There’s few family traditions as time-honored as going out for ice cream, and if you’re from around here, you’re probably more likely to go out for frozen custard (yes – there’s a difference, and yes – it matters what you call it).
No matter what type of creamy, frozen treat you crave, there are plenty of places where kids (and parents) can get their fix. We sorted them by type to make it even easier!
Let’s get one thing straight – frozen custard is NOT ice cream, and every good Milwaukeean knows it. Though the two are very similar (made with cream and sugar), frozen custard has one key ingredient that ice cream doesn’t – egg yolks! The result is a denser, richer, sweet treat to tickle your taste buds.
18880 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield, WI 53045
5373 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale, WI 53217
7631 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, WI 53220
A local landmark, this local frozen custard chain has not one but TWO flavors of the day. We dare you to pick only one! Their locations are in Brookfield, Glendale and Greenfield.
7515 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213
Wisconsin’s oldest, continuously running, fast food restaurant has been in business since 1938, and it’s still going strong! They serve frozen custard, hot sandwiches, fries, onion rings and specialty custard cakes and pies.
Leon’s Frozen Custard
3131 S. 27th St., Milwaukee, WI 53215
This classic, 1950s-style drive-in has been around since 1942. It’s family-owned and famous for its house-made frozen custard, milkshakes and other fast-food eats.
Oscar’s Frozen Custard
Frozen custard shops are always a safe bet for kid-friendly cuisine in the Milwaukee area, and Oscar’s delivers at three different locations. The Franklin location has a model train setup that will delight young children.
Buddy’s Burgers and Custard
1345 S. West Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186
Burgers, custard and more on Sunset Drive in Waukesha.
Fred’s Frozen Custard & Grill
4726 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee, WI 53208
A Milwaukee tradition since 1967, Fred’s menu offers made-to-order burgers, sandwiches and sides alongside frozen custard and sundaes.
Dairyland Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard & Hamburgers
3rd St. Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203
Central Waters Brewing Co., 1037 W. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233
Proudly serving old-fashioned frozen custard and hamburgers from the heart of America’s Dairyland. There are two locations in downtown Milwaukee – 3rd Street Market and Central Waters Brewing Co.
8333 W. Appleton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53218
Frozen custard, gelato, sorbet, slushies, burgers, pizza, wings and more – this place has it all!
Big Deal Burgers & Custard
1440 S. 84th St., West Allis, WI 53214
Home of creative custard flavors include Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet! Located in West Allis on 84th and Greenfield, across from State Fair Park.
Murf’s Frozen Custard & Jumbo Burgers
12505 Burleigh Rd., Brookfield, WI 53005
(262) 814-6873 (MURF)
The frozen custard here is made fresh throughout the day. Choose from thick malts and shakes to specialty floats and sundaes with all kinds of toppings. Get a single scoop of custard to eat now or a half-gallon to take home.
S73W16770 Janesville Rd., Muskego, WI 53150
What began as a food truck in 2019 is now a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Muskego. A contemporary twist on the burger and custard tradition, Milk Can has supper club roots and deep ties to the Midwest.
240 W. Summit Ave., Wales, WI 53183
Choose from chocolate, vanilla and flavor-of-the-day selected from an ever-growing list of about 75 different flavors. Packaged custard is available in pints and quarts, and custard pies may be ordered for your special event. Located three miles south of 94 at the intersection of Highway 83 and 18, they also have an extensive menu of burgers, sandwiches, soups, appetizers and more.
1276 Capitol Dr., Pewaukee, WI 53072
Founded in October 1998, Bubba’s is one of the “newer” frozen custard joints on this list. They proudly serve fresh frozen custard, handcrafted shakes and malts and custom, flame-broiled, 1/3-lb. jumbo burgers. They also are focused on giving back to the local community, supporting Pewaukee Youth Baseball, the local Firefighters Auxiliary, the Pewaukee 4th of July Celebration, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin and numerous local charities and events each year through fundraisers and donations.
