Best places to get ice cream in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

The hot temps in the Triangle call for ice cream. Juli Leonard

A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month, we look for homemade (or locally made) ice cream.

Chuck & Buck Cones ’n’ Cups

The scoop: Since we wrote about Chuck & Buck, the Capital Boulevard retail location has closed. But the company still provides ice cream for catering and special events.

Fresh. Local Ice Cream

Two locations: 6033 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, and 138 E. Chatham St., Cary

919-785-5030 (Raleigh); 919-234-1155 (Cary)

The scoop: Some credit the new fountain park for the downtown Cary renaissance. Others say it’s the refurbished movie theater. I’m going with the recent opening of the second Fresh ice cream shop. I mean, have you tasted their butter pecan? Or their banana pudding? Heck, I’d even bet more than a few folks are there for the non-dairy Almond Milk ice cream.

Howling Cow

Multiple locations on the N.C. State campus; see website.


The scoop: No need to go cold turkey from one State Fair to the next. You can also score this perennial favorite churned up by the folks at N.C. State’s Department of Food Science at several locations on and around campus. Flavors are old-school vanilla, chocolate and strawberry – and, as fans will enthusiastically assure you, that’s all they need.


306 E. Wait Ave., Wake Forest


The scoop: Downtown Wake Forest’s best-kept secret churns up ice cream from locally sourced hormone-free milk with no additives or food color. With a rotating selection of flavors ranging from Bubba’s Backyard Blackberry (made with fresh berries, naturally) to Benny’s Bacon & Bourbon, I’d say it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.

Mama Bird’s

304 N. Main St., Holly Springs


The scoop: Fans of Mama Bird’s tricycle-driven push carts, a familiar sight at garden centers and catered events, celebrated when a brick-and-mortar opened late last year in Holly Springs. Try an ice cream sandwich made with, say, Mocha Flake or Maple Bacon Praline between house-baked cookies or brownies, and you’ll be celebrating, too.

Maple View Farm

6900 Rocky Ridge Road, Hillsborough


The scoop: Try this recipe for summertime bliss: Drive out to this creamery in Orange County. Order whatever strikes your fancy – Honey Toasted Almond, maybe, or Ginger Lemonade sorbet. Head out to the front porch, plop down in one of the rocking chairs, and take in the view of rolling farmland hills. Chill.

The Parlour

117 Market St., Durham


The scoop: The creme de la creme (sorry, couldn’t resist) of local ice cream shops, The Parlour serves frozen confections for the aficionado. Even “plain” vanilla is flavored with Nielsen-Massey vanilla, and chocolate with Callebaut chocolate. Those seeking more exotic options will find a daily changing selection ranging from honey lavender to a salted caramel that has earned a cult-like following.

Pine Cone

905 W. Main St., Suite 20-H, Durham


The scoop: Tucked into a corner of Brightleaf Square, this little shop features Maple View Farm ice cream. More than a dozen and a half flavors – from Brownie Explosion to Black Cherry Amaretto – are offered on a rotating basis, along with dairy-free sorbets Mango Tango and Pomegranate Raspberry.


305 S. Blount St., Raleigh


The scoop: Looking to shake things up? How about a milkshake made with Maple View Farm ice cream? Carolina Crunch (vanilla with Butterfinger, Heath Bar and caramel) ought to do the trick. Or go whole hog with one of Treat’s signature three-scoops-in-a-waffle-bowl creations. How about the Johnny Cashew: chocolate ice cream, reg or dark chocolate syrup, bourbon caramel syrup, cashews and chocolate sprinkles?

Two Roosters

7713-49 Leadmine Road, Raleigh


The scoop: Churning ice cream flavors that showcase local food artisans, the Two Roosters food truck (a quaint baby blue-and-white Airstream trailer, actually, hitched to a matching vintage Ford pickup truck) has proved so popular that owners Jared and Kelsey Plummer have opened a brick-and-mortar shop. I say the more places to enjoy the likes of SOLA Mini-Donut and Cinnamon Sugar Syrup, and Roasted Almond Tin Roof Fruit Tea, and Slingshot Coffee Fudge Ripple ice creams, the better.

Update: On July 15, Two Roosters announced it will open up a second brick-and-mortar location on North Person Street Plaza in downtown Raleigh. “For the summer, we’ll be doing a sort of ‘pop-up’ space and then close for the winter to do bigger and better renovations,” the owners wrote.


Want to keep up with what's up in the Triangle?
Sign up for our newsletter.