Husband and wife Matt and Connie Brown may have opened their ice cream parlor in 2004, but the nostalgic menu and old-fashioned attitude will take you back several decades. Though the counter serves delicious desserts year-round, the neighborhood shop becomes a lively hangout during warmer months, with families, couples and groups of friends clustered around iron tables in the cheery storefront. A candy-striped back room is kid-friendly, stocked with toys and tot-size seating.
Get romantic by sticking two straws in a float that comes in flavors far beyond choc-vanilla. Thicken things up with a shake or malt, or go for broke with a pick from Brown Cow's list of specialty sundaes. It's all in the details with impressive recipes like the Strawberry Field, which sports wafer cookies, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and granola, or the Cinn-ful sundae, layering cinnamon caramel ice cream atop an apple crumb bar with the works. Purists can get their fix with the old-fashioned banana split, and anyone who's ever been seven years old will appreciate the Cup of Dirt, which pairs chocolate ice cream with crushed cookies, chocolate syrup and gummy worms. We've only heard rumors about what happens when someone actually orders The Trough, a $35 bonanza combining one scoop each of Brown Cow's 21 flavors under whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles and a cherry.
Brown Cow's all-natural ice creams boast 15.5 percent butterfat and low amounts of whipped-in air for an authentic, creamy richness. If your diet demands, though, you can always find several sugar-free, fat-free and even dairy-free options. Most treats ring up between $2-$5. Drinks include chocolate, vanilla and cherry Coke, organic hot cider and organic fair trade coffee.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger