Tampa Bay has earned national headlines for its great food and craft beer. Now you can add awesome ice cream to our taste temptations. In Tampa Bay, ice cream comes rolled, layered, fruity, spiced, vegan or served in doughnut cones. Thanks to the folks at Armature Works and Astro Ice Cream, we’ll even have liquid-nitrogen frozen ice cream this fall. And the best part: in Tampa Bay, we enjoy our ice cream year-round. Here are some of our favorite spots:
Downtown / Hyde Park
702 South Village Circle
These Florida handmade ice pops have become so popular in Tampa Bay that the company opened two stores here -- in toney Hyde Park Village and historic Ybor City. The Hyppo focuses on fresh fruits and herbs to concoct their sometimes wacky and always all-natural pops. Try flavors like Cucumber Lemon Mint, Melon & Cracked Pepper, and Elvis (peanut butter, honey, and banana). Combining fresh fruit and 450 different flavors, these gourmet popsicles are sure to cool you off in the Florida sun. The Double Dog Almond, an exclusive flavor featuring Tampa’s beloved Buddy Brew Coffee house espresso blend, is a local favorite. It may become yours.
1920 West Platt Street
An idea so good, we wish we had invented it: combining and layering soft serve and Italian ice to make gelatis in 20 different flavors every day. The founders, Chris Oh and David Lee, brought their idea from California to South Tampa. Your kids will think you’re a hero from bringing them here.
2602 South MacDill Avenue
The sister store to South Tampa's famed Datz restaurant, Dough keeps raising the bar when it comes to creativity and taste. Who else would have come up with black Galaxy Ice Cream and Sweet Potato “Nice Cream”? Last year it made national headlines with its signature Doughnut Cone. Dough dreams up a new doughnut ice cream cone concoction every week. They bake an ice-cream-cone-shaped doughnut, fill it with a funky homemade soft serve flavor and add a TON of complementary toppings. Beyond the doughnut cone, Dough offers their homemade flavors in scoops, milkshakes, quarts-to-go, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cookie sandwiches and ice cream cake.
3813 South Manhattan Avenue
Dairy Joy has been a local soft serve hot-spot for decades. Go a little crazy, get the vanilla chocolate swirl. This place is a bit old school, they don’t have a website and the only online presence that can be found is an unofficial Facebook business page, but all of that just contributes to the charm.
717 South Dakota Avenue
When Sprinkles opened their first Florida location right here in Tampa last year, all anyone could talk about was the 24-hour cupcake ATM. It’s cool and novel to avoid human interaction, plus the really good stuff, AKA ice cream, is inside. Sprinkles has your standard offerings, by the scoop, in a cone (try the red velvet waffle cone, you won’t regret it), sundaes, milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches with their tasty house-made cookies. The ice cream flavors rotate (you can check out the calendar here. The Hyde Park location is perfect for a nice stroll with the family, cones in hand.
Grab a grown-up popsicle handcrafted using real fruits, the occasional veggie, really excellent chocolate and other wholesome and sometimes surprising ingredients (wasabi, anyone?). Flavors change daily. Some favorites include Earl Grey Lavender Lemonade, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Strawberry Mango! Looking for an alternative -- ask for a hand-made smoothie instead.
1202 South Church Street
There is just something about cold gummy bears in frozen yogurt. With several locations throughout Tampa Bay, Yogurtology is your reliable froyo place with excellent topping variety. At any given time, there are 12 different kinds of yogurt on tap, and there are dozens and dozens of flavors that rotate in. Today you might want chocolate macaroon, but tomorrow they might have cookie butter. You fill your cup to your heart’s content with as many flavors as you choose before moving over to the self-serve toppings bar with all kinds of fresh fruit and candies. Why not, make a meal out of it.
505 North Tampa Street
If you like cookie dough ice cream, you're going to love this new store set to open in September in the heart of downtown. The store benefits Metropolitan Ministries, which serves homeless families. So you can chow down on cookie dough and do good at the same time.
Tampa Heights/Seminole Heights
1910 North Ola Avenue
The first of its kind in Tampa when it opened in Tampa Bay's historic Armature Works building, Astro Ice Cream Co.’s small batch, custom confections become a destination all their own. The location won’t have a single freezer on site. The secret? Each creation will be flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, which ensures the fat and sugar molecules don’t clump together – making for a smoother and creamier ice cream.
6701 North Florida Avenue
Based in Tampa Bay's hipster haven, Seminole Heights, Revolution is not afraid to try new things when it comes to flavors. Try some non-traditional combinations like Nutella ice cream with biscoff cookie crumbles and goat cheese habanero ice cream with a raspberry drizzle.There are also vegan options and adult flavors like toffee moonshine. They have a handful of rotating, wacky flavors, along with their staples, like “Callie’s Hotcakes.” If you have never craved buttered pancake flavored ice cream topped with maple syrup, you will now.
1810 North Highland Avenue
Ulele’s ode to Floridian native fare is celebrated with a mouth-watering menu that got us at “charbroiled oysters.” The ice cream is every bit as delicious as it is sourced from the freshest of ingredients with utmost care. In our opinion it should be served as an appetizer by its famous restaurateurs, Tampa Bay’s Gonzmart family, now in their fifth generation as owners of the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant. The homemade Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, served in a coconut shell, or the locally roasted Naviera Espresso Chocolate Swirl would do paired with the Crab Mac and Cheese and Native Chilli.
2206 East 7th Avenue
If you’re looking for an ice cream spot that’s about the journey just as much as it’s about the destination, Snobachi in Ybor City is for you. Skip a movie or trip to the arcade (or don’t, Ybor actually has both), and entertain your children with fancy ice cream. This video does an enticing job explaining the process. Basically, you pick your toppings and the wizards that work at Snobachi pour them and cream onto a mega-cold plate, smash it all together and roll it into a collection of ice cream "cigars" -- perfect for the former Cigar Capital of the World. If you’re in a rush, Snobachi lets you order over the phone, but come on, that’s not really the point, is it?
1600 East 8th Avenue
These Florida handmade ice pops have become so popular in Tampa Bay that the company opened two stores here -- in tony Hyde Park Village and historic Ybor City. The Hyppo focuses on fresh fruits and herbs to concoct their sometimes wacky and always all-natural pops. Try flavors like Cucumber Lemon Mint, Melon & Cracked Pepper, and Elvis (peanut butter, honey, and banana). Combining fresh fruit and 450 different flavors, these gourmet popsicles are sure to cool you off in the Florida sun. The Double Dog Almond, an exclusive flavor featuring Tampa’s beloved Buddy Brew Coffee house espresso blend, is a local favorite. It may become yours.
North Tampa/USF area
1512 East Fowler Avenue
Just down the street from the University of South Florida, this popular rolled-ice cream will make you abandon soft serve forever. IceSmile uses a steel pan that is chilled to minus-35 degrees. Dairy or soy milk is poured evenly onto the pan with a variety of flavors. Once the ice cream is sprawled out, different mixes are added. Once it begins to freeze, it is expertly scraped up to create the spiral ice cream rolls in your bowl. Plop on any of their many toppings you fancy, from pineapple to mochi, and look cool with your concoction.
12211 West Linebaugh Avenue
Tampa Bay’s own Froyo Fresh dishes out frozen yogurts, smoothies, ice cream and other treats in two locations, both with drive-thrus. The shop is very generous with their flavor and topping options available. It's also dog-friendly and gives out free dog ice cream to your four-legged friends.