Friday, July 3, 2015

The 63 (Or So) Best Places For Ice Cream Treats in Arkansas.

It's summer.  It's hot.  There's nothing that beats the heat quite like a cold, refreshing ice cream cone, sundae, milkshake or banana split.

Arkansas has plenty of great ice cream stops, drive in restaurants and other cool spots to obtain something sweet and cool.  Here's the 63 best options (there are more than 63 on this list; some places, such as Big Orange and Purple Cow, have multiple locations) I've found in the Natural State.

Arkansas Pineapple Whip. A longtime State Fair favorite is available year-round, thanks to The Whip Wagon in Conway and its twin in Sherwood. It’s just pineapple juice and ice cream, but it’s also one of the best ways to cool off after a hot day. Get yours in a cup, cone or quart. On the Price Cutter parking lot at 380 Harkrider in Conway and on JFK opposite the golf course in Sherwood. Facebook.

Asher Dairy Bar. The original location opened back in 1929. It moved to its current location in 1931 and is still serving up great soft-serve
ice cream, burgers and breakfast six days a week at 7105 Colonel Glenn Road in Little Rock. (501) 562-1085.Facebook. 

Bailey’s Dairy Treat. The current owners are celebrating 20 years at the Park Avenue spot -- but Bailey's goes back generations.  Good place for soft serve.  510 Park Avenue in Hot Springs.
(501) 624-408.  Facebook.

Barnett’s Dairyette.  A fine selection of milkshakes in an ever-widening array of flavors, plus monthly and seasonal options.  111 W Tulsa Street in Siloam Springs, (479) 524-3211.  Facebook.

This one, a hot fudge pie slice with pistachio ice cream, should
be called the Grav Weldon at Big John's Shake Shack.
The Creamy Dreamsicle at Big Orange.
Big John’s Shake Shack.  The Marion restaurant that serves almost everything under the sun, including catfish and hamburgers and 20+ types of pies, also does 32 flavors of soft serve ice cream and a selection of different ice cream specialties, such as the Elvis Brownie (soft serve on a brownie with peanut butter, bananas and bacon).  409 E Military Road in Marion, (870) 739-3943. Facebook.

Big Orange.  Best known for its wide array of burgers, Big Orange also covers a wide range of milkshakes and floats with neat creations such as the Arkansas Onyx Coffee Shake and Whopper Malt. The Creamy Dreamsicle is fanatically wonderful. 17809 Chenal Pkwy, STE.G in West Little Rock, (501) 821-1515.  Also 207 N. University Ave Ste. 100 in Little Rock's Midtown district, (501) 379-8715. Website.

Braum's.  With dozens of different scoopable varieties available in its freezer case, this Oklahoma-based chain's western Arkansas locations has plenty to choose from.  Pick up a half gallon or go get a waffle cone.  Grav's favorite is Pistachio Almond.  I prefer the Burgundy Cherry and the Cherry Vanilla Almond.  Several locations.

Bulldog Drive In.  The longstanding Bald Knob dairy diner is best known for its strawberry shortcake, but it also has one mean banana split and there's always some sort of special, like German chocolate brownie a la mode, to top with ice cream. 3614 AR-367 in Bald Knob, (501) 724-5195. Facebook.  Read more here.

Burge’s.  While customers in Little Rock, folks come by for turkey sandwiches and the famed "leftover plate." In Lewisville, it's all about burgers and shakes.  The original location offers all sorts of ice cream sensations, including a Hot Fudge Banana and an Oreo Cookie Sundae.
526 Spruce St, Lewisville, (870) 921-4292.  Website. Learn more here.

Burton’s Comfort Creamery.  Soft serve from a truck?  You betcha, but these aren't your average dairy diner selections. Gourmet ice cream in waffle cones served straight or dipped in a variety of toppings for unusual pairings such as the Elton John (covered in Fruity Pebbles), the Tellagraham (Nutella and graham crumbs), and The Tony (Frosted Flakes and marshmallow).  372 W Dickson St. in Fayetteville.  Facebook.

Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets. Best known for its famous pies, this Keo landmark serves up a variety of hand-dipped ice creams and specialties for a lunchtime crowd. Also great with a slice of cake. 290 Main Street in Keo. (501) 842-2123. Facebook. Learn more here.

Christy’s (formerly Ray’s) Dairy Maid.  Known most for its pies, Christy's also does a mean shake.  The caramel shake is the one to try here. 5322 Hwy 49 in Barton, (870) 572-3060. Facebook.

The Raccoon BearClaw WaWa at the
Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor
in Mountain View.
Cold Stone Creamery. This national chain takes a base flavor (everything from Sweet Cream to Chocolate Cake Batter) and adds your choice of ingredients or a combination of ingredients it calls a Creation. Cold Stone also serves up a variety of ice cream cakes and cupcakes. 12800 Chenal Pkwy. #8 in Little Rock, (501) 225-7000. Website.

Cronie's (formerly Wood’s) Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor.  Though the name has changed, this is still the place to get great ice cream sodas, scoops and sundaes a block from the downtown square in Mountain View.  Of course, there's still the famous Raccoon BearClaw WaWa to consider. 301 W Main St, Mountain View, (870) 269-8304. Facebook.

Dairyette. The classic dairy drive-in along US 270 in Mt. Ida is often crowded, and for good reason.  Whether it's the last stop of the day for folks coming off Lake Ouachita, a field trip of happy campers or just a road-weary traveler
looking for a good meal, the Dairyette delivers.  Try a banana split or a cherry shake. 717 US-270 in Mt Ida, (870) 867-2312. Facebook. Learn more here.

Dairy Dip.  The hometown classic in Mulberry offers all sorts of ice cream cones and sundaes and even a fried Snickers bar a la mode.  29 U.S. 64 in Mulberry, (479) 997-9991. Facebook.

Dairy Diner.  While cones and sundaes are available at this dairy diner/gameroom, the malts are the real reason to come, some of the best offered in the River Valley.  420 E Main St, in Charleston, (479) 965-2254. Facebook. Learn more here.

Dairy Dream. Open since 1954, this Mountainburg standard has received a lot of attention lately for its loose meat Mountainburger; its ice cream delights, however, are the summer favorites you've always loved and adored. 1600 Hwy 71 NE, Mountainburg, (479) 369-2295. Facebook. Learn more here.

Dairy Freeze.  So old, no one knows for certain when it started, the Dairy Freeze may have served folks coming into Fort Smith as early as the 1940s.  Known for a killer Frito chili pie, it's also a great place for a dipped cone.  The butterscotch shakes are legendary. 5400 Midland Blvd, Fort Smith, (479) 783-2162. Facebook.

Daisy Queen.  The long-standing favorite in Marshall offers dozens of burgers and so many other items... and of course, mean sundaes and flavor-twist cones.  On US-65 in Marshall,(870) 448-2180. Learn more here.

Diamond Drive In.  Another longtime classic, this one along Main Street in Clarksville, the Diamond still offers great shakes, malts and sundaes to hungry crowds. 1206 West Main Street in Clarksville, (479) 754-2160. Facebook.

DJ’s Drive In.  Close to DeGray Lake Resort State Park and known for its taco salad, DJ's offers a fine selection of cones, shakes and sundaes.  Its banana split is so large, it's served in a mixing bowl.  An experience.  6899 Arkansas Highway 7 in Bismarck,, (501) 865-1805. Facebook.

El Dorado Creamery.  Technically frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.  Still, this newly opened dessert parlor offers 12 rotating flavors -- everything from chocolate and vanilla to apple pie and Key lime, plus 40 different toppings.  Purchased by the pound.  106 W Main Street, Suite 101 in downtown El Dorado, (870) 875-1409. Facebook.

Feltner’s Whatta-Burger. Best known for its famous burgers, the legendary drive-in across from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville also offers a fine selection of shakes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, orange, cherry, butterscotch, peanut butter, caramel and pineapple.  They're thick, and perfect for dipping fries. 1410 N Arkansas Avenue in Russellville, (479) 968-1410. Website.

Fort Smith Museum. Step back in time to the 1920s at this perfect replica of a traditional pharmacy soda fountain inside the Fort Smith Museum.  Ice cream sodas are the must-have here. 320 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, (479) 783-7841. Website.

Frank’s Hickory House BBQ.  The barbecue spot south of Clinton is known for thin-sliced barbecue brisket sandwiches, but it also has the most ridiculous soft serve ice cream in Arkansas.  Called The Dang Revenooer, it's inflicted upon those for whom the large is not large enough. 4736 Hwy 65 South in Choctaw, (501) 745-8970.  Facebook. Learn more here.

Freddo’s Frozen Treats.  Cornflakes in a shake? Pretzel? How about a Shark Shake? The fresh new shop in the old mall in Russellville offers eclectic choices when it comes to cool, refreshing desserts.
407 South Arkansas Avenue, Suite 5B in Russellville, (479) 968-5665, Website.

Fros-T-Treat.  The longtime classic that claims itself Bill Clinton's favorite ice cream stand, still offers soft serve treats every summer along US Highway 70 on the northeast side of town. 1020 East Grand Avenue in Hot Springs, (501) 609-0130. Facebook.

Frozen De-Lite.  Harding University alumni and the locals know that the "Frozen D" is the place to get the best shakes in town, whether they're Oreo, Creme de Menthe or Banana Nut.  2030 Benton Street in Searcy, (501) 268-4732.  Facebook.

Futrell Pharmacy. The oldest continuously operating soda fountain and pharmacy in all of Arkansas, still open for business on the downtown square.  There are just five seats at the bar, but you only need one to sit on while you wait for your order. 115 E Broadway Street in Pocahontas, (870) 892-5615. Facebook.

Garner’s Drive In.  This diminutive slice of building just west of downtown offers incredible shakes of all sorts. 117 N Main Street in Berryville, (870) 423-2123. Facebook.

Goody’s.  The folks who used to run the incredible (and sadly gone) Goodson's restaurants have found a new business, peddling sweet, soft frozen yogurt to the masses.  Stonewood Village Shopping Center at 7613 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, (479) 452-3200.  Also at 2308 Fayetteville Rd #1600 in Van Buren, (479) 262-5056. Website.

Kelley Drug and Selection. Packed with gifts, a pharmacy and a little eatery, this downtown McGehee shop may be overlooked, but it offers a classy, classic soda fountain with plenty of ice cream for all. 104 Holly Street in McGehee, (870) 222-5071. Facebook.

King Kone.  Any drive in restaurant that serves up its own homemade Nutty Buddy should receive special mention.  This classic dairy bar in Hot Springs also offers Flavor Burst soft serve ice cream. 1505 Malvern Avenue in Hot Springs, (501) 321-9766. Facebook.

Kream Kastle.  The single stop for a shake along US Highway 70 between Benton and Hot Springs, it's been drawing in crowds for generations.  All sorts of shakes and sundaes to enjoy, but the kids will demand a chocolate-and-vanilla soft serve cone, so let them have one. 15922 US Highway 70 south of Benton, (501) 939-2350. Facebook.

La Michoacana Paleteria (formerly Delicianos Michoacana).  This Rogers Avenue stop offers a wide array of amazing housemade popsicles in every flavor from yellow cherry and plum to almonds and cream and kiwi.  The dried fruit ice cream is unique. 2304 Rogers Ave # C in Fort Smith, (479) 242-6187.

Loblolly Creamery.  This hyper-local ice cream shop is mobile via food truck, but its brick-and-mortar soda fountain inside The Green Corner Store in Little Rock is the destination you'll really want to visit for a fresh new take on the classics.  Ice creams can vary from reasonably normal flavors to such choices as Collard Green and Banana, Strawberry Rhubarb Basalmic and Rocktown Smoked Whisky Brown Butter.  Also home to the Arkansas Cornbread Sundae. 1423 Main Street in Little Rock's SoMa District, (501) 374-1111. Website.

