Cup and Cone
This White Bear Lake institution has been making summers happy for more than 40 years. Expect to encounter chocolate and vanilla (and a twist of the two, of course), plus an ever-rotating flavor of the day (which can be swirled with vanilla). There are lactose- and gluten-free options, too. Along with family-friendly prices and a heaping helping of nostalgia, the place is also Dip Cone Central, with a long list of flavors that include chocolate, cherry, butterscotch, coconut, birthday cake and blue raspberry.
2126 4th St., White Bear Lake, 651-426-1498, cupandconewbl.com
Yes, this brand-name chocolate company has a soft-serve operation in its megamall store, serving two premium flavors: dark chocolate and vanilla, with a swirl option. Add-ons include chocolate and salted caramel sauces. Expect to pay $5.95 for a cup and $6.95 for a waffle cone. Here’s a sweet deal: On July 21, in honor of National Ice Cream Day (yes, that’s really a thing), Godiva is offering a buy one-get one 50% off deal on soft serve.
126 West Market, Mall of America, Bloomington, 952-858-9306, godiva.com
MN Nice Cream
This colorful, over-the-top (in a delightful way) Instagram hot spot considers soft serve as a sugar delivery vehicle, laying on the toppings, big time. Flavor-wise, there’s chocolate and vanilla, always, along with an ever-changing guest star, with a bonus: The product is made in both lactose-free and vegan formats. The range of toppings is enormous. Think of it this way: If it can be rolled, dipped, sprinkled, drizzled or embedded, it’s available. Prices start at $4.
807 NE. Broadway, Mpls., 612-259-7053 and 308 Chestnut St., Stillwater, mnnicecream.com
Along with the excellent crêpes and one of the Twin Cities’ great BLTs, the inclusion of a soft-serve ice cream machine is another reason to make a habit of this well-managed coffeehouse/cafe. It’s all very uncomplicated — just chocolate, vanilla and a twist of the two, served in cones or cups. No toppings. But on a hot summer’s day, doesn’t simplicity sometimes take the prize? Prices run $4.25 to $5, and it’s not available at the mini-chain’s chic downtown Minneapolis location.
3509 W. 44th St., Mpls., 612-840-6100 and 750 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 612-839-5538, pennyscoffee.com