Summertime and ice cream go hand in hand (drips included) —and there’s quite a selection in NE Denver, all proud to indulge your taste buds with their hand-crafted products. Here’s a roundup of local independent shops serving ice cream, gelato and sorbet. We also asked shop owners and managers to share unique flavors, treats, and combinations they think you might like to check out.
DANG Soft Serve Ice Cream—2211 Oneida St.
In a twist on parent company Little Man Ice Cream’s specialty, DANG offers soft serve ice cream, vegan variations, and dairy free sorbet. They also make French fries for dipping into the cold creaminess. All products are blended in-house using locally-sourced dairy and flavorings. More than 30 topping options can be added.
Inside Scoop: Order a float with soft-serve ice cream and any of Rocky Mountain Soda Company’s nine flavors. www.dangsoftserve.com
Em’s Ice Cream—2829 Fairfax St.
Em’s Ice Cream is a family-owned ice cream shop in Park Hill that makes small-batch churned flavors from scratch. Everything is made in-house, including the chocolate chips, salted caramel, lemon curd, and fruit preserves for flavoring. Their ice creams are naturally gluten-free except for the cookies in Cookies & Cream. They also have vegan options.
Inside Scoop: Order a double scoop or milkshake made from Burnt Brown Sugar and Roasted Banana for a Bananas Foster treat. www.emsicecream.com
I Scream Gelato—63. N. Quebec St., #109
Gelato and vegan sorbet (including sugar-free) are made daily in-house using equipment and ingredients from Italy, plus locally-sourced fruit. Presentation is a claim to fame, with large swirls, some drizzled in syrups and dotted with whatever ingredients make that particular flavor.
Inside Scoop: Kits are available for pickup or delivery with multiple choices of gelato or sorbet flavors and toppings of choice—plus cones and cups to mix and match individual creations. www.iscream-gelato.com
Neveria La Mexicana—7506 E. 36th Ave.
Ice creams and sorbets are made in-house and reflect flavors and ingredients commonly found in Mexican culture such as horchata, prickly pear, avocado (in season), and Nance fruit.
Inside Scoop: Get a Mangonada, mango sorbet with chili powder plus pickled and spicy Chamoy sauce and lime, typically served with a tamarind straw. Or, their version of an ice cream sandwich— ice cream Panini-pressed inside a house-made Concha (Mexican sweet bread). https://business.facebook.com/neverialamexicanastapleton
Nuggs Ice Cream—5135 E. Colfax Ave.
Started by the brothers who own Brothers BBQ, all of Nuggs’ ice cream bases are made in-house from locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients plus familiar additions like cookies, candy, and brownies. They have gluten-, soy-, nut-, dairy-, and egg-free variations. Desserts such as ice cream sandwiches, root beer floats, sundaes, and ice cream cakes are also available.
Inside scoop: The Banana Split includes an unlimited number of their 25 toppings. www.nuggsicecream.com
Pozzetti Gelato—5094 Central Park Blvd.
Family owned and run, Pozzetti has 24 flavors of gelato and eight flavors of sorbet available daily. Local products and natural fruits are used to make the products in-store, where customers can observe the entire production process. Other treats include gelato cakes, crepes, bubble waffles, and gelato sandwiches.
Inside Scoop: The Latin-American flavored vegan fruit sorbets are made with fruit pulp and include flavors such as guava and tamarind. https://www.facebook.com/Pozzetti-Gelato-2256774021011495
Rocket Ice Cream—7557 E. Academy Blvd.
It’s hard to miss this shop, topped with a shiny rocket that was previously a Burning Man art installation. Rocket Ice Cream rotates 16 flavors of small batch ice cream, vegan ice cream, and sorbet made at Brix creamery in Edgewater.
Inside Scoop: Rocket’s Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches are portioned to be kid-sized. But people with bigger appetites, or those who want to share, can get a flight of three. www.rocketicecream.com
Sweet Cow at Stanley Marketplace—2501 N. Dallas St.
Sweet Cow makes all of their own ice cream (including vegan variations) and sorbet, using locally-sourced ingredients that don’t have artificial flavors or colors. They maintain nine classic flavors and rotate more than 150 other flavors.
Inside Scoop: One of their most unique flavors is Salted Cookies and Cream, using French sea salt and Oreos that are added at the beginning, middle, and end for a creamy, chunky experience. www.sweetcowicecream.com/stanley
The Constellation Ice Cream—10175 E. 29th Dr.
Serving hand-mixed ice cream, sorbet, and vegan flavors from its parent company, Little Man Ice Cream, Constellation takes cues from its airplane design with themed flavors like Turbulence (marshmallow and chocolate charcoal ice creams that resemble stormy skies) and Red Eye (espresso fudge ice cream).
Inside Scoop: Get the Baked Alaska Pop with torched meringue or Cloud Cones, available the first weekend of summer months, with cotton candy swirled around the cone. www.constellationicecream.com
Walia Creamery—1119 Syracuse St.
Family-owned and operated, Walia’s Creamery offers 16 flavors of ice cream plus up to 12 vegan ice creams and sorbets. Everything is made daily, in-house, in small batches, using ingredients purchased specifically for that batch such as mint and berries.
Inside Scoop: Standout flavors are Honey Ginger Pear and Vegan Lavender. Reflecting the family’s Ethiopian heritage, cones are made with a base of gluten-free teff flour, which lends a nutty flavor. www.waliacreamery.com
Although ice cream is practically required for summer, these businesses are open year-round—so you never have to scream for ice cream (or gelato or sorbet).