Last summer, I got an e-mail from a reader named Jess about a place called Grandpa's Ice Cream in Fridley, a northern suburb of Minneapolis. She recommended that I check it out and mentioned that she enjoyed a great sorbet and an ice cream called Wildfire that was flavored with a mix of spearmint and hot pepper. It sounded intriguing, so I added Grandpa's to my list of restaurants to try—and I finally got around to it a few weeks ago. (In my defense, Grandpa's is closed over the winter, and COVID has thrown me for a loop over the past several months.)
Grandpa's Ice Cream is located in a strip mall, between a pizza place and a Chinese restaurant. The interior has a fun retro vibe, although as a COVID safety precaution, they don't currently offer indoor seating. However, there are a couple of outdoor benches and since the parking lot is nearby you can easily enjoy your ice cream in your car. Keep in mind that only two customers or families are allowed into the shop at a time to ensure proper social distancing.
In addition to standard cups and cones, the menu includes hand-dipped waffle cones, sampler boats with three or five mini scoops, specialty sundaes, shakes, malts, and build-your-own ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies and your choice of ice cream. There are also "crazy shakes" garnished with an elaborate array of toppings, and you can buy ice cream by the pint, quart, or tub.
Ice cream is made in-house, with a rotating selection of 24 flavors of ice cream and eight flavors of sorbet (including some non-dairy options). Current flavors are posted on the website daily. In addition to the Wildfire flavor that Jess recommended, there are unique options like elderflower with lemon biscuits, rum cherry, and lime basil sorbet. If you prefer the classics, there are also flavors such as strawberry, bubblegum, French vanilla, and cookies and cream.
Mike and I each ordered a three scoop sampler. He opted for salty caramel, Kahlua & coffee, and chai tea. Wildfire wasn't available, so I went with Zabaione Marsala (an Italian custard dessert), coffee & cookies, and fruits of the forest.
My favorite was the coffee & cookies—I loved the strong coffee flavor, and it paired well the Oreo cookie pieces. The Kahlua & coffee was a close runner up, also due to the excellent coffee notes. All of the flavors I tried were well composed and flavorful. The chai tea had a nice complexity, and I enjoyed the pronounced custard flavor and hint of wine in the Zabaione Marsala. The fruits of the forest flavor had a lovely bright fruitiness.
Texture-wise, all of the flavors had a lighter mouthfeel than many other local ice creams. It was quite creamy, but not extra rich (so maybe those crazy shakes are more manageable than they appear...)
The takeaway: I enjoyed the creative flavors at Grandpa's Ice Cream and am looking forward to trying more of them—next time I'm going with the five scoop sampler. Many thanks to reader Jess for the recommendation!
Grandpa's Ice Cream
1258 Moore Lake Drive E.
Fridley, MN 55432
This isn't a sponsored post—we paid for our ice cream out-of-pocket.
If you enjoyed this post, pin it!