The Year's Best Ice Cream Shop Is an Under-the-Radar Surprise
From national chains like Ben & Jerry's to smaller artisanal brands like Salt & Straw, there's no shortage of great ice cream shops across America. However, most people in the United States may not recognize the newly-crowned top ice cream shop of 2023.
Review site Yelp recently released its second annual list of the top ice cream shops in America for 2023, which it compiled using factors like the total volume of reviews and customer ratings. The self-described "farm to cone" scoop shop Coneflower Creamery ended up snagging the top spot in this year's list.
Even though Coneflower may not ring any bells for non-locals, its top ranking is no surprise when you learn more about the inner workings and ice cream philosophy of this fan-favorite shop.
With two shops in the Omaha, Neb. area, Coneflower Creamery serves artisanal, handmade ice cream crafted with high-quality, local ingredients. And when I say local, I mean very local. Coneflower sources dairy, fresh produce, and other ingredients from several nearby suppliers in Nebraska and neighboring Iowa.
They offer several classic ice cream flavors like Vanilla Bean, Dark Chocolate, and Salted Caramel that are always on the menu. Coneflower's other signature flavors, however, frequently change in order to celebrate what's in season and bountiful. For example, Coneflower offered a limited-edition Stars & Stripes Cheesecake flavor packed with blueberries, cherries, and a graham cracker crumble to celebrate the Fourth of July last month. Customers itching to see any seasonal flavors that are currently available will have to stop by a Coneflower shop in person to find out.
Coneflower's commitment to serving up top-quality ice cream treats doesn't end with local sourcing and seasonality. Practically everything that you can sample at Coneflower, from the actual ice cream to the sprinkles, is extremely fresh because it is made in-house. And whenever Coneflower doesn't make something on site, they make sure to source it "from the best shops sharing our passion for quality ingredients," according to the shop's website.
"We're not in the back with cans of [chocolate] syrup," Coneflower co-owner Brian Langbehn told Yelp. "We're making the amazing hot fudge, espresso caramel, and salted caramel [right here]. We also use ingredients at their peak freshness, bursting with flavor, and the best you can find."
If the rave reviews on Yelp are any indication, customers evidently adore the sweet treats at Coneflower Creamery.
"You know the ice cream is amazing when you show up on a 10-degree night and [the place is] packed. When we walked in, the smell was all that was needed. I had a sample of the Archetype Coffee, and now I have to have this ice cream once a week. My family has tried specialty ice cream places in California and Las Vegas, and we all agree this is by far the best ice cream we've ever had," a Yelp reviewer wrote earlier this year.
Those who aren't lucky enough to live near this fan-favorite shop can still treat themselves to some of the best ice cream in the country. The dozens of other shops that made Yelp's list this year are located all across the United States, from the second-place winner Let's Chill Homemade Ice Cream in Coral Springs, Fla., to the third-place winner I Scream Ice Cream in Albuquerque, N. M. Ice cream lovers should make sure to peruse the full Yelp list to find any standout nearby ice cream shops.