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Robby Brookshire, Sarah Parker and Martha Corkum at Kaiser's
Credit: Shannon Cornman

Besides, somebody has to celebrate National Ice Cream month, an annual tradition established by President Ronald Reagan. That 1984 proclamation called for the people of the United States to observe this event with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

The only suitable response, therefore, is to get busy visiting some of Oklahoma City’s chilly haunts.

For something basic, stick with a typical choice. According to a recent International Ice Cream Association survey among member companies, you won’t be alone, because it revealed vanilla as the most popular consumer flavor.

Chocolate-chip mint, followed by cookies and cream, were the next most popular flavors.

Get your licks started with Kaiser’s American Bistro, 1039 N. Walker. The parlor opened in 1910 and moved to its current location in 1918.

Although the original closed in 1990 and The Grateful Bean filled its space for nearly two decades, the Kaiser’s name happily was resurrected when it opened in Midtown.

Indulge in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, rum raisin, peppermint or special of the week. A single scoop is $3 and most flavors are available for purchase in pint containers.

“This is very authentic, old-school ice cream,” said OKC resident Dina Hammam. “The rum raisin has a great cinnamon taste and the strawberry is just sweet enough.”

The University of Oklahoma celebrates history at Sooner Dairy Lunch, 1820 W. Main in Norman. For more than 60 years, this familyowned and operated joint has been a community staple.

Favorites are freezes, milk shakes and floats; yet it is the soft-serve ice cream that is beloved.

“We have done it for years with a liquid mix that we freeze,” said employee Melanie McHughes. “Everyone swears they can tell the difference with [others who] use a lot of powder mixes.”

A cone or small cup of vanilla is a mere $1.49. McHughes noted that some days during the summer, she can’t walk away from the milk shake machine. With add-ins like Butterfinger bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups, shakes remain in constant demand.

While gelato isn’t exactly the same thing as ice cream, it’s definitely in the same family tree, so don’t count out Il Dolce Gelato, 937-B S.W. 25th in Moore or 1318 N. Interstate Drive in Norman. Co-owners Neil and Sommer Buss require no passport to experience one of Italy’s most delicious treats.

“We trained with a master gelato maker in Italy,” said Neil Buss. “What makes it authentic is we use traditional methods to make the gelato, high-quality ingredients from around the world, and make it fresh.”

Because it’s prepared in small batches, the milk-based Italian treat’s ice crystals stay small, with a creamy, smooth texture that contains a quarter less air than American ice cream.

Throughout the year, Il Dolce produces 225 flavors — and daily features 24 flavors — that range from modest to exotic.

“One of the things we have become known for is the chocolate habanero,” he said. “It’s unique because it tastes like chocolate, then there’s a little burn in the back of the throat. Another one is the Coccocello, with chocolate, almond, caramel and coconut.”

Innovation aside, gelato is a healthier option, given that it has nearly one-third the fat of American-style ice creams, plus has half the calories per serving. Portions tend to be smaller, too, since it is dense and intensely flavored.

Now you have even more reason to treat yourself!

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