In a city often dominated by hot chicken and musicians, the summer heat has overtaken everyone’s minds. Luckily enough, locals and tourists alike have the opportunity to cool off with Nashville’s gratifying selection of frozen treats, some of which have even gained enough notoriety to appear in dozens of magazines, TV shows, and even feature films. We've selected our top five favourites to share with you, because they're honestly too damn good to keep to ourselves.
Arguably one of Nashville’s most notorious ice cream digs, Jeni’s Ice cream rules the roost when it comes to homemade and locally sourced frozen treats. With four locations spread throughout the main corners of Nashville, owner Jeni Britton Bauer prides herself in concocting innovative flavors that are largely influenced by cultural trends, using pure ingredients through local partnerships and grass-fed cows from small Ohio farms to set her chain apart. Dishes like the crowd favorite "Brambleberry Crisp" or the essential cinnamon and toffee speckled Churro scoop, keeps everyone’s taste buds happy, entertained and always coming back for more.
For seventy-five years, Elliston’s Soda Shop has served Nashville residents throughout the city’s many phases of transformation. Noted as a historical landmark, the establishment first opened as a soda shop during the Great Depression. The 1950s style décor, complete with shiny barstools and a checkered floor, has offered all generations a place of solace from the sun while they can enjoy a gooey hot sundae with a burger and fry. The shop’s breakfast menu also engages customers with a meal that harkens back to Grandma’s kitchen, allocating dishes like Tennessee Country Ham and Hot Cakes with syrup. Playing upon a simplistic and timeless aura, Elliston’s Soda Shop stands firm in Nashville’s memory.
The ice cream scene takes on a whole new quirky twist through the periwinkle blue doors of East Nashville’s Pied Piper Creamery . Easily mistaken for a quaint cottage, Pied Piper lures customers in with its clever pun-themed ice cream flavors, like the best-selling “Trailer Trash,” a candy bar medley. The home-spun establishment made its debut in 2007 under the creative management of the Piper family, finding its way into big names like the Chicago Tribune and dubbed as Best Ice Cream by the Tennessean’s 2011 Toast of the City. Guests can enjoy their frozen hand-churned delights on the front porch, where memories are made as East Nashville’s eclectic neighborhood continues to grow.
For a little taste of Mexico, Las Paletas popsicles appeal to even the pickiest eaters. Sold in plastic packages as vibrant, creamy ice pops, the Paz sisters set out to form bonds with local community farms to present a blend of spicy, savory flavors from their hometown in Western Mexico alongside American favorites like peanut butter or chocolate banana. Since 2001, the storefront has been managed under a “Work to Live” mindset, creating a laid-back atmosphere that welcomes all customers. Instagram users flock to the 12 South location to snap exquisitely curated pictures with these trendy pops, adding an extra layer of taste and appeal that gives all other popsicles a run for their money.
Amidst the buzz of the honky tonks and aspiring country music performances, any tourist can find Mike’s Ice Cream nestled on the corner of the infamous Broadway Street. For the past decade, Mike’s has cultivated an environment of friendly staff members and incorporated playful signs plastered on the walls. Having appeared in editorials like Every Day with Rachael Ray, Mike’s hand-churned ice cream has easily earned its way into downtown’s ultimate frozen experience.