Portland’s best ice cream shops


Hillary Currier

Whiz Bang bar serves dipped soft serve cones.

By Avery Smith

When it comes to  Portland weather, you know there are really only two main seasons of the year, wet and dry. During the long hot days of the summer, people need a way to stay cool under the beating sun, with temperatures soaring past the 70’s. Many might go to the big corporations for ice cream that they have been around for decades. Baskin and Robbins, Cold Stone, and even McDonald’s just can’t deliver the cool new thing people in the Northwest are looking for. Portland does have a few hidden treasures that not too many people could spot off of the street. It’s about time these joints got the recognition they deserve.


The first is a small place on the corner called 50 Licks. It’s a small establishment found in southeast Portland. Located on  Clinton and 21st avenue, it has a myriad of flavors ranging from Vanilla as @#$& to Rose City Lemonade. They also have root beer floats, and regular beer floats for the parents. The flavors are somewhat marketed towards Portland’s residences, making it a top spot for Portlanders to go for the summer. It got an honorable mention from Thrillist, a Portland food review web-page. The ice cream itself is 100% organic, handmade, and has no fake ingredients in its creative process. It is a must to visit not only in the summer, but all year around.


The second ice cream place a Portlander could go to is Salt and Straw, a business with some truly bizarre but oddly fascinating flavors to offer. Salt and Straw is a medium sized ice cream business that started in Portland but now has locations in LA and San Francisco. Their flavors might seem bizarre  to average ice cream consumers, as some don’t even seem like they really  belong in the ice cream business. They have flavors such as Urban Gleaners’ Toasted Baguette PB&J, and  Breakside Brewery’s Spent Grains & Bacon S’mores. Strangely enough, these eccentric flavors have attracted the minds of Californians and Oregonians alike. They have praise from local Portland reviews, and all the way to The Wall Street Journal itself. The place itself can be crowded, but the wait is worth it when ice cream is on the line. Salt and Straw will be a definite location for a Portlander to visit in the summer.


This brings us to the third recommendation on the list, the brainchild of Salt and Straw, but with one twist: everything is in soft serve form. Just when you thought Portland’s businesses couldn’t come up with any more ideas, Salt and Straw put out its best one yet, Wiz Bang Bar. Not only do they serve soft serve ice cream, but they also serve sundaes with crazy flavors just like their Salt and Straw counterpart. Wiz Bang Bar puts a twist on the previous twist on the world of ice cream. The bar also serves hand dipped cones to help with flavor. Plus, this is the only location for a Wiz Bang Bar, Portland exclusive. This is a gift to Portland; it’s best we use it like one.


As the fourth recommendation on our list, we have Cloud City Ice Cream. A small,Portland favorite, this ice cream business was made as a tribute to the owner’s mother, who passed away from cancer a day before the lease for the building was signed. On a more positive note, the establishment is doing better than they ever could have hoped. They a wide variety of flavors, from the classics  to many unique choices. This would be a good ice cream place for a newcomer to Portland, who could choose the flavor freely, but also has some room to explore their options. Cloud City’s ingredients are natural and untouched, giving it an edge towards anti-GMO critics and customers alike.They have permanent flavors as well as seasonal ones, so they keep their customers anxious for the new flavors year round.


Last but certainly not least, in our fifth spot recommendation is Ruby Jewel. This joint serves something we don’t see enough of, ice cream sandwiches. It is hard to believe how often we forget about the cold s’more of America, as it is mainly sold off to the side by the big retail corps, but with Portland comes new ideas, and this place hit the mark. They have a website, which showcases their ingredients and the places they come from, for those of us who are extra skeptical. Their flavor selection isn’t as broad as the others, but the cookies they serve the ice cream between are. With the idea of ice cream sandwiches comes a high contrast and creative combos between ice cream and cookie. Ruby Jewel is worthy of to check out this summer.


This brings us to the end of the list. You now have a smorgasbord of different shops to choose from, each with a central style of ice cream to offer. All five have been praised for their creativity, and success as businesses. Visiting these places will definitely make your summer experience better as a whole. Ice cream is a staple of America, and Portland puts a new twist on it.