July 1, 2019 Buckhead- Catherine (left) enjoys her vanilla ice cream cone while Barbara (left) looks on during the 70th anniversary celebration for Zesto Atlanta at their Buckhead location off of Piedmont Road NE on Monday, July 1, 2019. Zesto opened in 1945 nationally, moving to Atlanta in 1949. The restaurant eventually had six locations in Atlanta, remaining family owned and operated through its expansion. Today there are four Zesto locations remaining in Atlanta. Zesto celebrated its 70th anniversary with 70 cent chili dogs for its customers, who packed the restaurant during the morning of the all-day celebration. Christina Matacotta/Christina.Matacotta@ajc.com
Photo: Christina R. Matacotta
Photo: Christina R. Matacotta

7 places to try soft serve ice cream in metro Atlanta

When it comes to ice cream, we don’t discriminate -- it’s all good by us. But if you’re looking specifically for a creamy treat you can only get out of a machine, check out these spots to try soft serve ice cream around metro Atlanta.

Big Softie. The latest venture from Little Tart Bakeshop owner Sarah O’Brien brings a variety of homemade soft serve options to its cozy Summerhill location. Look for flavors, dips and toppings made with locally and regionally made and grown ingredients including peach made with peaches from Pearson Farms; coffee made with Counter Culture; sprinkles from Beautiful Briny Sea; and chocolate dip from Xocolatl. Dairy averse? Big Softie always has a vegan option ready to go.

68 Georgia Ave. SE, Atlanta. bigsoftieatl.com

Four Summers. This Oakhurst scoop shop mostly specializes in gelatos and sorbets, but offer up vanilla, chocolate and swirl if you’re feeling soft serve. Add toppings including gummy bears, sprinkles, Heath bars and marshmallows for an extra treat.

350 Mead Road, Decatur. facebook.com/FourSummersATL/

Little Rey. Come for the tacos and chicken al carbon, stay for the frozen margaritas and rotating soft serve flavors, including tres leches and salty cajeta and fried peanuts at Ford Fry’s newest restaurant

1878 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 770-796-0207, littlerey.com

Matcha Cafe Maiko. Feeling fancy? Try the Golden Shogun cone at this new Buford Highway entry, featuring matcha soft serve dipped in 23.75-karat gold leaf. For something simpler, try plain matcha or vanilla in a cone, or a parfait made with soft serve mixed with ingredients including azuki beans and chestnuts.

5306 Buford Highway NE, Doraville. 470-359-3142, matchacafe-maiko.com.

Momo Cafe. The coffee shop and cafe from ChingYao Wang and Jason Liang, the husband and wife owners of the adjoining Japanese restaurant Momonoki, serves up a variety of coffee drinks and desserts, including cheesecakes and mille crepes. The Japanese soft serve flavors, including matcha and black sesame, are the perfect way to cool down after a bowl of ramen. Try the newly-added Hoji Cha, a nutty roasted variation on green tea with notes of caramel. 

95 Eighth St. NW, Suite 100, Atlanta. 404-390-3025, momonokiatl.com.

Village Burger. Treat yourself to a burger or hot dog at one of Village Burger’s four metro Atlanta locations, then follow it up with a soft serve custard cup or cone. Get chocolate or vanilla and choose mix-ins including M&Ms, sprinkles and strawberries to amp up the sweetness. 

Locations in Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Tucker and Cumming. villageburger.com

Zesto. The Atlanta favorite, which started in Atlanta in 1949 as a walk-up ice cream stand on Peachtree Road, has since expanded, with several locations that all have slightly different menus but one thing in common -- soft serve. You can get plain vanilla, chocolate or swirl in a cone, but why not take it to the next level with a dip including the Nut Brown Crown, which sees vanilla ice cream dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in peanuts, or a Butterscotch Crown? Your tastebuds will thank you.

Locations in Buckhead, Forest Park, East Point, East Atlanta and Tyrone. zestoatlanta.com

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