Ice cream photo

Columbia's ice cream shops are open for business — with new social distancing measures in place.

Whether it’s chasing after the musical truck meandering through the neighborhood or strolling into your favorite air-conditioned shop, ice cream has an especially sweet appeal come summertime. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, July is the busiest month for ice-cream makers. No surprise there. This summer in Columbia, though the cool treats taste the same, operations might look a bit different. We’ve touched base with several local spots to find out what’s new, whether you prefer specialty treats, ice cream, custard or froyo.

Let’s Roll Ice Cream

Let’s Roll Ice Cream, which creates rolled ice cream delicacies, has new protocols in place. The shop announced on Facebook on May 8 that it would be reopening (on weekends only for now), cutting the maximum occupancy to half, implementing spacing between tables and chairs and putting tape on the floor to show customers where to stand in line.

Owner Jeffrey McWilliams says it’s disappointing not to be able to give customers the same in-store experience, but nevertheless, in the summer, “people will still get out and eat ice cream.”

21 Conley Road; 2-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun.

Randy’s Frozen Custard

Custard shops in Columbia such as Randy’s, Columbia’s longest-running custard stand, remained open throughout the pandemic closures because drive-thru services allowed for relatively contact-free ordering and pickup. Randy’s has always had outdoor-only seating, and its walk-up window reopened to customers April 26. This July and August, Randy’s will feature its Cake Batter Cookie Dough Concrete. Try it using one of the shop’s groovy color-changing spoons.

3304 W. Broadway Business Park Court; 3-9 p.m., Mon.-Fri., noon-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun.

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream

Home of Oreo Speedwagon, Honey Lavender and many more flavors, Sparky’s on South Ninth Street started the summer selling gallons, quarts and pints curbside. Now the little green shop has reopened with limited hours. For health and safety reasons, no more than six people are allowed in the shop at once, and there’s no indoor seating amid the eclectic art, but Sparky’s has outdoor seating to enjoy your scoops al fresco.

21 S. Ninth St.; 2-9 p.m.

Sugarwitch

This ice-cream sandwich company specializes in gourmet flavors. There’s rose ice cream with a pistachio cardamom sandie on the outside, mint chip paired with minty brownie and more. Sugarwitch was closed for two months* at the height of the pandemic, but now, it’s back to business. Sandwiches are prepared on Sundays, Mondays and some evenings and sold throughout the week starting on Wednesdays. Sugarwitch is currently looking for a new location after leaving its space in the Beet Box kitchen.

Sugarwitch also started a Pint of the Month Club, a three-month, $30 ice-cream subscription. The first round had a twist: members of the club didn’t know what flavors they were going to get. Future rounds might include dairy-free options. You can register for upcoming months of the pint club on the Sugarwitch online store.

Pick up pints and sandwiches at Beet Box, 602 Fay St.

Yogoluv

This Ninth Street staple has missed its student customers this spring and summer and is not using its usual self-serve model. The shop is offering three different size cups of yogurt with set prices.

“You kind of miss out of all the fun of making your own thing,” says owner Ben Huang of how COVID-19 has affected his shop. But, he says, safety is his main concern: “I don’t want to rush anything.” For now, Yogoluv provides order cards to fill out, so patrons still create custom desserts.

201 S. Ninth St.; Thurs.-Sun. 1-9 p.m.

*CORRECTION: This article has been updated to clarify that Sugarwitch was closed for two months during the height of the pandemic but not Beet Box.

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