Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Who screams for ice cream? November 19, 2018

I’ve never been to Conny’s Creamy Cone, just noticed it recently while enroute to Como Park. The shop, open from March to October, is on the corner of Dale Street and Maryland Avenue in St. Paul. It features 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream and a menu that includes burgers, cheese curds, onion rings and much more. Have you ever been here? Spotting this shop inspired this post.


SEASONAL ICE CREAM SHOPS have mostly shuttered here in Minnesota as demand drops with the onset of cold and snow. Or does it? I still eat ice cream from November – March. Straight from a carton in my freezer into a bowl onto a spoon and into my mouth. Yum.


The Betty, Cool Mint Flavor Burst ice cream, crème de mint and Oreos flurried together, then topped with whipped cream, and served at The S’Cream in Owatonna, one of my favorite ice cream shops. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo April 2016.


As much as I enjoy ice cream at home, I also enjoy the occasional stop at an ice cream shop once those businesses re-open around April 1, depending. There’s just something about standing outside a walk-up window, scanning the choices and choosing a treat to welcome spring or to cool down on a humid summer day that makes me happy. You know, the kid with an ice cream cone kind of happiness, although I seldom choose a cone. I prefer a shake or something more complex.


Lots of dogs waiting in line with their owners at Blast Softserve. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo April 2014.


I also prefer homegrown ice cream shops with creative names for both business and offerings to chain anything. Ditto for restaurants. I want to experience a sense of place by dining at original, hometown eateries.


One of my favorite area bakeries, Franke’s Bakery in Montgomery. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2013.


I like small town bakeries, too. And craft breweries.


Long lines formed to the two serving windows at Blast Softserve, 206 West Rose St., Owatonna. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo April 2014.


None of this should come as a surprise if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile. I delight in exploring small towns, discovering that which defines the character of a community and makes it memorable. It could be a sign, architecture, a person, an event… Or a sweet little ice cream shop.


Serving up a cone at The Whippy Dip in Decorah, Iowa. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2013.


TELL ME: What’s your favorite homegrown ice cream shop?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Who screams for ice cream?”

  1. Oh Whippy Dip is the best! My friend Val of Corn Beans Pigs and Kids does an ice cream tour every summer with her kids and Whippy Dip is always at the top of their list!

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    There is (or was) a wonderful little ice cream shop in Lake City that carried what seemed like a thousand varieties of jelly beans. I used to say to my kids, “I’m feeling like ice cream” to which they would respond, “Lake City, Lake City, pleeeeeeease.”

  3. jhc1218 Says:

    Ice cream is enjoyed year round for us, as well. My grandma Helen always had pick peppermint stick ice cream on hand over the holidays, and she left us eat from the fancy ice cream bowls.
    We’ve spend many summer evenings at Conny’s when we lived in St. Paul. Jason introduced the girls to it a few years ago, and now we stop at least once a year. Our other favorites are the Dairy Delite in Lakeville and Schoolhouse Scoop in Hastings.

    • Thanks for those tips on great ice cream spots, Jocelyn.

      I especially love, though, that memory of your Grandma Helen’s pink peppermint stick ice cream served in those fancy bowls. Those are the “little” things that connect us to those we love. Traditions.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    Sweet memories of many Sunday afternoon family drives (as a child) and the much anticipated stop for an ice cream cone. Absolutely no eating in the car so moments spent sitting in adjacent grassy areas, perhaps under a cool tree canopy, trying to catch all those quickly forming drips that chased one another down the outside of the cone. I cannot tell you which is sweeter……the memory or the frozen treat!!!! …..sigh……..

  5. Jackie Says:

    Oh how I love ice cream. Next time you are in Rochester, stop by and pick us up and we will go to “Flapdoodles”. 24 yummy flavors of homemade ice cream. They also make their own waffle cones. Here’s the website if you want to check it out. https://www.flapdoodlesicecream.com/flavors/

  6. Brenda Boone Says:

    I bought a house in my 20s before I got married and Conny’s Creamy Cone was my local ice cream spot! My family and eventually Mike and other friends all came to know about it when they visited! I loved that it was also a happy gathering place for the neighborhood with families and dogs and elderly couples and sometimes teams just finished with a game at a local ball field! Everyone was there enjoying their favorite flavor! God bless ice cream shops everywhere!

  7. Valerie Says:

    New ice cream shops to try. Thanks Audrey!

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