custard is all about the egg yolks, according to the servers at Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Sterling. The egg gives it a unique, silky texture somewhere between soft serve and hard ice cream. Abbott’s makes the custards daily in the store and offers a variety of flavors that changes every day. In addition to cones of custard, they offer a display case full of fun frozen treats such as frozen bananas, frozen turtles, cakes, pies, and cookie wheels, so you can enjoy your custard in many different ways. *Side note: Abbotts has a lot of peanut products, toppings and flavors, making this one more difficult for peanut allergies. However, the store employees said they are happy to make accommodations if you call ahead. Their vanilla custard is always safe.
21426 Epicerie Plaza Suite 180, Sterling, 571-313-1020
If you are a fan of classic New England ice cream stands, then you will love Moo Thru in Hillsboro. Their slogan says it all – “real ice cream from real dairy farmers.” A perfect balance of creamy and sweet, it is not too thick or too rich – which means you can eat lots of it! The scoop sizes are generous and since it is located in a stand outside of the Old Stone School, you can grab a cone or a milkshake through the window and enjoy at the picnic tables on the grass. This is the ice cream of childhood memories!
37098 Charles Town Pike, Hillsboro