9 North Carolina ice cream shops that offer unique flavors

9 North Carolina ice cream shops that offer unique flavors

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Ryan Pitkin

July 9, 2024

Break out from the chocolate and vanilla to cool off in style this summer. Here are nine ice cream shops in Carolina that offer funky flavors.

Here in North Carolina, we’ve already seen one “heat dome” affect the weather forecast this summer, and while that may be a new term to us, one thing is clear: We are in prime ice cream season. 

But all those traditional flavors can start to feel, well, vanilla at some point. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ice cream shops spread throughout the Tar Heel State where you can find flavors that you’re not likely to come across anywhere else. 

Venture out and find one near you for a different twist on America’s most beloved summer snack this season. 

Two Scoops Creamery

Five locations in the Charlotte Metro

Now operating out of five locations in the greater Charlotte area—including two just over the border in South Carolina—Two Scoops has come a long way since longtime friends Marques Johnson, Rich Moyer, and Jae Hatchett opened their first location in 2016. 

The menu at any of these locations can be overwhelming when you first take a look, but we guarantee you’ll find something that’s to your taste. Examples include Not Your Mama’s Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin pie ice cream with crust pieces, Oreos, chocolate sauce, and caramel swirl) and Twisted Raspberry (white chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels and raspberry sauce). 

Our Recommendation: Why So Cereal?

Cereal ice cream with Lucky Charms marshmallows, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries. 

Two Roosters Ice Cream

Five locations in the Research Triangle


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Two Roosters Ice Cream (@tworoosters)

Like Two Scoops in the Queen City, Two Roosters has quickly grown to five locations in and around the state capital since launching less than a decade ago. The shop is named for the two black wooden rooster decorations that framed “Granny’s” front door in the old farmhouse where many of their recipes were born. 

“Granny’s house is no longer there, and the rock salt machine has too much rust,” reads the website. “But the love, intrigue, and passion for ice cream has bloomed over the years, just like that hand-churned batch of fresh peaches and cream.” 

The “Forever Flavors” portion of the menu includes a wide enough range including the Sola Cinnamon Donut and Blackberry Hibiscus, but the real gems are in the seasonal rotation. The July 2024 menu includes the Cowboy Cookie and the Peach & Ginger Cookie. 

Our Recommendation: Coffee Bourbon

Made with Slingshot coffee. 

Hop Ice Cream Cafe

Five locations around Asheville

The Hop proudly serves its Asheville neighbors and tourists with an imaginative and locally influenced array of handcrafted, 16% butterfat dairy ice cream, plus a selection of made-from-scratch vegan ice cream and sorbet. 

Owners Greg and Ashley Garrison take pride that both locations of The Hop are a source of happiness and growth within the community. They stay happily unchained and independent as they strive to be a place in western NC where all folks are supported and encouraged.

Our Recommendation: Get in the rotation

The Hop keeps three flavors available at all times—vanilla bean, chocolate, and salted caramel—but keep an eye out for surprising flavors that move in and out of rotation such as Lavender Vanilla, Blueberry Kale, Cardamom, Bees Knees, Fresh Ginger, and Sweet Beet. 

The Parlour

Two locations: 117 Market St. & 1821 Green St., Durham


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Parlour (@theparlourdurham)

The downtown Parlour location on Market Street serves scoops, pints, shakes, and floats along with coffee drinks and housemade baked goods every day of the week, while The Parlour Junior inside The Common Market has limited hours and a smaller menu. 

Unique flavors at this shop include the Summer Corn with Blueberry Swirl, which introduces a not-so-common mix of sweet local corn to a swirl of fresh local blueberries. The Vegan Saigon Cinnamon is a coconut cream ice cream with Vietnamese cinnamon that results in a taste reminiscent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

Our Recommendation: Plum Lassi

Made with homemade North Carolina plum jam, cardamom, and Seven Stars yogurt. 

Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream

8617 NC Highway 55 S, Angier

Sunni Sky’s features more than 130 flavors of ice cream—that’s one for every 41 people who live in this tiny Piedmont town. The flavor list includes sugar-free options, sherbets, dairy-free sorbets, and a whole lot of ice cream. 

Two of the shop’s flavors—Exit Wound and Cold Sweat—are so spicy you have to sign a waiver. You don’t get much more unique than that. 

Our Recommendation: Orange Chocolate

Our Sunni Sky’s motto: Do your mouth a favor, don’t sign a waiver. 

The Ice Queen 

Various locations

The Ice Queen is Greensboro’s first full-service mobile ice cream parlor, with two trucks named Snowflake and Shortycake that travel Gate City carrying eight flavors at a time. You can grab one of their snazzy flavors in a cone or in the middle of one of their renowned Cookie Monster Sammiches. The Ice Queen believes that the happiness created in your body by ice cream cancels out any calories ingested, so go at it.* 

*This medical advice has not been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Our Recommendation: Get weird with your toppings

It’s unclear what eight flavors you’ll come across at an Ice Queen stop, but you can always zhuzh it up with eccentric topping options like Nutella or Sriracha fudge. 

Calabash Creamery

9910 Beach Drive SW, Calabash

Greg and Kristi Hansen put their careers out to pasture in 2002 to open this mom-and-pop shop the following year. More than two decades longer, the coastal creamery is going strong thanks in large part to its reputation for the creamiest ice cream around—the Hansens use 16% butterfat cream and the finest, freshest ingredients to make their numerous flavors. 

Our Recommendation: Get the monthly feature

While the traditional menu is extensive and features some great options, you can’t go wrong with the monthly features this summer, including Sunset Peach in July and Carolina Sunshine in August. The latter features tangerine ice cream with crushed pineapple​. 

Ultimate Ice Cream

Two locations: 1070 Tunnel Road & 195 Charlotte Street, Asheville

With a flagship location on the east side and a to-go shop downtown, you’re never too far from the diverse range of flavors offered up at Ultimate Ice Cream. 

If you find yourself itching for more of flavors like the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle or the Goat Cheese & Bing Cherry, get on the website and sign up to be a Flavor Fan—they’ll notify you by text or email whenever your flavors are available. 

Our Recommendation: Brown Sugar Bacon & Maple


2618 Hillsborough Road, Durham

Opened in 2005, this shop offers up an array of great flavors that go in and out of rotation with an added bonus: Mexican-style paleta popsicles. 

But this list is about ice cream, so let’s get back to it. While LocoPops does offer online shopping opportunities, you’ll want to stop by the store for seasonal flavors that you can find on the interwebs. June flavors included Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie, Peanut Crunch, Apricot Basil, and Blueberry Biscoff Mascarpone Swirl.

Our Recommendation: Throw a dart at the menu

We haven’t got a look at July’s available selection just yet, but regardless of the month, you’ll find something you like.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.9 North Carolina ice cream shops that offer unique flavors9 North Carolina ice cream shops that offer unique flavors


  • Ryan Pitkin

    Ryan Pitkin is a writer and editor based in Charlotte, where he runs an alternative weekly newspaper called Queen City Nerve. He is also editor of NoDa News, a community newsletter in the neighborhood where he has lived for 15 years.

Related Stories
Share This