10 must-visit Milwaukee-area ice cream parlors, ice cream, ice cream

The weather is slowly starting to warm up, which means more Milwaukee-area residents will soon be craving a cold treat this summer.

There are several local options for those looking to snack on ice cream, ice cream, or gelato in the area. Here are 10 we recommend.

Kopp's has been a popular place to get ice cream since it opened in the 1950s.

Kopp Ice Cream

Greenfield, Brookfield, Glendale

Kopp’s, arguably the best-known frozen custard store in the Milwaukee area, was founded in 1950 by Elsa Kopp, after whom the store is named. The first store opened in 1951 at North 60th Street and West Appleton Avenue in Milwaukee. This location has since closed, but there are still three Kopps left, in Brookfield, Glendale and Greenfield.

Kopp’s was the first frozen custard stand to offer a special flavor of the day; soon enough, many other stores in the area followed suit.

The shop had been successful enough by the 1960s that Elsa felt comfortable experimenting with more unique ice cream flavors and recipes. Now popular flavors include butter pecan, turtle sundae, blueberry cheesecake, and black raspberry.

Kopps, also known for its burgers, also offers a shake and sundae each month.

Learn more at kopps.com.

Locations and times:

  • 7631 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • 18880 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • 5373 N. Port Washington Road, Glendale, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A customer places an order at the walk-in window of Le Duc's Frozen Custard at 240 Summit Ave.  in Wales.

LeDuc Ice Cream

Wales

LeDuc’s Frozen Custard, which opened in 1980, has become a popular stop in Waukesha County for ice cream lovers. The custard recipe the company uses now is the same recipe used when LeDuc first opened.

Three flavors are available each day – chocolate, vanilla and a rotating list of around 75 flavors of the day. Real fruit is used for fruit-flavored custards like the Raspberry Cookie, which features raspberry custard and Oreos.

The company also offers packaged custard, available in pints and pints.

Learn more at leducscustard.com.

The business is located at 240 W. Summit Ave, Wales, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Oscar's Frozen Custard & Sandwiches opened in 1984 in West Allis.  It has a location in Waukesha and opened a third location in 2017 in Franklin.

Oscar’s frozen custard and sandwiches

Waukesha, West Allis, Franklin

Jim Taylor opened the first Oscar at West Allis in a converted barn in 1984 with his uncle. Today, Oscar’s has expanded to two more locations, Waukesha and Franklin.

The cones are made daily at each location with a secret recipe. Oscar’s offers vanilla, chocolate and a special flavor every day. You can also get traditional sundaes like hot fudge, caramel, chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch, raspberry and more.

If you’re up to it, you can try Oscar’s Mountain, which features seven scoops of chocolate and vanilla custard topped with caramel, marshmallows, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, Oreos, crushed nuts, chocolate flakes, bananas, whipped cream and cherries.

Learn more at oscarscustard.com.

Locations and times:

  • 2362 S 108th St., West Allis
  • 7041 S. 27th St., Franklin
  • 21165 Highway 18, Waukesha
  • All locations are open 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Danette Bugs-Janik, owner of Lee's Dairy Treat, stands outside her store at 14040 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield.

Lee’s Dairy Treat

Brookfield

Lee’s Dairy Treat celebrated 50 years in business in 2020. The family-friendly stand offers an extensive menu of sundaes, floats, shakes, malts, cones, homemade chili, BBQ sandwiches and more.

It opens for the season towards the end of winter each year. The first person to purchase an item on opening day receives their picture on the wall and a free sundae every month.

Customers can purchase several flavors of ice cream in the octagon-shaped building, which also includes ice cream cone-shaped trash cans.

Learn more at leesdairytreat.com.

The booth is at 14040 W. Greenfield Ave, Brookfield. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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Ryan (left) and Justin Povlick, owners of Scratch Ice Cream, open their first storefront in Brookfield.

Scratch ice

Milwaukee, Brookfield (coming soon)

Scratch Ice Cream, which already has a location inside Crossroads Collective and Zocalo Food Park in Milwaukee, is opening its first physical store in Brookfield this summer.