637 Main St., Delafield, WI 53018
A neighborhood favorite for almost 30 years, Wholly Cow started as a small walk up ice-cream shop before turning into a full frozen custard restaurant with indoor seating and a gift shop. It’s a family-owned business that does what it can to support the Delafield community.
N87 W16459 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Old-fashioned counter-serve burger joint with ice cream, sundaes, malts and a homespun vibe.
N112W16040 Mequon Rd., Germantown, WI 53022
A contemporary eatery with outdoor picnic tables, Robert’s has a larger-than-average food menu and a guest-first policy.
N88W15325 Main St., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Besides custard made fresh every day, Kraverz also offers never-frozen burgers, top-grade gyro meat, and and service with a smile.
N71W5184 Columbia Rd., Cedarburg, WI 53012
Hefner’s Custard opened its doors in 1995 in Cedarburg, WI. Founder Tom Holubowicz, a product of Milwaukee’s north side, started his custard career working at the original Kopp’s Custard, learning his trade under the one and only Karl Kopp. Over the next two decades, Hefner’s became a cornerstone in the Cedarburg community. Tom passed away in 2017, but his son and daughter took over the family business as second-generation owners, and they’ve kept the tradition alive.
675 Grand Ave., Hartford, WI 53027
This retro drive-in style restaurant offers outdoor seating, oldies tunes, and easy carryout. Fresh custard is made daily (vanilla, chocolate and daily flavor), and the menu includes sandwiches and burgers made with locally raised beef.
Soft-serve frozen custard, burgers, fries, onion rings, chicken sandwiches, and much, much more – all at an iconic drive-in custard stand!
Ted’s Ice Cream & Restaurant
6204 W North Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213
A family-owned restaurant specializing in breakfast, burgers, fish fries and homemade frozen custard.
Ferch’s Beachside Grille
100 Oak Creek Parkway, Greendale, WI 53172
Heading to Grant Park for a beach day? Don’t forget to stop by this restaurant for burgers, frozen custard, and adult beverages. There’s live music every Friday, and you can rent chairs, umbrellas and kayaks there as well.
Georgie Porgie’s Treefort
9555 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek, WI 53154
A family-friendly restaurant with burgers and fresh frozen custard.
ARTISAN ICE CREAM
These local artisans are churning up some of the most delectable batches of ice cream. We’re proud to call them Milwaukee’s own!
In April of 2011, less than a year after having their first son, Lauren and Steve Schultz launched Purple Door Ice Cream in their Bay View home kitchen. Purple Door began solely as a wholesale business, selling pints of ice cream to local grocers and large sized containers to area restaurants. Today, they also have a retail location in Walker’s Point, where you can find 20 innovative flavors of ice cream in scoops, shakes, sundaes, pints, sandwiches, pops, cakes and more. Be sure to peek through the 2nd Street window, and you might catch a glimpse of ice cream being made in the production kitchen.
Scratch Scoop Shop
2238 N. Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202
Zocalo Food Truck Park
636 S. 6th St. Milwaukee, WI 53204
Handcrafted in small batches, Scratch Ice Cream is scooped in 10 delicious flavors at their Crossroads Collective shop, and from a camper parked permanently at Zocalo Food Truck Park 9 months a year. You can also get ice cream sandwiches and take-home pints.
W189S7835 Racine Ave., Muskego, WI 53150
Homemade ice cream made with the best ingredients on earth. They scoop 20 different flavors, rotating out new and seasonal options every day. When you can’t decide which flavor you want, tasting flights are the way to go!
W62 N601 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, WI 53012
This Cedarburg deli serves up brats and hot dogs with various toppings, as well as a chicken salad wrap. However, their claim to fame is their homemade ice cream and custard. At least a dozen different flavors are available and changing daily, including a couple of vegan options.
