By now you probably have the summer routine down, and it might look like a little bit of work and a lot of dipping in the pool to stay out of the heat. But what is your plan to keep cool when the pool is closed, or when it's just too hot to even think about staying in the sun for very long? Frozen treats, of course!
The Northland has such a variety of cold treat shops which are locally owned and family-friendly. You can try a classic like a Dari-B sundae or fresh milk ice cream from Green Dirt Creamery, or try something new with Snobuh’s black sesame soft serve or breakfast flavored ice cream from D’Creamery. Whatever you settle on, branch out of that summer routine and try any (or all!) of the Northland’s best cold treats to satisfy your sweet tooth all while staying cool.
901 Isley Blvd, Excelsior Springs
Step back in time as you drive north to visit Dari-B, a truly retro drive-up ice cream shack. Open seasonally, the 60-year old Excelsior Springs institution is an old-fashioned delight. The atmosphere is pure summer at Dari-B, with cars crowding their gravel parking lot, and throngs of people outside the small building, waiting to place their orders or enjoy their ice cream with friends. It’s truly a social place, not just a place you go to get a fix, but to soak in the epitome of summer — a leisure evening, maybe in the bed of a pickup, enjoying a cold treat with no better place to go.
Dari-B’s menu is vast, offering scoops, shakes, soft serve, splits and sundaes, and really, nothing but cold treats. Their specialty is the sangria shake, a mixture of orange, lemon and lime, but if you want to go ultra-classic, you can’t go wrong with a banana split.
105 S Jefferson Street, Kearney
D’Creamery got its start because of owner Dallas Hoffman’s love for making all kinds of sweets. Before Lisa and Dallas bought their storefront in Kearney, they were making cookie trays for friends, family and large businesses. The couple would drive by the empty commercial space that would eventually become the first D’Creamery every day and dream about having a shop of their own until they eventually said, “Let’s do it!”
Since 2016, the couple has been serving up ice cream along with burgers, tenderloins and fries, but their homemade ice cream has always been the star of the show. They rotate six flavors, sometimes even in the middle of the day, so you won’t know which flavors they have on hand until you come in, which is part of the fun. Dallas loves a flavor challenge and tries to come up with ice creams no one has ever thought of (and even takes customer suggestions!). One of their more unique flavors is the breakfast ice cream, loaded with bacon, pancakes and maple syrup.
D’Creamery prides itself in being a very family-oriented space where people can come from the city or country to stop and enjoy each other’s company, and the couple is almost always on-site interacting with guests.
Lilo’s Shaved Ice
8261 N Ditzler Avenue, Liberty and 6282 N Chatham Avenue, Parkville
Craving some elevated summer nostalgia? Lilo’s Shaved Ice is going to be your new frozen favorite. Tara and David Painter acquired the first Lilo’s in 2019 and added a second shack in 2020. Lilo’s is different from the shaved ice you’re used to — each handmade flavor is made with real fruit and herbs and some are made sugar-free, so even your pup can come by and enjoy a cup of shaved ice!
It is almost impossible to visit Lilo’s Shaved Ice just once, as they have 34 combinable flavors. If the list of handmade flavors isn’t enough, Lilo’s also offers stuffed shaved ice, which has your choice of ice cream (vanilla, coconut, or pineapple coconut) stuffed inside the shaved ice. Customers can also add a snow cap to their cup, which is a blend of evaporated milk and simple syrup that covers the top of the shaved ice, making it creamy and delicious! Lilo’s has its specialty flavors listed for customers who have a hard time deciding. Some fan favorites include North Shore, Lime in the Coconut, Dreamsicle, Arrowhead, Mango Tango and Ice, Ice Baby.
Green Dirt Farm Creamery
1099 Welt Street, Weston
Green Dirt Farm Creamery is a gem in Weston belonging to couple Sarah and John Hoffmann. The creamery was named to convey the couple’s focus on taking the best possible care of the farm’s ecology, while also staying playful — how could you not smile while saying “Green Dirt”? Though artisan cheese is Green Dirt’s specialty, the homemade ice cream offered in their storefront is a trip worth making.
Green Dirt employees make the ice cream in their Weston shop with cow’s milk they source from the Jersey cow dairy, Mockingbird Creamery, in Cameron. All of Green Dirt’s dairy partners are small, local family farms that promise to uphold the same farm practices and values. The most popular ice cream flavor is the strawberry cheesecake, with cheesecake made from fresh sheep's cheese that combines dreamily with strawberry ice cream and graham crackers to make a fresh and delicious frozen treat!
La Dulzura Creamery
603E Route 291 South, Liberty
Diana Villegas wanted to create a place that brought the flavors of her hometown of Guanajuato, Mexico to the Northland. Along with friends and family, she opened La Dulzura Creamery, located off of 291 Highway on the east side of Liberty. While the shop serves street tacos with meats such as steak, marinated pork, pork leg, chicken and barbacoa (they have a Taco Tuesday special, too!), they specialize in cold, sweet authentic Mexican treats.
Many of their sweet treats feature fruit flavors paired with spices, like their specialty mangonata — a combination of mango ice cream with chamoy and tajin (a chili-lime spice). They make all of their agua frescas from scratch, with flavors like watermelon and strawberry that will keep you cool all summer long. You can also keep it simple by just grabbing a fruit cocktail, or you can spice it up by topping it with chamoy.
Whatever you find at La Dulzura, owner Diana just wants to share the flavors she grew up with her community. “Everyone is welcome so they can enjoy authentic Mexican dishes,” she says.
1599 Iron Street, North Kansas City
Addi Son, who is also the owner of Ice Cream Bae, opened Snobuh at the end of 2019. Snobuh is one of the unique vendors in the Iron District, which is a garden party of shipping containers tucked away in an industrial neighborhood in North Kansas City.
Snobuh is known for its unique, rotating flavors and the most aesthetically pleasing ice cream cone out there. Many of Snobuh’s soft-serve flavors are made with a southeast Asian flair, like ube, which is their bright purple ice cream made from sweet purple yams. Addi and his employees are always experimenting with flavors in the small space, seeing how customers respond — even the waffle cone flavors rotate in this shop.
Soft serve is not the only frozen treat Snobuh does well. The shop also has a wide variety of smoothie options, including strawberry-mango, mango, peach-lychee and more. This summer they collaborated with Chamoy Boi to introduce a new smoothie specialty, made with a mixture of Tajin, chamoy, mango and homemade candies that are tossed in a special marinade. The shop is only open when the weather is warm, so make sure to go and try as many of their delicious flavors as you can!
8375 N Booth Avenue, Kansas City
With an array of frozen yogurt flavors and 75 topping options, Yogurtini is sure to light up the face of any kid or adult who is craving something sweet. Owner Isaac Collins loves having a Yogurtini in the Northland – he describes the community as one big family! While kids excitedly decide which toppings to put on top of their froyo mountain, adults who are trying to eat better can also enjoy a frozen treat from this shop. Yogurtini offers a variety of dairy-free, nonfat and no added sugar frozen yogurts.
The Shoal Creek Yogurtini is not only here to provide the family with a frozen dessert — Isaac also makes a point to give back to the Northland. Isaac makes sure his business invests in the community, from fundraisers to catering to donations and sponsorships. Yogurtini also partners with local schools and nonprofits to make the Northland the best it can be.