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Ice cream best bets on Long Island

The "Monster Mash" sundae with chocolate ice cream,

The "Monster Mash" sundae with chocolate ice cream, broken waffle cone, caramel, fudge, peanut butter sauce and marshmallows at Coyle's in Bay Shore. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Ice cream season couldn't come soon enough in 2021, and some of us were walking down the street enjoying a cone even before the forsythias bloomed. No matter where you are on Long Island, you're never far from homemade ice cream, and here's a sampling of independent shops that make it.

NASSAU

Five Pennies Creamery (11 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre): Opened in 2010, Five Pennies looks to the past with egg creams (made with Fox's U-Bet and seltzer from old-fashioned siphons), soft-serve Coney Island custard and Italian fruit ices that are used, in turn, to create the store's signature Cyclone (after the roller coaster), in which the custard and ices are layered in a symphony of delectably cold sweetness. More info: 516-608-4344, fivepenniescreameryny.com

Frozen Cow Ices and Cream (300 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach): It took some serious scoops to open an ice cream store a block away from Lido Beach's Marvel, but the owners of Frozen Cow have an entirely different approach. The emphasis is on inventive flavors such as sea-salt caramel, and a breakfast special, made with maple syrup and bits of bacon and Belgian waffles. More info: 516-665-3997, frozencowicesandcream.com

Hildebrandt's (84 Hillside Ave., Williston Park): At this Long Island institution, founded in 1927 and looking pretty much as it must have back then, ice-cream flavors come and go but might include root-beer rock 'n' roll, chocolate-mint wafer, black raspberry, crème brûlée, bananas Foster and lemon-meringue pie. Or chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. Try the old-fashioned "flatcar," ice cream on pound cake, topped with chocolate fudge. A newer innovation is the sundae shot: a 2-ounce shot glass with your choice of ice cream and sauce, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles or nuts. More info: 516-741-0608, hildebrandtsrestaurant.com

International Delight Cafe (322 Bedford Ave., Bellmore): The frozen treat here falls somewhere between ice cream and gelato. Like gelato, there's very little air whipped into it, but most of the flavors have a fat content (12% or more) that put them in the ice-cream category. Flavors are numerous and Baroque, as are the frozen desserts made with them. More info: 516-409-5772, idcbellmore.com

International Delight Cafe (241 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre): This Rockville Centre landmark has a history that goes back to the 1950s when it was a link in the venerable Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor chain. Now under separate ownership from the Bellmore location, it has been given a new, contemporary look by the Kerning family. But it’s still scooping dozens of flavors of gelato and making sundaes, shakes and sodas. More info: 516-766-7557, internationalrvc.com

Henry's Confectionery (8 Glen St., Glen Cove): Henry's has been serving Glen Cove residents since 1929. For years, the store was owned by the Wolke family; Joseph Valensisi bought it in 2000 and has continued the tradition of classic luncheonette fare and homemade ice cream. Lemon custard is a flavor you'll find nowhere else but at Henry's. More info: 516-671-3222, henryssweetshoppe.com

Krisch's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour (11 Central Ave., Massapequa): Krisch's classic ice cream recipes, such as toasted almond and coconut, have hardly changed in 60 years. The chocolate is sweet, straightforward and kid-friendly; newer flavors include pralines and cream, peanut butter cup, Fluffer Nutter (marshmallow and peanut butter) and chocolate-covered strawberry. More info: 516-797-3149

Hicksville Sweet Shop (75 Broadway, Hicksville): The unassuming shop is a throwback to that pre-Baskin-Robbins era, when luncheonettes made their own ice cream, sauces and syrups as well as candies and molded chocolates. (A 2020 renovation brought the place a bit further into the 20th century.) Phillip and Eva Zouros, who have owned it since 1974, not only make their own ice cream, but also their own syrups. The chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup make for outstanding malteds and sodas. More info: 516-931-0130

Marvel Frozen Dairy (258 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach): Lido Beach's iconic Marvel ice cream stand got new owners in 2014, aside from a fresh coat of paint, the Fragioudakis family hasn't changed a thing. Folks still line up to get Marvel's signature brown bonnet, wherein a fully loaded cone or cup is upended and then dipped into a vat of melted chocolate that instantly hardens, forming a crisp shell. More info: 516-889-4232