Lobo's Deli Dog.  This little trailer in downtown West Fork is known for its eclectic pizzas and the Long and Nasty, a footlong with absolutely everything.  Root beer floats and sundaes are the to-gets here. 280 McKnight Avenue in West Fork, (479) 294-6072. Facebook.

Mammoth Orange.  The unusually shaped building and the restaurant within inspired another burger chain (Big Orange) and still offers burgers, Frito pies, sundaes and shakes. 103 Arkansas Highway 365 in Redfield (at the four-way stop), (501) 397-2347. Facebook.

Mojo's Dairy Bar.  The former Andy's Dairy Bar is still drawing in customers looking for cold treats on hot days, as well as one of North Little Rock's best smashed burgers.  Serving Breyer's Ice Cream. 3801 MacArthur Drive in North Little Rock, (501) 753-4445.  Facebook. Learn more here.

Myer’s Cruizzers.  This traditional neon-and-carhop drive in features dipped cones, frosties and floats, sundaes and a selection of shakes that includes a remarkably good blueberry cobbler option.  409 US Highway 71 in Mena, (479) 394-5550. Facebook.

Newton Pharmacy.  A classic pharmacy soda fountain a few blocks west of the center of downtown. 715 W Main Street in Russellville, 
(479) 968-1157. Facebook.

Ozark Cafe.  The second oldest restaurant in the state offers a variety of ice cream sodas and sundaes in addition to the myriad of crazy burgers, catfish, homemade southern favorites and breakfasts on its menu that's so large, it has to be printed on newspaper. 107 E Court Street on Jasper's downtown square, (870) 446-2976. Website. Learn more here.

Palace Drug. The soda fountain and restaurant housed in a pharmacy that dates back to 1882 offers some of the state's best ice cream sodas, available only in chocolate, vanilla and cherry. 270 Main Street in Mammoth Spring, (870) 625-3222. Website.

Polar Freeze.  Jack Allison's fantastic drive-in still offers pit smoked pork ham barbecue and the best dang chocolate malt in the county. 416 Highway 67 North in Walnut Ridge, (870) 886-9976. Facebook.

Presley’s Drive In.  Brown derbies, banana splits and frozen tornadoes are on the dessert menu at this west Jonesboro classic -- along with several types of pie that can be served a la mode.
917 S Gee Steet in Jonesboro, (870) 932-7835. Facebook. Learn more here.

Prince Drug. Open since 1932, the Towson Avenue drug store operates a soda fountain seasonally, with marble slab counters and classic ice cream desserts. 1112 Towson Avenue in Fort Smith, (479) 782-9210. Website.

Purple Cow. Malts, shakes, sodas, sundaes and even ice cream pie are on the menu; in addition to the restaurant’s classic Banana Split, parents can look forward to a selection of adult shakes that include alcohol. 8026 Cantrell Road in Little Rock, (501) 221-3555. Also 11602 Chenal Parkway in Little Rock,  (501) 224-4433. Also 1490 Higdon Ferry Road in Hot Springs, (501) 625-7999. And 1055 Ellis Avenue in Conway, (501) 205-4211. Website.

Ray’s Drive-In.  Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes and malts and ice cream cones are among the many items on the menu of this city favorite, around since 1964. 718 US Highway 278, Monticello, (870) 367-3292. Website.

Reed’s Twinburger.  This 50s style drive-in is window-service only and serves shakes and malts on Fort Smith's south side. 2400 Tulsa St, Fort Smith, (479) 646-5312. Facebook.

Salem Dairy Bar. A Benton-area 60s style dairy bar with drive-up parking, service at the window and a selection of shakes, sundaes and malt. The $4 banana split is one of the cheapest you’ll find in the Natural State. All your drive-in favorites, including burgers and fries, dogs and suds. 6406 Congo Road in Benton. (501) 794-3929. Facebook.

Scoop Dog. Frozen custard instead of ice cream (the difference being eggs along with the sugar and cream) and specialty sundaes named after dogs -- like the Standard Poodle, the Good Old Beagle, the Golden Retriever and the Chocolate Lab. The concretes are more like shakes -- firm, but not stick-in-the-cup solid. Every Wednesday is Shake-and-Wiener Day.  5508 John F. Kennedy Boulevard in North Little Rock, (501) 753-5407. Website.

