When walking toward Chinatown over spring break in San Francisco, I happened across a small gelato shop at the end of the street. Going inside for a sample of ice cream’s sugary cousin, I met the owner, a congenial middle-aged third-generation gelato maker with a love for selling only the freshest handmade dessert to the passing San Franciscan.
The cappuccino gelato I purchased was probably the tastiest coffee-flavored dessert I have ever had. It made me want to find more quality shops closer to RIT with homemade gelato or ice cream that I could enjoy as the weather got nicer. As it turns out, there are actually quite a few independent ice cream shops in the Rochester area that come highly recommended,
and some in particular proved to be very seductive to my persistent sweet tooth.
Bill Wahl’s Microcreamery
45 Schoen Place, Pittsford
Located in the Northfield Commons in Pittsford, this shop is a bit hard to find thanks to a sharp turn into a hidden plaza just after crossing a bridge. The actual store was spacious, with lots of seating outside overlooking the Erie Canal.
I tried the peppermint chocolate chip and also got to sample the orange sherbet. I wasn’t expecting a pink ice cream, but the chunks of chocolate and mini mint pieces quickly turned my color woes to perfectly chilled bliss. It melted a little quickly, but the taste was sublime!
Their scoops are incredibly generous, with a kiddie cone costing $2.50 for almost six ounces. The selection is also phenomenal for a mom and pop shop.
Hours: Monday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Read’s Ice Cream
3130 E. Henrietta Road
This was the closest independent ice cream shop to RIT that I could find. One would think that the 7-Eleven next door and its promise of Slurpees would hurt their business, but Read’s definitely holds its own against the chain store.
It is a family friendly place, probably because of the great flavor selection and spacious indoor seating. From Almond Joy to vanilla bean,
all of the flavors looked delicious. After a period of careful deliberation that actually took me 15 minutes, I settled upon chocolate orange and orange pineapple. The orange pineapple tasted a bit like Jell-O salad, but the orange chocolate was absolutely luscious. Picture one of those chocolate oranges you buy at the supermarket, slapped on a table and broken apart,
ready to eat. Then put it in ice cream form. That’s this flavor.
The cost is $2.75 for two normal-sized scoops, which is a very satisfying portion. Read’s would make for a refreshing and affordable place to buy an ice cream cone on a date.
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
2595 W. Henrietta Road
They may serve pizza and Perry’s ice cream,
but their gelato and ices are homemade.
Right next door to Movies 10 (otherwise known as the dollar theatre), the thought process behind my visit was that this store might be a nice place to go for a post-movie cone or slice of pizza.
I ordered a sizable piņa colada ice for $2.50, but was severely disappointed by the taste. Maybe I visited on one of their off days, but the coconut shavings and pineapple chunks in the ice tasted like they came from a can and were embedded in frozen pineapple juice and water. It could be that their gelato is better, but I didn’t give it a chance. I will stick to the Perry’s if I ever go there again. I doubt I will.
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:40 p.m.