Everyone’s Ice Cream
8125 W. National Ave., West Allis, WI 53214
This ice cream collective in West Allis scoops a selection of rotating flavors from five locally-based artisan creameries, including Purple Door, Sweet Tooth Grin and Scratch. Can’t decide on one flavor? No problem! Try a flight with six different scoops!
ICE CREAM PARLORS
Hand-scooped frozen goodness in all your favorite flavors. What’s your answer to the age-old question: “Cone or dish?”
Churned in small batches right in Manitowoc, Cedar Crest ice cream is a popular Wisconsin brand (not to mention the originator of Elephant Tracks). Many local parlors that offer hand-dipped (scooped) ice cream exclusively offer some of Cedar Crest’s 80 flavors, such as Super Madness, Caramel Collision and Blue Moon. Here are some local establishments where you can get Cedar Crest ice cream in a cone or a dish:
- Pizza Shuttle (Milwaukee)
- Dairy Store – Milwaukee County Zoo (Milwaukee)
- Ultimate Confections (Wauwatosa)
- RJ’s Ice Cream (Elm Grove)
- Moorland Road Golf Center (New Berlin)
- Downtown Pizza (Thiensville)
- Bear Country – Jellystone Park (Caledonia)
- 7 Mile Fair (Caledonia)
- Missing Links (Mequon)
- Wayne’s Drive-In (Cedarburg)
- Frankie’s (Port Washington)
Babe’s Ice Cream
2264 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View, WI
Family owned since 2005, Babe’s Ice Cream is a seasonal ice cream shop located in the heart of Bay View. They rotate up to 110 flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Super Premium ice cream. They also offer no sugar added, Italian ice, non-fat Greek yogurt, caffeinated sherbet and non-dairy soy-based ice cream. There’s truly something for everyone! They also sell ice cream cakes in a variety of flavors and sizes.
234 W. Main St., Waukesha, WI 53186
Besides hand-crafted chocolates and nostalgic candies, Allo! also scoops Chocolate Shoppe ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth.
S. 35th St., Milwaukee, WI 53215
3142 S. 13th St., Milwaukee, WI 53215
1332 W Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53215
717 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
1937 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204
Mexican-style ice cream made with natural ingredients.
OUT OF THE ORDINARY
These places do ice cream just a little bit differently – and we dig it!
Don’s TV & Repair
1100 S. 1st St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
One of Milwaukee’s best kept secrets, this speakeasy operates under the guise of an outdated TV and repair shop on the southeast side. The interior features nostalgic 90s décor like vintage electronic, Nintendo and other retro brands. They serve dinner and all-day breakfast, but the real hit is the build-your-own milkshakes (including boozy ones for the parents), topped off with a vintage treats (e.g., Hostess Twinkie). Learn how to snag an access code >>
Better Together Café
1301 N. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Owned by a husband-and-wife team with three small kids, the Better Together Café is half espresso bar, half milkshake bar. The milkshakes are over-the-top and Instagram worthy, topped off with sprinkles, flavored syrups, whipped cream, cakes, cookies, vintage candies and more. They also have a mobile cafe that you can hire for your next event.
3809 W Vliet St, Milwaukee, WI 53208
916 E Russell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
1977 S 71st St, West Allis, WI 53219
This popsicle company makes more than 100 unique flavors of pops and ice cream bars from all natural ingredients, including some really interesting flavor combinations! They often pop up at local events, but you can also find them at the addresses listed above.
AM Ice Cream
1234 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172
This family-owned and operated small business specializes in rolled ice cream and bubble waffle ice cream. They offer a variety of flavors and toppings, as well as hand-scooped Cedar Crest ice cream and Hawaiian shaved ice.
Paparazzi Ice Cream Shop
6235B N. Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53209
5121A Douglas Ave., Racine, WI 53402
Signature rolled ice cream that’s fun to watch being made! Fun topping options include fruit, candy bars, Oreos, Fruity Pebbles, gummy bears and more.
1804 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202
1133 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53203
2217 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207
This bakery chain specializes in warm cookies and ice cream – and combining the two into delicious ice cream sandwiches! Best of all, they stay open later than most ice cream shops.