Scoops.  Since 2003, making fresh ice cream daily at its Central Avenue location with all sorts of flavors, from Salted Caramel Crunch to Blueberry Cobbler.  Probably the best housemade ice cream in all of Hot Springs. 4043 Central Avenue in Hot Springs, (501) 525-3119. Facebook.

Shake’s Frozen Custard. Part of a regional frozen custard chain, Shake’s does nothing but cold desserts, including a broad selection of sundaes, cones, cows and concretes. The caramel-hot fudge-pecan combination of the Shake’s Bopper is a sound investment. 12011 Westhaven Drive in Little Rock, (501) 224-0150. Also 1135 Hwy 65 North in Conway, (501) 329-2545. Website.

Snowbiz Frozen Yogurt. A relatively new sweet treat stand in Wynne offering six flavors of frozen yogurt along with snowballs. 810 Highway 64 East Suite 7 in Wynne, (870) 587-3082. Facebook.

Susie Q's Malt Shop. Since 1960, the place in Rogers to get your soft serve cone or hand-mixed shake.  612 N 2nd Street in Rogers, (479) 631-6258. Facebook.

Tidwell's Dairy Bar.  Dipped cones, shakes, sundaes and more at the one Arkansas restaurant that regularly serves its fries with cheese dip. 511 Front Street SW in Lonoke, (501) 676-2812. Facebook. Learn more here.

TCBY.  Originally conceived as The Country's Best Yogurt, then This Can't Be Yogurt, the Little Rock-based chain has had its ups and downs.  There are still several locations around the state, serving both soft frozen and hard pack yogurt.  Website.

Walker’s Drive In.  The self-proclaimed Home of the Pizza Burger still sells everything from chicken gizzards to catfish sandwiches... and shakes, malts, floats and blended floats.  101 US Highway 63 Business in Marked Tree, (870) 358-2508. Website.

White River Dairy Bar.  Just off the highway alongside the White River, best known for steaks on Thursday-Saturday nights, the White River Dairy Bar also offers ice cream cones and shakes. 7759 Twin City Park Road in De Valls Bluff, (870) 998-7047. Facebook.

Wink’s Malt Stand. Though the sign outside says “Wink’s Malt Stand,” locals know it as the dairy bar, or just Wink’s. In business since 1968, this tiny joint serves up soul food, burgers and cream-heavy milkshakes to its clientele. 2900 East Washington in North Little Rock, (501) 945-9025.  Facebook.  Learn more here.

Yellowjacket Drive In.  Sheridan's town center, this blue and yellow stand carries all sorts of ice cream delights, including dipped cones, malts, and shakes in such strange flavors as pina colada, peanut butter and Reece's Pieces. 101 Rock Street in Sheridan, (870) 942-2486. Facebook.

Za Za Fine Salad + Wood Oven Pizza Company. A never-ending variety of cool smooth gelato that changes with the season,
from autumn delights like Pumpkin and Peppermint to summer delicacies such as Strawberry Lemonade and Honey Lemon Basil, there’s always a gelato that's right for the situation.  5600 Kavanaugh in Little Rock's Heights neighborhood,  (501) 661-9292Website.


As you can imagine, it's about nigh on impossible for me to get everywhere. Here are more recommendations for places that serve great ice cream treats in Arkansas.

Hobo Joe's, North Little Rock
Johnson's Tasty Freeze, Cabot


  1. I want to try some Pineapple Whip! We are heading to Conway this week so maybe I will!

  2. Like seriously I want to get in my car right now. Not sure which direction to go!

  3. Both Fort Smith and Van Buren Goody's have closed.

    Have you tried Cherry Berry Frozen Yogurt Bar in Fort Smith? They're in the old Maid Rite spot near Target.

  4. Oh, and there is also a Shake's in Fayetteville, across from Feltner's


Be kind.