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Central Standard

The Best Frozen Treats In Kansas City In 2018

The display case at an ice cream shop. It shows various brightly colored tubs of ice cream
Betty Rae's Ice Cream is getting ready to open a second location in Kansas City's River Market.

Was the Choco Taco, a concoctation that nestles vanilla ice cream and fudgey swirls into a sugar cone-turned-shell, a part of your childhood summers? It was for Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann.

Turns out the treat isn't something that can only be found in the halls of one's memory! You can recreate those summertime vibes of youth (or, at least, Gina can) by picking them up in boxes of four at the Roeland Park Price Chopper.

There's still enough summer left to make new memories, too. Food Critics Jenny Vergara and Jill Silva shared their favorite places to pick up a frozen treat in the Kansas City area. 

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

  • Southern Charm Gelato Shoppe: Chef Jeff Martin is the sweet-tooth entrepreneur behind Smallcakes cupcakes and Decadent, a dessert and coffee bar. South Charm Gelato Shoppe is his new gelato shop, featuring Italian gelato in comforting southern flavors such as Georgia peach, maple pecan and Florida coconut.
  • Tribe Street Kitchen: Globally inspired small plates and cocktails are on the menu at Tribe, but so is creamy soft serve ice cream served in a freshly pressed waffle bowl. Options might include Mojito, peach-ginger, dulce de leche and starfruit, but Chef Lance Gipson changes them frequently depending on what's on hand or in-season at his River Market restaurant.
  • Ron Rico Restaurant: This east Crossroads Puerto Rican restaurant, owned by brothers Nate and Titus Bond, announced this week that their restaurant will offer a sweet and creamy Dole Pineapple Whip for dessert or as a boozy rum float. It is a delicious hybrid of pineapple sorbet with soft-serve ice cream that people may remember from visits to Disney theme parks. 
  • Shaka Noodle Shack: Owned by the same duo that brought Longboards Wraps and Bowls to the area, this noodle shop in North Kansas City offers two versions of the Filipino frozen treat halo-halo. (It translates to "mix-mix.") This dessert involves shaved ice with condensed milk, evaporated milk poured over, and then layered with items such as sweetened red beans, flan, ice cream, coconut, fruits and gummies. Sounds crazy ... crazy delicious.
  • Shatto Milk Company: Shatto makes an oatmeal raisin cookie with a salted caramel ice cream filling that makes you forget you're eating raisins. Something about the combination of oatmeal cookies and salted caramel ice cream is magic. You can pick it up via Shatto's home delivery service or at a grocery store frozen section.
  • Betty Rae's Ice Cream: The PB&J ice cream cookie is like eating your childhood all over again. It is made with soft, chewy peanut butter cookies and filled with both fresh strawberry jam and strawberry ice cream. Your lunchbox never had it so good. 
  • The Pennant: This restaurant and entertainment hall opened over the spring in downtown Topeka, Kansas, where it serves whimsical, over-the-top, handmade shakes in plain and boozy versions, such as the Over The Rainbow shake with vanilla, strawberry or chocolate ice cream with a splash of cake-flavored vodka piled into a waffle cone decorated with sprinkles, whipped cream and cotton candy. My personal favorite is the Nutty Buddy, featuring a plain old peanut butter shake with Little Debbie Nutty Buddy bars shoved in it.
  • County Road Ice House: They're selling as many frozen mules and frosés as they are barbecue sandwiches. 
  • Somerset Ridge Winery: They've opened up a new Martin City wine and cider bar inside of the gorgeous Rosehill Gardens Landscape Center serving all of the wines and cider — including a frozen sangria made with pure cane sugar, green tea, cranberry extract and Somert Aphrodite's dry rose. 
  • TikiCat: Located in the basement of Westport's HopCat, this spot offers a fantastic selection of frozen Tiki drinks. The Daylight Come is a favorite with Rhum, banana and coconut blended with ice. 

