As we move into the spring and summer months, the temps in Columbia SC are starting to climb and won’t be coming down any time soon. Read our roundup of suggestions on how to beat the heat with something icy and sweet. Stay cool, friends.
At Sweet Cream Co., husband and wife duo Joe and Jessica Kastner have perfected the art of small-batch handmade ice creams and sorbets at this purple-walled parlor on Main Street. Come for a scoop of a seasonal selection made with locally-sourced ingredients like Lime Cardamom, Blackberry Sage, Honey with Sunflower Micro Greens & Seeds (um, hello summer in a made-from-scratch cone) and Sea Salt & Black Pepper with Roasted Strawberries or snag an inventive ice cream sandwich before they sell out. Recent sandwich combos include Snickerdoodle cookie with Granny Smith Apple ice cream or Sweet Cornbread cookie with Blueberry ice cream. Seriously, are you drooling yet? It’s okay if you are, because you can rehydrate with an artisan soda like Blood Orange Basil, White Peach or Violet with Lemon.
What do you get when the owner of one of the hippest independent coffee shops in town lets his daughter name the gelateria he opens in the space next door? Why, Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop, of course! Creative concoctions include Cap’n Crunch, City Roots Yellow Watermelon and Kiwi Banana, plus there’s always a couple 21+ offerings on rotation for grownups only. We feel these tasty treats are best enjoyed whilst strolling/ window shopping through the streets of Five Points or seated around the iconic Five Points Fountain. Sundays are buy two, get one free and no, you don’t have to share.
Best known for their Bubble Waffle desserts, Brain Freeze in Cayce is only about a year old, but wasted no time carving out its own unique identity against the competition. Sure, they serve ice cream and Italian ice, but why stop there? Order up the aforementioned Bubble Waffle (in either original or chocolate), heap some ice cream on top, sprinkle it with candy, cookies, fruit or, well, sprinkles and top it all off with a drizzle for that extra something special. On the go? Pick up a coffee milkshake for a delightful caffeine buzz.
Let childhood and adulthood come together in the best way with a Prosecco Pop from River Rat Brewery. Gourmet popsicles from King of Pops (think flavors like Blackberry Banana, Raspberry Lime, Watermelon Mojito and more) swirl into a crisp glass of sparkling Prosecco. Not only is it totally Insta-worthy, it’s also the perfect spring and summer refresher. Nab a seat at the new rooftop bar to savor both your drink and the view.
Look to the Giant Cone in the Sky as a glorious beacon drawing you in for relief from the heat of the day. For 65 years, Zesto has been serving fried chicken, burgers and its famous ice cream to a devoted following of locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a Dipped Cone (try the butterscotch or chocolate with nuts), a Strawberry Short Cake sundae, a Shake or a good ol’ Banana Split, you’ll be back time and again to get your frozen fix.
Go for a guilt-free option with a Superfruit Bowl or Frozen Yogurt from Yoghut (the toppings don’t count, right?). Organic açaí puree serves as the base of the Superfruit Bowls and additions like fruit, granola, honey, raw cacao nibs and more round it out to make for some energizing eats that will keep you surprisingly full. Not hungry? Quench your thirst with a fresh smoothie or fun Bubble Tea instead.
So much better than your typical snow cone, Pelican’s SnoBalls are flavorful from your first bite to your last (aka the syrup doesn’t immediately drain to the bottom of your cup). Find one of the few cotton candy-colored establishments around town and park it on a sunny picnic bench. With 100 flavors available, you can take your pick from the usual suspects like Blue Raspberry, Orange or Sweet Cherry, kick it up a notch with offerings like Honeydew, Pomegranate or Pink Champagne, or go completely wild with off-the-wall flavors like Dill Pickle, Toothpaste or Tamarind. Whatever floats your boat! P.S. We’re big fans of the rainbow-hued mural of James Brown found at the Rosewood location.
End date night on a sweet note with a milkshake from Kaminsky’s in the Vista. The signature shakes are anything but simple, with offerings like S’mores, The Elvis or a Whoppers Malted. Make any of these into “Adult Milkshakes” to join the ranks with the Bananas Foster, Wake Up Call, Dreamsicle and Key Lime Pie for an experience that is what cocktail dreams are made of. Bonus points for their menu, which features this very important notice, “Disclaimer: These may bring all the boys to the yard.” We see you, Kaminsky’s.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than the simplicity of soft serve. The no-frills Rosewood Dairy Bar knows that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Serving up affordable eats and serious vintage vibes since 1942, this spot is no doubt a Columbia staple. Keep it classic with a plain vanilla, chocolate or swirled cone, shower it in rainbow sprinkles or jazz things up with a Birthday Cake or Peanut Butter Dipped Cone. Swoon.
Ice. Cream. Sandwich.
Do we have your attention? Because The Baked Bear certainly has ours. New to Five Points, get your tastebuds ready for a build-your-own ice cream experience. Mix and match cookies, brownies or donuts for the top and bottom of your sandwich, choose from more than 13 craft ice cream flavors, add toppings like Nutella, Fruity Pebbles, Mini M&Ms and more, then get your creation hot-pressed for a sinfully-good snack. Sundaes, root beer floats and other more traditional (but no less delicious) offerings are also available. We plan to be first in line.
If you're looking for more delicious sips + bites in Columbia SC, check out our restaurants page where you can search by category to find exactly what you're craving!
Cover Photo Credit: Jason Rickard