Itgen's (211 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream): Itgen's serves what may be Long Island's best hot fudge. It's deep, dark and not too sweet, and, as is proper for hot fudge, it solidifies upon contact with ice cream. This is not to slight the homemade ice cream, hand-whipped cream or old-fashioned desserts such as the Flat Car (pound cake, ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream) and the Park Avenue (chocolate and lemon ice creams, sliced bananas, marshmallow sauce and whipped cream). In 2018, ownership passed from the Itgen family to Grace Zhao and Yan Zhang who have ever-so-slightly modernized the dining room but haven’t changed the food one bit. More info: 516-825-7444

Sweet Treats on the Wharf (405 Main St., Port Washington): In the nearly two decades that Douglas Shepardson has run Sweet Treats on the Wharf, he has produced most of the frozen desserts known to man: ice cream, soft serve, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, sorbet and shave ice, a Hawaiian specialty in which finely ground ice is topped with sweet, colorful, fruit-flavored syrup, resulting in a refreshing solid-going-slushy beverage. Buy a cup, then stroll onto Inspiration Wharf for one of the best views on the North Shore. . More info: 516-708-1706

Marshall's Ice Cream Bar (4276 Merrick Rd., Massapequa): Marshall's is the sweet rejoinder to the savory Massapequa landmark, All American Burger, that shares its parking lot. The building retains the look and feel of the Carvel it started as, in 1952, but this is an independently owned shop that makes its own ice cream. Marshall's makes a mean malted. More info: 516-798-9723

SUFFOLK

Coyle's: At locations in Bay Shore (75 Howell's Rd.) and Islip (509 Main St.), Coyle’s does not stick to the keep-it-simple school of ice-cream making. Kathy Manzione and John Proto took over from the Coyles in 2017 and they have only upped the ante on the 60 flavors (witness Mama K’s peanut butter and jelly, Al’s dirty banana) and concoctions such as the waffle-bowl sundaes and strawberry shortcake ice cream cake. But you can still get classic sodas, shakes, malteds and egg creams. More info: coylesicecream.com

Auntie Moe's Frozen Custard (42 Woodbine Ave., Northport): Maureen McGrath bought Wolfie's Frozen Custard in 2014, but last year she finally changed the shop's name to reflect the new ownership. What hasn't changed is the frozen custard, made with less fat and more egg than hard ice cream. McGrath makes about 30 flavors, 18 of which are scooped on any given day. Favorites include mud pie, German chocolate cake, chocolate-peanut butter and, in a break from the brown, English toffee. Available in cones, cups, sundaes, shakes and more. More info: 631-754-4850

Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen (2391 Main St., Bridgehampton): Little has changed at Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen since it opened in 1925, the ice cream is still homemade and fruit flavors, often made with local fruit in season, are a specialty. More info: 631-537-9885

Ice Cream Cottage (1590 Montauk Hwy., Mastic): John Pastore has been making ice cream at his little "cottage" in Mastic since 1980, serving ice cream in an unparalleled variety of cones including sugar, wafer, double wafer, waffle, chocolate waffle, chocolate chip, chocolate wafer, pretzel and M & M. Ice cream flavors include chocolate overdose (fudge, chips, brownies), black forest (black Bordeaux cherries and broken-up chocolate shell) and chocolate peanut-butter cup. More info: 631-395-3580, icecreamcottage.net

Greenport Creamery (142 Main St., Greenport): Since 1979, Sandpiper Ice Cream has kept Greenport in cups, cones and sundaes. In 2019, Lillian Stachtiaris, a Nassau pediatrician and the daughter of founders Lillian and Achilles Stachtiaris, renovated and relaunched the shop as Greenport Creamery, still serving homemade ice cream. Scheduled to open for 2021 on May 22. More info: 631-333- 2818, greenportcreamery.com

Ice Cream Social (1153 Jericho Tpke, Commack): The successor to Granny’s Ice Cream is owned by Rob McCue, a veteran chef whose innovative flavors include blueberry-lavender, lemon-poppyseed and Mexican hot chocolate (with chilies and cinnamon). It’s not only McCue’s imagination that runs wild, it’s his subconscious. "Sometimes a flavor will come to me in my dreams," he said. "And I can’t wait to get to the shop to make it." This was the case with strawberry-Oreo with marshmallow swirl, whereas pecan-maple-bacon was the product of his waking mind. Also on offer are vegan "ice cream," Dole Whip, the cult pineapple-flavored soft-serve, handmade chocolates and custom ice-cream cakes. More info: 631-543-7501, icecreamsocialli.com

