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Off-the-the-Beaten Path Frozen Desserts


Pesso’s Italian Ices
20320 35th Ave., at 203rd St.
Bayside, Queens
(718) 224-9130
You can spend a day trying to eat your way through Pesso’s extensive selection of ices, ice creams and gelatos, easily worth a day trip out to Queens.  If you’re dining in the neighborhood, it’s a great last stop.  On a recent visit I had the dulce de leche and the zabaione gelato, both of which were super dense and true to their names.  A lighter menu item is the “miscela,” an authentic Italian blend of ices and frozen yogurt.


Timmy O’s
49-07 104th St., at 49th Ave.
Corona, Queens
(516) 242-1843
Timmty O practically lives at his warm, vibrant frozen custard shop where he spins his wonderfully fresh custards daily.  He’s more than happy to give you a sample of vanilla, chocolate, and the special of the day (blueberry, peanut butter, coconut, dulce de leche…)  Don’t overlook the wonderful list of toppings.   Try a kid scoop of the vanilla for a buck, and throw on some peanut butter and brownie chunks.


Fine and Raw
Brooklyn Flea Market

(646) 894-2929

Whebn I think of ice cream, I think milk and sugar.  Apparently, the two aren’t always necessary as is the case at Fine and Raw, where they make raw dairy and sugar-free chocolate ice cream.   It’s made with agave, coconut, and plenty of chocolate, and has the consistency of thick, rich frozen pudding.

Thumbnail image for peoplespops.JPGPeople’s Pops
Brooklyn Flea Market
Though not technically ice cream, People’s Pops deserves to be among the best of New York frozen treats. Try the strawberry buttermilk popsicle, a sweet and creamy ode to summer on a hand-stamped stick.  If you’re craving something a little more refreshing, flavored ices are also served – licorice, lemon mint, and ginger rhubarb are among the ever-changing options.

bluemarblepistachio.JPGBlue Marble Ice Cream Cart
Brooklyn Flea Market
Located smack in the middle of the action at the Brooklyn Flea Market, this ice cream cart-cum -bicycle is loaded with to-go containers of Blue Marble’s signature flavors.  Each one is $3.50 and packs in a lot of ice cream for one person.  I like the pistachio ice cream, which reminds of  old-fashioned pistachio — snow white, with a distinct almond  and plenty of crunch from all the fresh-roasted pistachios.

Ray’s Candy Store

rayscandystore.JPG113 Ave. A , btwn. E 7th St. & St. Mark’s Pl.
(212) 505-7609
It may have a giant photo of fries on the storefront, but don’t dismiss Ray’s Candy Store as another pommes frites spot.  They make some wonderful, homemade egg creams, milkshakes, frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream.  $3.50 will get you a small serving of flavors ranging from pistachio to peanut butter, but beware.  “Small” means a giant coffee cup filled with the stuff, so bring someone to share.

mameyicecream.JPGRoma’s Ice Cream Store
103-04 Roosevelt Ave., nr. 103rd St.
Corona, Queens
(718) 899-9900
The unusual variety of flavors is absolutely worth the ride on the 7 train to Queens.  There’s the usual suspects, like chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio,  but why order one of those when you can taste eggnog or purple plum.  My favorite is the mamey, an apple-like fruit flavor from the Caribbean and Central America.  The ice cream is bright red, with a taste reminiscent of almonds, pumpkin and vanilla.  If you’re looking for something lighter, try one of the popsicles in the freezer – mango chili is amazing.

Thumbnail image for cholado.JPGPecas y Mas
44-20 Greenpoint Ave. (off 45th St.)
Sunnyside, Queens
(718) 389-4443
If you’ve never tried a cholado, this Colombian snack shop is the place to do it.   Imagine an oversized cup of shaved ice topped with a variety of fruit juices and chopped apples, melon, pineapple and mango.  It’s then covered with sweetened condensed milk, toasted coconut, and finished off with a cherry.  A cholado comes with a spoon and straw, so start off sipping the juice from the bottom, and spoon all the goodies on top.

emackandbolios.JPGEmack & Bolio’s
73 W Houston St. (nr. Mercer St.)
(212) 533-5610
What started in Boston has spread across the country, but is often neglected in New York.  I can’t understand why, especially considering how funky the flavors are.  I love the raspberry truffle – it’s vanilla ice cream with a raspberry swirl and raspberry truffles.  The Deep Purple Cow is another great flavor – black raspberry ice cream with white and dark chocolate chips and blueberries.  Egg creams and shakes are also available, as are house made chocolates like glazed ginger and Swiss fudge.    

meltgelato.JPGMelt Gelato
1053 2nd Ave. (btwn. 55th & 56th Sts.)
(646) 329-6445
This tastes like dense Italian gelato in American flavors.  There are some Italian standards, like stracciatella and tiramisu, but the American classics are what stand out here, like butter pecan, key lime pie, mint chip, and strawberry cheesecake.  I love the banana caramel praline – a smooth banana ice cream with caramelized praline chunks throughout.  The sorbets also go beyond the traditional – the mojito flavor has tons of fresh mint and lime and fresh mango tastes like the frozen fresh fruit itself. Melt also serves sweet and savory crepes, but stick with the gelato.


  1. great round up. i am especially intrigued by those pops so will need to make it to the flea to check those out as well as some of those queens spots. we just tried lula’s sweet apothecary today for her vegan ice creams. and while i am not really a no milk ice cream person, my friends definitely loved it and the service and space were great.

  2. There’s a great old ice cream shop in Jersey City called Torico’s–it’s on Erie Street in the downtown area. They also have mamey flavored ice cream as well as avocado, ginger, and lots of other yummy flavors. My personal fave is the pound cake flavor.

  3. Ooooh, such an awesome (and refreshing) post here. This one goes right into my NY files! When I used to live there, it was all about Coronoa ices for me, miss that so much – watching the Italian papi’s play bocce ball while having my several flavors – all separate of course! I now live in Switzerland, and sure we’ve got amazing ice cream with the cows here – but sometimes I just crave good ole frozen yogurt ! 🙂

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