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Summertime Sweet Spots
July 2020 | by ashlynn reynolds-dyk | photos by holly netz
You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that is pretty much the same thing. — Unknown
There is nothing quite like ice cream on a sizzling summer day. I am sure ice cream stops are a mandatory part of summer. On scorching days, it is acceptable for ice cream to serve as a complete meal replacement. Lucky for us, there are many local, family-owned ice cream and yogurt shops that are worth a drive (walk or bike ride). You will find that these sweet spots satisfy your ice cream needs, and put the cherry on top of a great summer. A few favorites that locals (and visitors) are sweet on include:
Candy Town USA—Billings
- Candy Town USA offers a lot more than gourmet candy, fudge, popcorn, and gifts with their old-school ice cream parlor vibe in the cafe. Their classic soda fountain area allows you to walk up to the counter and order a hand-made drink. Go the traditional route combining an old fashioned root beer with Montana’s beloved Wilcoxson’s ice cream, or design your own ice cream soda with the vast options. From milkshakes and malts to sundaes and ice cream sodas, everyone will find something they are excited to try! Open year-round.
- They also have a boutique with great gifts and a diverse selection of gourmet candy, fudge, popcorn, saltwater taffy, and caramel-dipped apples (you can watch them being made right in front of you). Whether you need a trip to the candy store to celebrate an accomplishment, to stock up on candy (or old fashioned soda), or are planning a theme party, you are sure to fulfill any candy needs you might have at Candy Town. Their candy selection covers the walls from floor-to-ceiling, and you'll find more than you are looking for.
- Spinners’ fun, bright, family-friendly atmosphere for kids of all ages has 24 flavors of frozen yogurt, sorbets, and ice cream, along with a variety of toppings including fresh fruit and candies, cereals, cookies, syrups, nuts, etc. Their name comes from having your yogurt or ice cream and toppings spun into your own creation, although you can always have it in a traditional cone or dish. Spinners continues to demonstrate innovation and care for their customers as their toppings are now housed in individual containers to help prevent the spread of germs and cross-contamination. Open year-round.
- Get your frozen yogurt, ice cream, custard, or gelato fix here. With dairy-free options and gluten-free cones, U-do Yogurt provides over 90 topping choices so anyone can sufficiently satisfy their ice cream needs. Open year-round.
- They also offer U-do pizza (a pizza bar where guests can make pizza, baked in 90 seconds); other hot foods served as well.
The Yogurt Shop—Laurel
- With many varieties and a few permanent flavors, The Yogurt Shop's flavors change, so you end up with watermelon, s’mores, and my personal favorite, Dole pineapple (yes, like what you get at Disneyland!) if you hit it at the right time. Add toppings by selecting from the large topping bar. Open year-round.
- They also serve homemade soups, a variety of concession food items, and a full salad bar.
Red Box Car—Red Lodge
- Since 1972 when it was brought from Laurel to Red Lodge, the Red Box Car has been serving ice cream to guests with the option to sit on the deck alongside Rock Creek and take in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. You may even have a turkey or moose sighting while enjoying ice cream here! Open seasonally, April through September.
- They also serve casual dining, including buffalo burgers and Indian tacos.
- Located on historic Broadway Avenue in a building over 100 years old, Scoops offers 32 flavors of Wilcoxson’s ice cream and a whole host of toppings to create sundaes. You can grab and go, dine inside, or sit on the charming patio to take in views of the Beartooths. Open year-round.
- They also serve wood-fired pizza and wings.
- This drive-in and dine is located just off of Highway 212 as you head from Laurel toward Red Lodge. They serve a variety of soft-serve ice cream flavors, and customers love their cyclones (like a blizzard) as well as their fresh huckleberry milkshakes when available. Open seasonally, April through September.
- They also serve casual dining, including burgers and Butte’s Pork Chop John’s pork chop sandwich.