Erma's Original Frozen Custard is a family tradition in Detroit.
Courtesy Erma's Original Frozen Custard

Give the summer heat a good licking at one of these notable sweet shops. 

The year 1984 was a good one for ice cream. That’s when Ronald Reagan issued the double-scoop observances of a National Ice Cream Day (the third Sunday of July) and a full National Ice Cream Month (the entirety of July) after Congress brought this bipartisan treat to his desk. But never mind the politics. We all scream for ice cream — and we don’t just mean vanilla and rocky road. As these five ice-cream landmarks around the country confirm, there’s a flavor for everyone.

Where: Detroit
Open Since: 1942 
Signature Flavor: Wild Erma 
Basic Scoop: This roadside stand (and its new second location) is so famous for its soft, fluffy, yolks-and-all goodness (it’s the egg yolks and high butterfat content that make it a custard) that parents will videotape their kids eating it for the first time — the same way their own parents photographed them with that inaugural Erma’s cone 30 years ago. Wild Erma, a heavily guarded mixed-fruit-and-berry recipe, is the all-time favorite flavor here, where, as manager Cindy Schoenherr explains, “pretty much every day is Ice Cream Day.” 


Erma's Original Frozen Custard
6451 Auburn Road
Shelby Township, Mich.
(586) 254-3080
(One additional location)

Mashti Malone’s
1525 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles
(323) 874-0144

Whip ’N Dip Ice Cream Shoppe
1407 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables, Fla.
(305) 665-2565

Dominion Ice Cream
3215 N. Charles St.
(410) 243-2644

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
6726 Chippewa St.
St. Louis
(314) 481-2652
(One additional location)

Where: Los Angeles 
Open Since: 1980
Signature Flavor: rose water saffron with pistachios 
Basic Scoop: For more than 30 years, everyone from sweet-toothed teens to top dessert chefs have relied on Mashti’s to augment their ice-cream palates with Middle Eastern–­influenced ingredients like rose water, saffron and cardamom. “We make a fantastic cookies ’n’ cream, too,” notes co-founder Mehdi Shirvani, “but most of our customers come for flavors they will not find anywhere else.”

Where: Miami
Open Since: 1985
Signature Flavor: cookies ’n’ cream
Basic Scoop: This Miami mainstay is known for serving some of the most unapologetic­ally rich ice cream (about 16 to 18 percent butterfat) ever hoisted onto a chocolate-dipped waffle cone. Satisfied customers include former President Jimmy Carter, who once ordered a single scoop of apple-pie ice cream. Whip ’n Dip’s greatest­ hits this month include a seasonal key lime pie and a mango flavor that uses fresh mangos brought in by locals in exchange for free ice cream.

Open Since: 2006
Signature Flavor: spinach
Basic Scoop: Traditionally, the only relationship vegetables had with ice cream is that if you didn’t polish the former off your plate, you’d get none of the latter. But Dominion Ice Cream combines the two, enhancing its product with veggies in a “deceptively delicious” manner that garners food awards and has customers coming back for more. The spinach ice cream, for instance, doesn’t taste like spinach but rather a creamy vanilla that’s light on fat (99 calories in a six-ounce scoop) and rich on nutrients.

St. Louis 
Open Since: 1929
Signature Flavor: vanilla 
Basic Scoop: Going vanilla at most ice-cream joints is considered a cop-out. But purists lining up at the windows of Ted Drewes, St. Louis’ hallowed, family-run frozen-custard haven, often stick with the divinely simple flavor, the recipe for which dates back several eras. Other signatures at the pair of southside locations (the 1941 flagship is on Route 66) include “Concrete” shakes and malts (so thick they’re served upside down) and a 60-cent kid’s cone. “In these tough economic times, you can treat a family of five here for $3,” general manager Travis Dillon notes. How cool is that?

Tasty Trivia: America is the world’s top ice-cream consumer, averaging 48 pints per person per year. Approximately 9 percent of the total milk supply from U.S. dairy farms is used for ice cream.