Fab and Frozen: Cool Down at These Four D.C. Ice Cream Shops

A guide to the city's ice cream scene from old-time custard to innovative treats

Whether it’s custard at an old-time parlor or ice cream made by a high-tech method, summer demands a sweeter and slower way of life. 

Nicecream Factory

In Arlington, Virginia’s Clarendon neighborhood, two sweet-toothed entrepreneurs serve the latest fad in dessert, liquid nitrogen ice cream. Founders Gil Welsford and Sandra Tran serve treats at  Nicecream Factory that are made-to-order from local ingredients (all but two ingredients are sourced from three area farmers markets) and frozen within seconds using liquid nitrogen freezing technology, which crafts an especially smooth, fresh and creamy treat.

Ice Cream made with liquid nitrogen technology (Courtesy Nicecream Factory)  


Husband and wife duo Robb Duncan and Violeta Edelman aspired to open a gelateria of their own after discovering a delightful shop during a whirlwind trip to Buenos Aires. The result? Artisanal gelato created with old-world techniques and a love of innovation, now served at five Dolcezza locations in the area. The pair crafts gelato fresh each morning from local ingredients in flavors like lemon ricotta cardamom and mascarpone + berries.

Gelato crafted from farm fresh ingredients (Courtesy Dolcezza) 

Goodies Frozen Custard and Soda Bar

At a retro soda bar in Maryland’s National Harbor, Wisconsin-style vanilla custard gets an old school spin with desserts like a “Route 66” Root Beer Float and the “Boogie Woogie” Turtle Pecan Sundae. Owner Brandon Byrd and staff sport 50s-inspired bow-tie uniforms and dish out desserts from the soda bar and from a traveling Goodies food truck.

 Twinkies Supreme Sundae (Courtesy Goodies)

Thomas Sweet

Thomas Sweet, purveyor of the blend-in dessert, serves over 30 different flavors of homemade ice cream a day like café au lait and butter almond. This Georgetown establishment in business since 1984, also serves fudge, frozen yogurt and ice cream sandwiches.