Jill Silva, food critic: 

  • Betty Rae's Ice Cream: Owner David Friesen makes fun and delicious creations, including oddball flavors Joe's KC Burnt End (candied burnt ends and sauce), morel mushroom and cereal milk as well as gourmet favorites such as goat cheese-apricot-candied walnut. Also, adult floats! The last one I had was a seasonal cider float with Louisburg cider, cinnamon ice cream, Tom's Town bourbon and a drizzle of caramel. Think I need another one, stat!
  • Cirque du Sucre: This food truck is run by mother-daughter team Vicki and Tasha Goellner, who have created a traveling sugar circus that does special events, caterings and pop-ups (they frequently pair with Happy Gillis and Columbus Park Ramen). Highlights inlcude a killer stout whiskey, mint chocolate chip and blueberry, as well as macaron sandwiches, sundaes and banana splits. Tasha's refined ice cream flavors also show up on her brother Nick's Antler Room menu.
  • Poppy's Ice Cream: Owned by Theresa Poppinga, this is another outstanding ice cream shop with gourmet artisinal flavors — her ice cream is featured at restaurants such as Aixois, Grand Street, Michael Forbes Grill, Cafe Sebastienne, The Well and Summit Hickory Pit BBQ. Flavors are always changing, but always refined; two recent favorites are dirty chai and ginger. 
  • Glace Artisan Ice Cream: Divine flavors that are never cloying. One of my seasonal favorites is sweet corn, but other fascinating flavors include earl grey sriracha and organic rose petal with Spanish saffron. (On August 23, they're partnering with Dolce bakery in a benefit pop-up from 6-9 p.m. in Prairie Village, and a portion of the proceeds will go to beenfit No Kids Hungry.)
  • Donutology: Not a fan of waffle cones? Try the donado, a fried-dough-and-sugared cone filled with soft serve, based on chimney cakes sold on street corners in Budapest, Hungary. 
  • Bob Wasabi Kitchen: A place known for amazing sushi features two unusual ice cream flavors customers can enjoy at the end: green tea or red bean and ginger, both pretty tasty palate cleansers. I also noticed a deep-fried vanilla ice cream is on the menu, which I'll have to try the next time I stop by for the spicy fish bowl, assorted sashimi, veggies and chili sauce.
  • Jasper's: Spumoni is an Italian frozen layered dessert that has sweetened whipped cream, rum, mixed nuts and candied fruit. For some, it is the fruitcake of ice cream. For others, a delicacy.
  • Sylas and Maddy's: Sherbet was something I grew up on as a child (rainbow was our favorite), but it seems harder to find these days. What is sherbet? Fruit juice, liqueur and water, with sometimes an added ingredient that makes it different from sorbet, such as a bit of milk or gelatin, even egg whites. I like Sylas and Maddy's pink grapefuit sherbet, with a slightly tart, citrusy tang and pretty, light pink rose-petal color.
  • Manilla Bay Ihaw Ihaw: This spot serves halo halo, a Filipeno frozen treat with shaved ice, coconut, gulaman and seasonal fruits. 

Coming soon:

  • Neon Palm: A new frozen Italian ice cart is about to hit the streets of Kansas City. Owned by Tim and Lauren York, this custom-built mobile cart is set to launch on August's First Friday, parked in front of Collective Ex in the Crossroads. The cart has a colorful Palm Springs mid-century esthetic, and they'll be dipping two sizes of Italian ice in watermelon, cherry, mango and lemon, with plans to make their own flavors soon. Find out more @neonpalmkc.
  • Betty Rae's Ice Cream: For those who adore Betty Rae's seasonal and sassy ice cream flavors but live closer to the River Market than Waldo: They're opening a second location in early August, on Delaware Street in the former Al Dente space. Ride the streetcar down or a grab a Bird scooter and scoot in for a scoop.
  • The Velvet Freeze Daiquiris: This just opened at 18th and Vine. After doing private events as a soft open, they'll be ready for the public on the August First Friday. This will be Kansas City's first frozen daiquiri bar, with machines spinning in every color under the sun, along with a bomb pop frozen daiquiri in stripes of red, white and blue. 

Kathleen Pointer is a digital and associate producer for KCUR's talk shows, Up To Date and Central Standard. Reach out to her at KathleenP@kcur.org or find her on Twitter @kathleenpointer.