Finding the best ice cream in St. Joseph County

·4 min read

As summer starts to heat up, ice cream is a sweet treat to help us cool down. There are many local ice cream shops and many big-name franchises all around St. Joseph County.

You may wonder where the best place to get good ice cream. After speaking with many St. Joseph County residents, an unofficial vote has given us a few places with the best ice cream.

The most recommended place to get ice cream in St. Joseph County is Sand Lake Party Store.

The ice cream shop is located in a Marathon gas station on M-86 in Nottawa. Not only can you get gas there, but inside you can get classic gas station snacks, fresh meat, deli foods, wine, beer, groceries, and of course, ice cream in the parlor.

When the people of St. Jospeh County were asked why they thought Sand Lake Party Store had the best ice cream, one of them said it is because you can ask for one scoop and they will give you four, plus the prices are good for how much they give you and the ice cream is creamy and good.

Manager Cassondra Huff said they can go through 400 gallons of ice cream a week during their open months which are April through September. They have 48 different flavors and of those flavors, the most popular is butter pecan with mint chocolate chip following close behind.

There are many sizes at Sand Lake that can range from one scoop for $3.25 or five scoops, also known as the belly ache, for $8.25, but most tend to go for two scoops in a waffle cone.

And to top off the ice cream they have a few different toppings, but the most asked for is hot fudge.

“Generations have come here for the huge portions and the smiling faces," Huff said.

Another local favorite is Lil Chicks. This establishment is located inside of Roosters Wing Shack In Three Rivers on North Main Street.

Elliana Price, an employee for Lil Chicks, said prices range from $3.45 for a single scoop to about $6 for a malt or milkshake. In one week, Price estimated they go through about six or seven gallons of ice cream depending on what month it is, which Price believes is because the MOO-Ville ice cream they carry is really good.

The ice cream they carry usually consists of 10 base flavors they keep every year during their open months and another 10 flavors they switch between each week.

Of those flavors that switch out each week the most popular are cookies and cream, super cow, and sea monster. The most popular way to order their ice cream is the single scoop in a bowl and their most popular topping to accompany the ice cream is classic sprinkles.

When Price was asked why she thought they have the best ice cream in St. Jospeh County she said, “The ice cream is really good and Lil Chicks has a great atmosphere and great people.”

Lastly, another place to get ice cream is new to Sturgis. Freakin’ Sweets is on West Chicago Road.

This establishment opened May 27 with its owners Mindy and Chris Merrill.

“We wanted to bring a modern ice cream shop with a twist of uniqueness to our small hometown for our girls, our family, and our community," they said.

Chris gave some insight into how this unique and modern ice cream shop is doing in its first few weeks of business.

He said they offer 16 ice cream flavors made in Plainwell. And during that first week of business, they went through 150 gallons of ice cream. On the menu there are many different things you can choose from like, regular scoops of ice cream with toppings, ice cream in a cone, a regular milkshake, and you can even build your own ice cream cookie sandwich.

Along with offering regular milkshakes they also offer “freak shakes” which happened to be the most popular item on the menu. The most popular flavor of freak shake is Peanut Butter Not Jelly Time. These shakes are topped with candy, cake, PopTarts, and more. The priciest item on the menu also happens to be the “freak shake” at $10, but they do have the basic cone of ice cream for $2.50.

Besides the most popular freak shake, they do offer regular ice cream in a bowl, but if you are looking to spice it up with a topping the most popular topping request is gummy bears. Although they are fairly new, Chris said that they have been doing well.

There also are a few other locations people recommended, like Yup’s Dairyland located in Middlebury, Ind.  This is a local place you can only find in Middlebury. Other top contenders are the big-name franchises of Dairy Queen and Culver’s. You can find two DQs and two Culver’s in St. Joseph Country.

By the numbers:

  • On average, Americans consume about 23 gallons of ice cream each year.

  • 90 percent of Americans eat ice cream regularly.

  • The U.S. production of ice cream and frozen yogurt totals 6.4 billion pounds per year.

A Sand Lake Party Store ice cream parlor employee happily hands over a heaping cone.
A Sand Lake Party Store ice cream parlor employee happily hands over a heaping cone.
Employee Elliana Price at Lil Chicks ice cream shop gives a thumbs up for Moo-Ville ice cream.
Employee Elliana Price at Lil Chicks ice cream shop gives a thumbs up for Moo-Ville ice cream.
A Freakin' Sweets employee scoops up a cone of ice cream.
A Freakin' Sweets employee scoops up a cone of ice cream.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Finding the best ice cream in St. Joseph County