Lics (74 Main St., Northport): Lics ("Little Ice Cream Store) has been making ice cream, gelato, ices and frozen yogurt for more than two decades. More recent developments include vegan offerings. More info: 631-757-9099, licsicecream.com

Milky Ways Ice Cream Cereal Bar: At locations in Huntington (22 Clinton Ave.), Coram (2229 Route 112) and Smith Haven Mall, placing an order requires a number of decisions. Do you want your "swirlz" in a cup or an artisanal Brooklyn Konery cone? Your ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry) will be scooped into a churning contraption along with one of 18 breakfast cereals and then one of the friendly crew will pump it out, soft-serve-style, into your chosen receptacle. At which point it’s time to choose your toppings (various fruits, nuts and candies) and drizzles (chocolate, grape, caramel, strawberry, honey, marshmallow and peanut butter). More info: milkywaysicecream.com

Magic Fountain (9825 Main Rd., Mattituck): This North Fork ice cream stalwart is famous for its unexpected flavors. The roster is long and changes frequently, but may include kulfi (an aromatic Indian confection), rainbow cookie, coconut jalapeño, olive oil or Grape-Nuts. Dairy-free varieties, such as vegan raspberry, are also available. More info: 631-298-4908, magicfountainlongisland.com

McNulty's Ice Cream Parlor (153 North County Rd., Miller Place): Opened in 1991, the shop's signature flavors include vanilla peanut butter, mint chunk, cherry vanilla, butter pecan, raspberry truffle and "moose tracks." A favorite: The Sand pail Sundae, that comes complete with shovel and rake, and a cherry on top. More info: 631-474-3543

Old Fashioned Ice Cream (1025 Straight Path West Babylon): This neighborhood mainstay has hard and soft ice cream, ice cream cakes and more. The banana ice cream is a standout. More info: 631-669-3020

Roger's Frigate (99 Main St., Port Jefferson): Roger's Frigate does it all: hard ice cream, soft serve ice cream, yogurt, candy, chocolates, gelato, popcorn, fudge, smoothies, cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels. For those seeking a slightly more restrained confection, there's the fruit cream blast, a combination of soft-serve vanilla ice cream and fruit sorbet blended — but not all the way — so you can discern the creaminess of the vanilla from the iciness of the sorbet. More info: 631-474-8888, portjeffersonfrigate.com

Star Confectionery (4 E. Main St., Riverhead): This landmark ice-cream parlor and luncheonette has been in the Meras family since 1920. The ice cream is made either by third-generation owner Anthony Meras or his father (also Anthony), who makes his own chocolate flavoring base with Hershey's cocoa powder. The result is clean and chocolaty, with a caramel undertone. More info: 631-727-9873

Snowflake (1148 West Main St., Riverhead): Snowflake's sundae flavors follow the North Fork's fruit harvest. The summer starts with strawberries and ends with peaches. Try either fresh-fruit topping with your favorite flavor ice cream from the list of classics or the flavor-of-the-week, or be a seasonal-fruit purist: strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce, peach with peach. More info: 631-727-4394, snowflakeicecream.com

Sip 'n' Soda Luncheonette (40 Hampton Rd., Southampton): This Southampton stalwart has been in the Parash family since 1958; little has changed since then. The four queens sundae features homemade chocolate syrup — a rarity — poured over four scoops of homemade ice cream, with whipped cream and a cherry. More info: 631-283-9752, sipnsoda.com

Northport Sweet Shop (55 Main St., Northport): In business since before World War II, this luncheonette's homemade ice cream is crafted into all sorts of old-fashioned concoctions such as "milk frosts" (a milkshake garnished with a scoop of ice cream) and French ice cream sodas (topped with fresh whipped cream). Also: a unique lemon custard and a sundae with divine hot fudge. More info: 631-261-3748, northportsweetshop.com

Strong Island Ice Cream (127 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset): Long Island's newest spot for homemade ice cream, Strong Island opened in late 2019. Its owner, Paul Cairo, used to be a partner at Krisch's in Massapequa and at the new shop he's making about 30 flavors of hard ice cream and plans to introduce soft serve soon. More info: 631-656-5930

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