Who can resist a scoop or two of freshly-made, old-fashioned frozen goodness when summer temperatures soar. The Rose City has a bevy of independently-owned artisan ice cream shops scattered across town to meet the need. Local fresh summer ingredients are spun into must-have flavors.
Chad Draizin opened his first Fifty Licks brick-and-mortar scoop shop in 2011, and has since become beloved among the Portland artisan ice cream set. At his Clinton Street location, you’ll find small-batch ice cream, which is made in the French custard-style, in must-try flavors like Toasted Milk, which tastes suspiciously like a caramel-covered graham cracker. Not to be outdone, the toppings carry equal creative weight with candied rosemary and potato chips, among others. For those over 21, indulge in their boozy flavors.
Wanting ice cream for breakfast? Fifty Licks has you covered with French Toast, their maple cinnamon ice cream with Grand Central brioche french toast chunks and a ribbon of dark maple syrup.
For a totally cool event, rent the Fifty Licks mobile ice cream truck for your next holiday bash. Your guests will relive their fondest childhood memories of buying treats from the local ice cream truck.
Go there: Clinton; Laurelhurst Slabtown
Go there: 2021 SE Clinton, Portland 97202
Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop shines like a gem along the Eastside’s über cool Mississippi Avenue. Owner Lisa Herlinger opened the shop in 2010 after selling her gourmet ice cream sandwiches at local farmers’ markets. Ruby Jewel uses extremely fresh, all-natural and all-northwest ingredients, locally sourced, in their products. Treat yourself to an early holiday present with the Ginger Cookie with Pumpkin ice cream sandwich, with everyone’s favorite seasonal flavor housed between two tasty cookies. Homemade waffle cones are available or get your scoop made into one of their famous ice cream sandwiches (several cookie flavors to choose from).
Getting there: Eastside; Northwest; Southside
Cool Moon Ice Cream is scooping up handmade, all-natural ice cream in a potpourri of creative flavors. Any biz that gets their name written in the sky has got to be tres cool! Try the pumpkin ice cream, which is only available until Thanksgiving. Further indulge your pumpkin desires with Pumpkin Ice Cream Pies.
Ice Cream cakes can also be special-ordered for your next celebration. Bring the dessert table to life this season with a festive, chilled treat.
Getting there: 1105 NW Johnson Street, Portland
Staccato Gelato combines traditional Italian goodness with a modern Northwest flair. Indulge in fun autumn and winter flavors such as cinnamon, pumpkin, and eggnog. Or stay with the tried and true chocolate and vanilla. If you’re in a party pickle, you can hire a Treat Trolley (a specially outfitted bike with low carbon footprint that delivers pre-scooped gelato) or a full-service scooping cart for your next celebration. They also have their own doughnut master craftsman creating these doughy treats on Friday and Saturday.
Getting there: 232 NE 28th, Portland
It’s never too cold for ice cream, especially when it’s crafted with organic, high quality ingredients. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, take a trip to one or all of these outstanding ice cream and gelato shops. Visit now, visit often, for a taste of Portland’s best in artisan frozen desserts.
Editor’s note: Originally published in 2015. Content and photos updated August 2022.
Featured photo credit: artizone / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND