Smile Politely

Five ice creams to eat this summer 

Chocolate ice cream densely packed into a cup from Grovestone. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

If you’re anything like me, ice cream is the cornerstone of your summer. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to get ice cream in Champaign-Urbana. Since I expected most folks were already familiar with the chain ice cream shops and Jarling’s Custard Cup, I focused on lesser-known options around town.

Cappuccino gelato near overflowing the small cup from Pizzeria Antica. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

Cappuccino Gelato︱Pizzeria Antica

I started off with a cup of cappuccino gelato ($5) from Pizzeria Antica in Downtown Champaign. Packed in and stacked high, watch out for the small cup. I needed multiple napkins and a fast spoon to keep my gelato from melting over the sides of the cup! This dense dessert with a refreshing coffee taste was just what I needed on a hot summer day. If coffee isn’t your thing, Pizzeria Antica serves other Italian gelatos such as vanilla, pistachio, and chocolate.  

Pizzeria Antica
10 E Chester St
M-Th 4 to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Gansito ice cream in a tall Styrofoam cup from El Oasis. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

Gansito Ice Cream︱El Oasis

Going back to a local favorite of mine, I ordered a medium cup of Gansito ice cream ($6.75) at El Oasis in Urbana. A traditional Mexican snack cake, El Oasis makes certain to mix-in plenty of the chocolate, strawberry, cream and cake this dessert is known for. Tightly packed into a sizeable cup, I nearly had enough ice cream to make this a meal in and of itself. Even if I’d gotten less, the chocolate chunks would’ve been more than enough to satisfy me in the smaller portion. Though this was not a dairy-free ice cream, El Oasis has plenty of dairy-free options to choose from. 

El Oasis
510 N Cunningham Ave
noon to 9 p.m., daily

Chocolate ice cream densely packed into a cup from Grovestone. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

Chocolate Ice Cream︱Grovestone

For a different kind of ice cream, I bought one scoop of chocolate ice cream ($3.95) from Grovestone. Shipped from their provider in Wisconsin, this ice cream was high quality. As dark as a dark chocolate brownie, this was just what a chocolate fiend like me wanted. Though it didn’t come with chocolate chunks or anything else mixed it, it’s hard to go wrong with this ice cream if you enjoy chocolate. Grovestone has several other decadent flavors to try, so explore on your own and find your favorite. 

1707 W Kirby Ave
M – F 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Sa 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Mint chocolate chip and cookies and cream ice cream drizzled with marshmallow syrup in a cup with a birthday cake waffle cone stuck into the ice cream. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Drizzle︱Heavy Spoon

Traveling to Heavy Spoon, the newest location on this list, I went all in and ordered two scoops of ice cream in a birthday cake waffle cone served in a cup with a marshmallow drizzle ($5.55). Since the smallest ice cream size offered at Heavy Spoon is two scoops, I decided to vary my ice cream by having half mint chocolate chip and half cookies and cream. I loved the contrast between the refreshing mint and rich cream (paired well with marshmallow drizzle) in addition to the crunchy waffle cone. Though I didn’t get any this time, Heavy Spoon has more than a dozen different cereals for ice cream toppings. They make their own waffle cones and offer plain and red velvet ones, too. 

Heavy Spoon
118 N. Neil St
Su noon to 8 p.m.
T+Th noon to 8 p.m.
F noon to midnight
Sa 10 a.m. to midnight 

Matcha ice cream sandwich on top of the pocket holder from of Suzu’s. Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Matthew Macomber

Matcha Soft Serve Sandwich︱Suzu’s Bakery

To switch it up, I also tried a matcha soft serve sandwich ($4.25) from Suzu’s. Made with their homemade matcha soft serve between two small vanilla shortbread cookies, this was a fun twist on an ice cream sandwich. The earthy tones of the matcha were well-matched by the lightly sweetened cookies. This treat is perfect for someone who wants to satisfy their sweet tooth without a large, decadent serving. Suzu’s also serves vanilla and matcha soft serve with optional mochi and anko to add on top.   

Suzu’s – A Japanese Bakery
114 N Walnut St
Su 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
W+Th 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
F+ Sat 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Though I went all around Champaign-Urbana for ice cream, this just scratches the surface of what’s in our area. Though I couldn’t make it to these places, there is also gelato at The Bread Company, soft serve at the Sydney Dairy Barn, traditional ice cream at the Main Street Creamery ice cream truck, local favorite Jarling’s Custard Cup, and national ice cream chains in town like Culver’s and Oberweis. There are still plenty of hot days left in the year, so go and visit your favorite — or find a new one! 

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