You can’t go wrong with a time-honored, nationally popular classic!
With nearly 30 locations in the Milwaukee area alone, this iconic frozen custard and ButterBurger chain has cemented its place in the Midwest. Choose from chocolate, vanilla or the special flavor of the day – which varies at each location – or grab a Concrete Mixer with your favorite mix-ins. It’s also a great place to nosh on some cheese curds or grab a fish fry.
The Chocolate Factory
W62 N577 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, WI 53012
3230 Golf Rd., Delafield, WI 53018
13475 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove, WI 53122
7963 S. Main St., Oak Creek, WI 53154
1077 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc, WI 53066
161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, WI 53072
2120 E. Moreland Boulevard, Waukesha, WI 53186
1402 S. Main Street, West Bend, WI 53095
This local chain offers fresh subs with warm crusty rolls and fresh, premium ingredients, plus a delicious homemade mayonnaise. Top it off with local Wisconsin ice cream or choose from a variety of sundaes. (If you love The Chocolate Factory, be sure to visit the airy Pewaukee location right along the beach on Pewaukee Lake.)
622 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
1417 N. Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
8820 N. Port Washington Rd., Bayside, WI 53217
5100 W. Rawson Ave., Franklin, WI 53132
W190 S7797 Racine Ave., Muskego, WI 53150
249 State Hwy 164, Sussex, WI 53089
A colorful ice cream parlor chain known for its many flavors, plus sorbet and yogurt.
Cold Stone Creamery
2935 S. 108th St., West Allis, WI 53227
This ice cream chain offers design-your-own creations that are hand-mixed on a cold, granite slab. There’s only one location left in the Milwaukee area, and it’s on Highway 100 in West Allis.
Soft serve is very similar to ice cream, but what makes it different is that air is introduced during the freezing process. It’s also usually dispensed directly from the machine that freezes it. The ice cream you order from most fast food restaurants – like McDonald’s and Dairy Queen – is soft serve.
2378 N. Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53206
A Milwaukee staple for more than 30 years, this Black-owned neighborhood ice cream shop also serves up wings, hot dogs and nachos.
Lee’s Dairy Treat
14040 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield, WI 53005
An octagon-shaped building with ice cream cone-shaped garbage cans, Lee’s is a retro place serving 96% fat free soft serve. There are 40 different toppings you can add to your sundae, shake, malt, or blitz. Lee’s also offers a variety of lunch and dinner entrees, including a homemade Bar-B-Que beef sandwich and made-to-order French fries.
In Italian, “gelato” is the common word for “ice cream.” In English, it refers to a frozen dessert that is specifically Italian. In Italy, gelato typically contains 6–9% butter fat, which is lower than other types of ice cream.
5924 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, WI 53208
Cocoa Tree Confectionery
1330 West Mequon Road, Mequon, WI 53092
Divino Gelato Café
Brookfield Square Mall, 95 N. Moorland Rd., Brookfield, WI 53005
Mayfair Mall, 2500 N. Mayfair Rd. #6510, Wauwatosa, WI 53226
227 W. Main St., Waukesha, WI 53186
162 E. Wisconsin Ave. #3034, Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Zaffiro’s (Marcus Ridge Cinema)
5200 South Moorland Road, New Berlin, WI 53151
Frozen yogurt is made with yogurt and sometimes other dairy and non-dairy products. So unlike ice cream, it contains live bacterial cultures. Many “fro-yo” places typically have a variety of tasty toppings to choose from.
2203 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
My Yo My!
100 S. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
4874 S. 74th St., Greenfield, WI 53220
Carroll University Campus Center, 101 N. East Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186
Smart Cow Yogurt Bar
N91W17271 Appleton Ave. #3, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Southridge Mall, 5300 S. 76th St., Greendale, WI 53129
YoFresh Yogurt Cafe
8701 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek, WI 53154
1349 N. Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Did you like this article?