Summer is ice cream season, and Wichita has plenty of it.
Everyone knows about the major ice cream and cold-treat retailers – Braum’s, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbin’s, Marble Slab, Cold Stone Creamery, Rita’s Italian Ice, Freddy’s – but Wichita also has several home-grown ice cream shops, many of which churn their own.
Here’s a guide to some of the local ice cream purveyors offering out-of-the-ordinary cold treats that you need to check out this summer.
Churn & Burn
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What: This creative, locally-owned shop specializes in ice cream made on the spot using liquid nitrogen to freeze it. Owned by Christian and Jamee Shomberg, the almost 2-year-old business seems to churn out a crazy new invention every day. Among the many offerings on its menu are beer-flavored ice cream, acai frozen with liquid nitrogen, iced coffee drinks, ice cream coffee drinks, Affogato and ice cream-topped cinnamon rolls.
Don’t-miss treat: Save up your calorie allotment for a few days, skip your morning coffee and treat yourself to one of Churn & Burn’s ice cream coffee drinks, which come in flavors like tiramisu, white chocolate, Swiss mocha, salted caramel and turtle.
Where: 548 S. Oliver, 316-425-7766. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays.
College Hill Creamery
What: Earlier this year, Ryan and Stephanie Nall bought College Hill Creamery, a little ice cream store in College Hill’s Clifton Square. They remodeled it and revamped the menu, adding lots of unique coffee drinks and ice cream-based desserts.
Don’t-miss treat: The Nalls partnered with The Waffle Wagon, a local food truck that serves divine caramelized Belgian waffles, and now is making and serving the crispy treats a la mode with espresso drizzled on top. Those are almost as popular as the new Nitro Joe’s floats they’re serving. The shop also is serving Nitro Joe’s nitrogen-infused coffee and mixing it with ice cream to make Nitro floats and Nitro shakes. “The Nitro float is the best thing I’ve had here yet,” Ryan Nall said.
Where: 3700 E. Douglas, 316-260-5511. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays though Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Paleteria La Reyna and Paleterias Tropicana
What: Paletas are Mexican ice cream bars that are made from fresh produce and have an extra-creamy texture. Paleteria La Reyna makes its own in dozens of flavors, from cookies and cream to banana to watermelon. Another big paleta vendor is Paleterias Tropicanas, which relocated to the New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon in March. They also make their own ice cream bars. Both stores also serve Mexican ice cream, a denser, creamier product than typical American ice cream.
Don’t-miss treat: Your co-workers will be ultra-appreciative if you show up with a bag of these beauties one hot afternoon. Be sure to grab the fruity flavor you like, which often will be studded with chunks of fresh fruit. But also try some of the more unusual offerings, including paletas flavored like tequila, rice and hot chili melon.
Where: Paleteria La Reyna is at 2925 N. Arkansas, 316-831-9196. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays. It’s closed Wednesdays.
Paleterias Tropicana is at 2021 N. Amidon, 316-869-1847. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Paletas also are available from bike vendors in local parks, like Central Riverside Park, and often can be found in freezer cases at tortillerias and Mexican bakeries.
Spring Ro, Krispy’s and Beard Papa’s
What: Several locally-served Asian ice cream treats also offer an unusual – but awesome – taste and texture experience.
Don’t-miss treats: Make it a point this summer to stop by SpringRo, the Vietnamese restaurant in northeast Wichita, and try its Taiwanese shaved ice. The treat is served in two flavors: green tea and mango. And a serving of the stuff is topped with all kinds of exotic fruits. But it’s the texture of the ice that’s special. The flavored ice is shaved in thin ribbons, which gives it an airy, melt-in-your-mouth quality. Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood near 31st Street and South Hillside also serves Taiwanese shaved ice during warm-weather months.
And in Towne East Square, cream puff shop Beard Papa’s also serves some interesting ice cream treats. The shop has several flavors of mochi ice cream, a Japanese confection made with an outside coating of pounded sticky rice and an ice cream filling. They’re chewy and creamy at once and come in flavors like lychee, green tea, mango, chocolate and espresso. One of Beard Papa’s most popular offerings is called the mango shower. It’s served in a bowl with shaved ice, mango sauce and chunks of mango. Managers say the treat is popular and that they sell at least 20 a day.
Where: Spring Ro is at 6524 E. 37th St. North, Suite 180, 316-226-9123. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood is at 3009 S. Hillside, 316-765-7574. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. (There’s also a Derby location.)
Beard Papa’s is at Towne East Square, second level, outside Dillard’s, 7700 E. Kellogg, 316-613-2233. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Little Lion Ice Cream
What: One of Wichita’s newest ice cream businesses is actually a cute little black-and-white mobile cart operated by local couple Jubilee and Ian Miller, whose friends always raved about their homemade ice cream. So the two decided to open a business. They hope to someday have a shop but launched their business with their cart at the District Marketplace event in early April. The Millers make their ice cream fresh from scratch and try to use local products. They offer interesting flavors, like dark chocolate, creme fraiche and strawberry balsamic.
Don’t-miss treat: One of the coolest features of Little Lion is that at most events, they make their waffle cones from batter they’ve made themselves on the spot while customers watch.
Where: The Millers plan to take the cart to Food Trucks at the Fountain at the WaterWalk, 515 S. Main, on May 22. They’ll post more dates as they book them on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/littlelionicecream.
What: Wichita’s food truck fleet has only a few vendors of sweet treats, but last summer, it added Big Chill. The truck is owned by Carla and Leonard Cryston, who decided to open the business when they noticed that the food truck rallies had no ice cream options. Leonard, a native of Philadelphia, suggested starting an Italian ice business. The couple imports the ice from Philadelphia, considered the home of Italian ice. The business opened in a bright blue truck in April 2015.
Don’t-miss treat: The truck sells 15 different flavors of Italian shaved ice at a time (the most popular being creamsicle and mango), but the treat they’re know for is the Chillato, which layers the ice in a clear plastic cup with soft-serve vanilla ice cream. The result is a colorful, sweet treat with different but complementary textures.
Where: Big Chill sets up at all the big food truck rallies and is a regular at the ICT Pop Up Urban Park at 121 E. Douglas. Keep up with the truck’s location on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bigchillicecream