With Texas just starting to preheat for its full-on summer bake, it’s time to start thinking of fun ways to keep cool.
Thankfully there are quite a few places here in Denton serving up ice cream and other cold confections guaranteed to help you beat the heat.
Let’s look at a few of Denton’s best spots for ice cream to help sweeten up your summer.
Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Chances are pretty good that if you live in Denton, you’ve stopped by Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream for a frozen treat.
According to Owner/Partner Ken Willis, Beth Marie’s first opened in 1998 and is currently celebrating its 25th year.
Most Dentonites know Beth Marie’s as the 1950s-style ice cream parlor on the Square. However, they also have a second location in Denton on Wind River Lane.
Willis says what makes their ice cream special is the ingredients they use and how they make it. “We use 14% butterfat,” he explains. “We get our cream in fresh — we don’t get it frozen or anything like that. It’s all local Texas — I think that makes a huge difference.”
“We make it in a single batch or small batch ice cream machines, so it doesn’t run through any tubing or anything like that,” Willis continues. “It comes straight out of the machine into the containers, unless we’re doing mix-ins or stir-ins which we do by hand. And then after we make the ice cream it doesn’t sit around very long — it usually gets used up pretty fast.”
Willis says they are currently at 257 different ice cream flavors they’ve developed, and there are usually about 60 of them to choose from at the two Denton stores.
So with so many flavors to choose from, what’s the most popular? Willis says vanilla is always number one. “Vanilla kind of tells you what the rest of the ice creams will be like, so it’s a good way to judge our ice cream,” he says.
Other top-selling flavors include Bee’s Knees (raw honey and lavender), Texas Honey Whiskey, Cookies and Cream, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. And while guests of Beth Marie’s can enjoy their ice cream in a cup, in shakes and malts, in sundaes, and even on top of hot cobbler, Willis says their number one seller is vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone.
“It’s something that’s easy to walk around with and enjoy,” he explains. “And there’s something about holding an ice cream cone that changes people’s attitudes. Ice cream has the tendency to make you feel good. It’s a comfort food. When it’s hot, it’s a good way to cool down.”
Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store
Another popular spot for ice cream that also has two locations in Denton to choose from is Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store.
According to Public Relations Director Amanda Beuchaw, what makes Braum’s ice cream different is that as a dairy company, they oversee everything about it. “We grow the feed for our dairy herd, and then we raise them, and then we also milk them,” she explains. “We use the milk from the dairy to make all of our dairy products including our ice cream. We control everything about (our ice cream) from the ground up and it sets us apart because we’re able to control all of our ingredients, control the quality, and make sure that it’s the right richness and creaminess that we like to be known for.”
Of the many flavors available in Braum’s premium ice cream line, Beuchaw says the basic flavors — chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry — are always the most popular. “Some of our other popular favorites are Cookies and Cream, Butter Brickle, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, (and) Black Walnut,” she adds.
Braum’s customers can either purchase a container of ice cream at the Fresh Market side of Braum’s to enjoy at home, or they can have it right there on the restaurant side.
In addition to scoops of ice cream in a cup or cone, Braum’s also offers milkshakes and sundaes. Right now, Beuchaw says Braum’s is offering four special sundaes for the summer — the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Sundae, M&M Cookie Sundae, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Sundae, and Triple Chocolate Almond Cookie Sundae — all featuring cookies baked fresh at Braum’s bakery in Oklahoma.
And, Beuchaw adds, the banana split is always a fan favorite at Braum’s. “We are well known for making an old-fashioned banana split and it’s large, so it can be shared for sure,” she continues. “It’s a favorite among customers that like to come in regularly. That’s their date night or their family night go-to where they’ll come in and all share a banana split because there’s so much ice cream, bananas, and all the goodness in it.”
Two Gentlemen of Verona
If you’d like to try the Italian frozen treat known as gelato, you’re in luck as there’s a gelato shop right here in Denton.
Two Gentlemen of Verona opened on Denton Square in August 2022. According to Co-Owner and Production Manager Maurizio Podzi, after studying in California for a few years, he decided to go back to his home country of Italy to study culinary arts, including making gelato and pastries.
Podzi and his business partner, Renato Pozzi, then decided to relocate to the United States, ending up in Texas through a friend’s suggestion.
“One of the reasons that we decided (on) Denton is (because it’s) better for this kind of business,” Podzi says. “We saw the old style of the building in Denton, we liked it, there was the opportunity to enter the place, so we went with that.”
Two Gentlemen of Verona offers 40 different flavors of gelato and sorbets. The store also features 16 flavors that are dairy-free and made with a vegan gelato base that Podzi makes from scratch.
Of their gelato flavors, Podzi says the biggest sellers are Pistachio, Cookies and Cream, and Cheesecake. “We have some peculiar flavors that people like to try a lot because it’s something that is uncommon, like the Malaga that is a Spanish wine with raisins,” he adds. “We have the zabaglione that is equivalent to eggnog. So seeing something different (makes) people enjoy it a lot.”
Two Gentlemen of Verona is located on Denton Square at 120 West Oak Street. For more information, follow them on Facebook.
And for those looking for a frozen treat that’s a little different than ice cream, Gnome Cones on the Square has you covered.
According to the store’s manager Kaitlyn, Gnome Cones first opened its Denton location in May 2019.
Although the shop offers soft serve ice cream and popsicles — known as Gnomesicles — what they are best known for are their all-natural snow cones.
“Gnome Cones was founded in 2017 out of a deep desire for an other-worldly snow cone experience,” Kaitlyn explains. “The shaved ice realm was in disarray, littered with stale styrofoam cups and questionable artificial ingredients. Our favorite childhood treat had morphed before our eyes into an unhealthy and uninspired bore. Fake flavors, chunky ice, and syrups that left your mouth dyed were the name of the game.”
After a few years of kitchen-testing recipes, the first Gnome Cones opened in Argyle.
Kaitlyn says everything they serve at Gnome Cones’ Denton location is made from scratch in the store, including the ice they use.
Gnome Cones currently offers about 11 shaved ice flavors, with Trolls Blood — a mix of strawberry, cherry, and coconut — and Sweaty Yeti — vanilla and coconut — being the most popular.
“We offer a different take on traditional snow cones,” Kaitlyn says. “Instead of getting something that is artificially flavored you are getting something that is refreshing and all-natural. You are also getting smooth shaved ice and not your typical crunchy ice. It is an experience in and of itself just to view the store, the vibes are something you really don’t get anywhere else downtown.”