Let’s face it, the best ice cream place is usually the closest one. If you’re going to drive by scoop slingers singing their sweet siren song and head on down the road, your destination has to offer something special. Here are some of our favorites.
multiple locations, www.andersonscustard.com.
If there’s one line people don’t mind standing in, it’s the Anderson’s line. No matter how long it is, there never seems like enough time to take in the full array of flavors. There’s also a full lineup of hard ice cream, frozen yogurt and confections made without milk or sugar.
Fran-Ceil Custard3411 South Park Ave., www.franceilcustard.com
Friendly service and custard that comes in unexpected flavors has kept Fran-Ceil on the map in Lackawanna. The place doesn’t look like much, but regulars aren’t going for the air conditioning, and when you’re catching up with friends in the parking lot between licks, it feels like a real neighborhood place.
Hanna’s Frosty Treats140 Taunton Place
A boon to North Buffalo and environs, Hanna’s offers a broad selection of flavors, sundaes and milkshakes. The staff tries to please, extending their hospitality to canine customers as well with doggy cones. Cash only.
105 Portage Road, Lewiston, www.hibbardscustard.com
A Lewiston tradition since 1939, Hibbard’s smooth and creamy custard is a summer sweetener worth stopping by for if you’re headed to Artpark or environs. This is more of a drive-in place, with no inside tables, but don’t let that stop you. If you’re looking for a spot to idle and enjoy your cone, consider the picnic tables nearby.
865 Center Road, West Seneca, www.konekingwestseneca.com/
The swirl-dominated façade of Kone King has been a part of the West Seneca summer landscape for generations. You can keep track of the flavors on offer through the stand’s Facebook page or website, or just roll the dice and go see for yourself.
2805 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, 877-4485
One of the best parts of summer in Kenmore is a walk into Condrell’s, a cool room that smells like chocolate, and dawdling over the daunting task of choosing which outsized sundae you most deserve. They come in a metal boat, not a paper tray, and are adorned in fudge and other sauces made in-house.
5981 Transit Road, Depew, 684-2376, antoinettesbuffalo.com
Three generations of sweets makers have staffed the counter at Antoinette’s, which has been there since 1958, when its Transit Road location was surrounded by apple orchards. This place makes its own dense, rich ice cream; whipped-cream worshippers make the pilgrimage to Depew for some of the best airy dairy sensations around.
Lake Effect Ice Cream
79 Canal St., Lockport, 201-1643, www.lakeeffecticecream.com.
Lake Effect has earned a reputation in Erie County for its crazy flavors, with ingredients like lavender and Labatts beer. In Lockport, locals know that the company’s ice cream parlor, with its high ceilings and white tile floors, has a classic parlor feel even though it just opened last year. The site, a cone’s throw from the Erie Canal locks, means every trip to Lake Effect can be worked into a historically nourishing excursion, if you need an excuse.
5732 Main St., Williamsville, 631-2424, sweetjennyswilliamsville.com/
The ice cream makers at Sweet Jenny’s studied French chocolate-making techniques and opened Oh Pour L’amour du Chocolat before getting into ice cream. That explains the high-end touches – like chocolate-orange ice cream made with real oranges, not extract – in an otherwise homey neighborhood ice cream shop. There are plans underway to move into the historic Williamsville Water Mill nearby, and you can buy ice cream at both locations.
1340 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, 675-4670, www.countrypeddlers.net.
From the outside, Country Peddlers seems like it might be a stripped-down Cracker Barrel experience, with its general store approach. But when you step up to the ice cream window it surprises with a blast of sophisticated Italian sweets. Gelato is the specialty here, from delicate fruit flavors to deep dark chocolate. There’s ice cream and frozen custard, too, if you want to play it safe.