Red and white all over — even garden flowers at Conny’s fit the color scheme.  Credit: Photo by Linda Koutsky

Red and white all over — even garden flowers at Conny’s fit the color scheme. Credit: Photo by Linda Koutsky

I scream, you scream . . .

Conny’s Creamy Cone, 1197 Dale St. N., St. Paul
Opens at 11 a.m., closes between 8:30–9 p.m., through October 

Nothing celebrates 12 weeks of summer like enjoying ice cream outdoors. But the climbing temperature, humid air, warm wind and full rays of sunshine are all potentially lethal to frozen treats.

To enjoy it means to expertly eat around the melting exterior while swiftly cleaning up the drips. It’s challenging, strategic, and messy work. But if you’re quick enough, you’re rewarded.

The history of ice cream isn’t as exact as the making of the product itself. It was most likely invented by the Chinese 2,000–3,000 years B.C. The Italians are credited for popularizing it in the 1700s, though France and England both had their own varieties.

According to the International Dairy Association, the first ad for ice cream was printed in New York in 1777. The summer of 1790 must have been particularly hot because records show President George Washington spent $200 (roughly $5,000 today) on ice cream from a New York merchant. Thomas Jefferson’s 1780s handwritten recipe for ice cream is in Library of Congress (see it here: www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/tri034.html). Egg yolks were added to make a creamy frozen custard in the early 1800s. Some say Philadelphia is the birthplace of modern ice cream. The ice cream cone, the precursor to food-on-a-stick, was invented at Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Prohibition propelled the popularity of ice cream as bars closed and soda fountains opened in towns throughout the country. Vanilla reigns as America’s favorite flavor.

Makes you want to run out and get some right now, doesn’t it?! Well, I’ve got the place for you — Conny’s Creamy Cone. The super adorable red and white painted building with a giant ice cream cone jutting out the top looks transplanted from an ocean resort town. Everything is red and white — the building, picnic tables, benches, railings, signage, landscape rock, even the flowers. And it’s a neat as a pin.

But what makes Conny’s Creamy Cone different than every other ice cream stand I’ve ever been to is this: they serve 24 different flavors of soft serve ice cream! Every day. As we walked up to the stand my friend, a diehard vanilla fan, said he was going to stick with routine and get vanilla. But when we saw the flavor list he actually changed his mind and ordered pumpkin. He said it was: “the best soft-serve ice cream I have ever had in my life!” Other flavors include: amaretto, black cherry, chocolate peanut butter, espresso, key lime, maple nut, orange, piná colada, and pistachio. Only one flavor per cup so get several smalls of different flavors and have a tasting. They also have sundaes, malts, floats, hot dogs, chili dogs, hamburgers, french fries, cheese curds, and a few ice cream treats to go.

Conny’s is on the corner of Dale and Maryland — about five blocks east of Lake Como or a couple miles north of University. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation in a small town, it’s worth the drive. Have fun and catch those drips before they hit the sidewalk!

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Other favorite ice cream stops: 

Ben & Jerry’s (3070 Excelsior Boulevard, Mpls.)

Cone Brothers Ice Cream (6633 Penn Ave. S., Richfield)

Dairy Queen (historic 1947 DQ at 1720 Lexington Ave. N., Roseville; 3959 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights, next to historic Heights movie theater)

Edina Creamery (5055 France Ave. S., Edina)

Froz Broz (3722 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls.)

Grand Ole Creamery (750 Grand Ave., St. Paul)

Izzy’s (1100 Second St. S., Mpls., and 2034 Marshall Ave., St. Paul)

Pumphouse Creamery (4754 Chicago Ave., Mpls.)

Sebastian Joe’s (1007 Franklin Ave. S. and 4321 Upton Ave. S., Mpls.)

Sonny’s (3403 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.)