The Milwaukee-based company is co-owned by Ryan and Justin Povlick. Scratch offers over 20 ice cream flavors including Cold Brew and Toffee, Salted Caramel Waffle Cone, Door County Cherry and more. It will also sell soft serve sundaes, milkshakes and malts at the new Brookfield location.

You can also buy Scratch ice cream, including vegan flavors, at more than 20 area grocery stores and restaurants.

Learn more about the Brookfield branch opening date at scratchicecream.com.

Locations and times:

  • 2238 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • 636 S. 6th St., Milwaukee, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
A few frozen custard fans brave the freezing weather for busy ice cream at Leon's Custard on South 27th Street.

Leon’s Ice Cream

Milwaukee

Ron Schneider’s father, Leon, opened the Leon’s Frozen Custard stand in 1942 at South 27th Street and West Oklahoma Avenue. They updated the building in the 1950s to what it looks like today.

Now, long lines can be seen most summer nights outside this Milwaukee mainstay.

Leon’s daily flavors are vanilla, chocolate, buttered pecan and one flavor of the day, which is either strawberry, raspberry, mint, maple nut or cinnamon. In 2021, the store added its new flavor: Blue Moon.

Learn more at leonsfrozencustard.us

The Custard Stand is at 3131 S. 27th St, Milwaukee, open 11 a.m. to midnight daily

What was vacant land in downtown Port Washington is now landscaped land that houses Frankie's Ice Cream, a seasonal stand operating out of a vintage Airstream trailer.  The lot has picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and a lawn for sitting.

Frankie’s ice cream

Port Washington

Frankie’s Ice Cream kicked off its third season in the heart of Port Washington this year. The company serves 11 flavors of Wisconsin Cedar Crest ice cream from a 1969 Airstream Safari on a downtown lot.

Customers can sit at picnic tables or Adirondack chairs and can order donut sundaes (six minis, 1½ scoops, two toppings, and whipped cream) and Jolly Good soda-based floats of Wisconsin.

Learn more at meetmeatfrankies.com.

The store is at 313 N. Franklin St., Port Washington, open from noon to 8 p.m. daily

Divino Gelato Cafe at 227 West Main Street in Waukesha WI.

Divino Gelato Coffee

Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Waukesha

Divino Gelato has been selling gelato, also known as Italian ice cream, to Milwaukee area residents for nearly 20 years.

Divino was started in 2003 in downtown Waukesha by Lori Lester. She added a boutique in downtown Racine in 2012 and one in Brookfield Square in 2013. The business also expanded to Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa in 2017.

Gelato flavors include almond, coffee, candy cane, vanilla bean, mint oreo, and several others. The cafe also sells several flavors of sorbetto.

Learn more at divinogelatocafe.com.

Locations and times:

  • 227 W. Main St., Waukesha, open 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • 95 N. Moorland Road, Brookfield (Brookfield Square Mall), 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm Sunday.
  • 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa (Mayfair Mall), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
One cone contains Purple Door Ice Cream raspberry chocolate chips.

Ice door purple

Milwaukee, Mechon

Purple Door Ice Cream started in 2011, manufacturing ice cream for wholesale accounts such as Sendik’s Markets and Metro Market. Owners Lauren and Steve Schultz opened a retail store in 2012 in Milwaukee. And in 2018, the business expanded to Mequon Public Market.

The shop offers several unique flavors including Nutella Brownie Blast, Purple Moon, Cream Cheese, Lemon Blueberry and more. They also offer vegan flavors.

Learn more at purpledooricecream.com.

Locations and times:

  • 205 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee. Open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from noon to 9 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
  • 6300 W. Mequon Road, Mequon (Mequon Public Market). Open daily from noon to 8 p.m.
Bubba's Frozen Custard is under new ownership with Mike Brown and his wife Nicole taking over from Mike's uncle Tim in August.

Bubba’s Ice Cream

Pewaukee

Bubba’s opened in 1998 in Pewaukee. It has been a favorite of Lake Country residents ever since.

Popular custard flavors include black raspberry, blue moon, and thin mint cookie.

Learn more at bubbasfrozencustard.com.

The company is located at 1276 Capitol Drive, Pewaukee. Open every day, from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Evan Casey can be reached at 414-403-4391 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ecaseymedia.

About Thomas B. Countryman

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