By Loren Shaum
Relief from the summer heat is a short distance away, if you know where to go. Ice cream joints are special summertime places, and there are several to choose from, including the iconic Chief in Goshen. But there are others and one of those might just be the best.
Joe’s Ice Cream Supreme
Adjacent the bowling alley and Chubbies Pub and Grub in Syracuse, brothers Jeremy and Jeff Yoder named the shop after their grandfather. Joe’s offers a large variety of flavors, and the servings are huge. Usually, there are over 30 ice cream choices and several soft cream choices. There are also 14 sundaes to choose from.
There are many exotic flavors, and on occasion they offer lemon custard and even blueberry ice cream. In the past, they’ve even had a strawberry shortcake special.
On one visit, they had amaretto cherry. It’s similar to the Traverse City cherry served at Kelainey’s Sweet Dreams in The Village at Winona but with larger chucks of amaretto-laced chocolate. It is a cooling experience. Lick fast because with the heat coming-on, it will melt quickly.
Sheila’s Sweet Treats Ice Cream Parlor
Sheila’s in North Webster is also a frequent breakfast stop. They usually have over 20 had-dipped choices but were out of the classic Indiana pot hole. Bummer, but we went for the unusual red velvet. It tasted like red velvet cake with sweet chucks of red chocolate bits dominating.
Sheila’s servings are smaller, but the ice cream is solid, not mushy. In fact, you could hardly cut into it with a plastic spoon, but once into it, the battle is worth it.
Also famous for their hot dogs, Sheila’s serves breakfast, lunch and ice cream.
Russell Becker just might be the best ice cream maker in Lake Country. Using authentic ingredients (no imitations), he makes batches weekly. Usually, he has 10 or more flavors. The black raspberry has always been a good choice, when available. But sadly, he can’t get the flavoring he wants for my favorite — peach ice cream.
In the fall, the pumpkin ice cream is very popular. It tasted like pumpkin pie. Another favorite is lemon. You can’t beat it, and Fashion Farm is still the cheapest per scoop
The Fashion Farm serves breakfast, lunch (try the salmon burger) and early dinners. They also make breads and pastries, including terrific donuts.
Lucy’s Vedie Twist
Venturing north, meander to Topeka and head east on CR 700s (watch the speed limit) to CR 200N. Turn left and travel through the heart of Amish country, an area called Hawpatch, where the road becomes CR 150N then CR 050E. It eventually merges with CR 00EW. Just north of the merger is Lucy’s Vedie Twist. It’s a popular sandwich and ice cream joint out in the middle of nowhere. On this visit, the drive-through window had six cars and an Amish buggy lied-up. Picnic tables are available under an open pavilion where an Amish couple were enjoying their treats.
Lucy’s usually posts over 20 hand-dipped flavors — including peach yogurt — when they have it. You can also get a great serving of black cherry. It has nice chunks of black cherries throughout.
Their locally made hot dogs and sloppy Joe’s makes this trip to outside of Wolcottville worth a visit.
Kelainey’s Sweet Dreams
The Thompson’s opened their first ice cream shop in downtown Warsaw in 2001. Named after their two daughters, Kelsie and Laine, the shop became so successful that they opened another in the Village at Winona. Located in a restored historic house on Winona’s main drag, Kelainey’s has become the go-to place during the summer lake season.
There are always 15 or more ice cream flavors available, and a new flavor recently was Traverse Bay cherry. It’s a yummy concoction of Amaretti-flavored ice cream packed with cherry pieces and chunks of dark chocolate.
They also serve sundaes, a couple with names like Kelsie’s turtle sundae and Laine’s cookie creation. You can get conventional sundaes, as well, and choose from eight flavors. All are topped with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.
Then, there are expresso and mocha sundaes. One is the caramel-nut, and another is the mocha expresso. Both come doused with two shots of expresso. Caffeine and sugar — what could be better?
The cream mixologists also create shakes, floats or malts from any ice cream flavor on hand. Then, you can even “quake the shake” by adding one or two shots of expresso.
Folks come from afar to the Igloo Ice Cream Shop owned by Marilyn and Trent McDonald. Just west of downtown Silver Lake, this walk-up shop offers avalanches, sundaes, shakes, malts, flavored drinks and over 30 ice cream flavors.
The line is always long and usually gets longer, depending on the time of day. Their ice cream is made in Wisconsin and is rich and creamy. I thought Fashion Farm had the best ice cream in Lake Country, but after a couple licks of their chunky peach ice cream, the Igloo won me over. My wife’s Zanzibar chocolate was also stellar.
If you are looking for a road trip, the Igloo must be at the top of the list.
If none of these options suit your taste buds, then just go up to the Chief in Goshen. I often buy a pint of peach when they open for Christmas tree sales in November.
Wherever you travel in Lake Country, there always an ice cream venue that awaits.