All the Delicious Ways We’re Cooling Off This Summer

Cold, creamy, cosmically refreshing treats are absolutely essential right now.

Ice Cream:

Cone brothers Ryan and Justin Povlick are thick in the summer of fulfilling dairy dreams. Not only did they just open Scratch Ice Cream kitchen and scoop shop in Brookfield (2205 N. Calhoun Rd.), they’ve also churned out some new products – a line of cheesecake flavors sold in pints at local stores like Woodman’s and Sendik’s, plus an expansion of their vegan offerings. If you’re a scoop shop kind of person – and who isn’t? – you can also pick up a cone from Scratch’s other locations, at Crossroads Collective food hall (2238 N. Farwell Ave.) and Zócalo Food Truck Park (636 S. Sixth St.). 

Scratch Ice Cream; Photo by Tom Grimm



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Icy pops-on-a-stick are serious licking nostalgia territory for me. You’ll find some excellent pops in bright, refreshing flavors like mango, coconut, watermelon and horchata at Paleteria Yayo, the small corner shop filled with freezer chests stocked with individually wrapped pops. Delicious! (1727 W. Lincoln Ave.)

Photo by Chelsea Mamerow

Frozen Custard:

You can’t get more wanton – or Wisconsin – than frozen custard, and while it’s impossible to deny the institutional greatness of Leon’s (3131 S. 27th St.) and Kopp’s, there’s an allure to a little guy like Fred’s in Washington Heights (4726 W. Vliet St.). With a history that dates to 1967 – and new owners since 2019 – this joint operates seasonally and serves up a mean vanilla-chocolate twist cone. This place sends me hurtling back to long-ago summers, living in a swimsuit, fighting over the only fan in the house and trying to get every lick of this so-coveted confection before the heat sends it all to the pavement.

Fred’s frozen custard; Photo by Jami Balicki

More Spots to Get All Dairy-ed Up: 

Divino Gelato Café 

The Italian-inspired gelato – a typically lower-fat cousin of ice cream – made here is satiny and sweet, dense but not heavy. And it comes in a ton of flavors, from pistachio to amaretto. (Four locations

Purple Door Ice Cream 

The Walker’s Point location is often mobbed on summer nights, but I’ll gladly wait in line for a scoop of mint chip or butter pecan. (Three scoop shops)


I gotta tip my sun visor to this local outfit, which makes frozen custard in small batches at 3rd Street Market Hall. I don’t often just want a scoop of vanilla, but here that’s exactly the simplicity I crave. But you also can’t go wrong with the flavor of the day, from carrot cake to crunchberry. (275 W. Wisconsin Ave.) 


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s July Issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.