Guide, List: Lexington Ky’s Best Ice Cream, Smoothie Parlors

Now that the Parkette Drive-In is gone, you may be missing out on the smoothies and jukeboxes.

The local drive-in, which closed in June after 70 years, was a great place to go for ice cream and burgers in Lexington.

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So where can you go now for some old fashioned soda fountain fun? Or just a great ice cream?

Here’s a guide and list of six of the best local places to get your fix in Lexington and central Kentucky. (And don’t forget Graeter’s, a Cincinnati-based chain that has excellent French-pot-style ice cream available as sundaes or in cones or cups at two Lexington locations.)

Freshie’s Soda and Ice Cream Fountain

Freshie’s Ice Cream & Soda Fountain offers handcrafted milkshakes and an old fashioned soda fountain feel in Lexington. silas walker [email protected]

3851 Kenesaw Dr. Open noon to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, noon to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.

Freshie’s has the look and feel of a classic retro ice cream parlor, with a menu of premium hand-dipped ice creams. You can get scoops in waffle cones or old fashioned glass ice cream dishes.

A cotton candy shake at Freshie’s Ice Cream & Soda Fountain. silas walker [email protected]

In addition to scoops, you can also get sundaes, ice cream sodas and floats, egg creams, shakes and malts and sugar cane sodas in your choice of flavors.

For a special treat, get a sharing platter like a six-flavor sundae, Waffle Nachos Supreme, or a banana split. Seasonal dishes are also available, such as a mint milkshake, warm brownie sundae with mint ice cream, or a hot fudge sundae.

And in early 2023, Freshie’s will add a second South Lexington location at 4379 Old Harrodsburg Rd. with a waffle cone stand, space for more ice cream flavors and new menu items, including “dirty sodas.”

Santa Sunday is one of the seasonal treats at Freshie’s Ice Cream & Soda Fountain in Lexington, Kentucky on Wednesday, November 30, 2022. Silas Walker [email protected]

Ella Martin puts the finishing touches on a cotton candy shake for a customer at Freshie’s Ice Cream & Soda Fountain in Lexington, Kentucky on Wednesday, November 30, 2022. Silas Walker [email protected]

Railroad drugs and soda fountain of yesteryear

115 E. Main St. in Midway, open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday closed.

Tucked inside an actual pharmacy, the Railroad Drug & Old Time Soda Fountain has Blue Bell Ice Cream in sugar cones, waffle cones, or cups, as well as shakes, malts, and sundaes or floats. You can also get a selection of sandwiches and hot dogs there.

cattywampus station

161 Lexington Green Circle, open Wednesday through Thursday from 1 pm to 8 pm, Friday from 1 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from noon to 9 pm and Sunday from noon to 8 pm.

Smoothie combo.jpg
From left, Cattywampus Milkshakes the Blue Monster, Salted Caramel, and Unicorn. alex slitz [email protected]

Tia Chancellor of Georgetown, Kentucky, owner of Sweet Matriarch Bakery, works to create one of her Cattywampus shakes for a customer, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. Alex Slitz [email protected]

“Over the top” is pretty much the definition of Cattywampus Station, serving milkshakes in Mason jars encrusted with frosting, cookies, cupcakes, candy, whipped cream and drizzles of toppings and fruit.

You can also get waffle scoops and cones, as well as lively sundaes with your choice of toppings. Hot Mess Giant Sundaes ($54.98 each) are 12 scoops of ice cream designed for sharing. You can go old school with a drizzle of chocolate and caramel, strawberries, bananas, and more, or go new school with a puff of cotton candy, gummy worms, and rainbow sprinkles.

And in the winter, owner Tia Chancellor adds Cattywampus Cocoa to the menu, seven flavors of hot drinks dressed in her signature ingredients.

frozen in time

189 E. Brannon Rd., open 1 pm to 8 pm Sunday through Thursday, 1 pm to 9 pm Friday and Saturday.

Frozen in Time isn’t so much a traditional ice cream parlor as it is a celebration of soft serve. The shop serves vanilla and chocolate custard and eight other flavors of ice cream, including seasonal options, as well as non-dairy raspberry and pineapple Dole shakes.

You can get the soft serve in a bowl, a Joy cake cone, or a waffle cone, with a variety of toppings to sprinkle on top.

crank and pen

1210 Manchester St. and 3101 Clays Mill Rd., open from noon to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and from noon to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.

Crank & Boom is known for its inventive quality ice cream and fun treats like waffle sundaes can be made at both locations. And because owners Toa and Mike Green make all their own ice cream, there are always special seasonal flavors you can order ahead online to take home, like Peppermint Brownie and Oreo Cheesecake, as well as others like White Chocolate Peppermint, Mexican Non-dairy Hot Chocolate or Caramel Praline in stores for the holidays.

And if you’re looking for a treat for adults, Crank & Boom can also make “alcoholic” hot chocolates.

BoBi cones

3735 Palomar Center Dr., open 2-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12-9 p.m. Sunday

Also, not technically an ice cream place (but check out sister company Crank & Boom for lots of ice cream options) BoBi Cones is one of a kind. Yes, it’s soft serve, but it’s really very creamy and you can get the ice cream dipped in chocolate.

You can get the soft serve on “fish cones” which are waffles shaped like fish with an open mouth filled with ice cream. Either in a cup or in a regular waffle cone. The menu also includes sundaes (check out the new standing sundaes), frozen nachos, and specialty hot chocolates.

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Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who has also covered agriculture, gambling, horses, and hemp.
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