Five Great Ice Cream Parlors in the Buffalo-Niagara Area

Ice cream is great any time of the year, but summertime is especially right for a frozen treat at one of the Western New York area's many ice cream parlors. These five shops each offer something unique, be it its atmosphere or its ice cream flavors – and they are all uniquely Western New York.

1. Pautler's Drive-In of Clarence

If you're looking for a retro vibe, Pautler's Drive-In of Clarence, located at 6343 Transit Rd. in East Amherst, has the 1950s drive-in theme down pat, right down to the music and the Tuesday night cruise nights. Grab a cone or a dish of frozen custard, frozen yogurt or Perry's ice cream – or even a milkshake – and sit in the dining room or enjoy it on the patio – the kids can even work off some of their energy on the huge playset located on site. You can also grab an ice cream cake to go for that special occasion.

2. Route 20 Ice Cream

Located at 2783 Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park, Route 20 Ice Cream is a renovated service station complete with an antique garage museum and antique tow truck you might see around town. Serving Perry's ice cream, Upstate Farms frozen custard and Wow Cow frozen desserts, Route 20's newest addition is a 1903 caboose seating car which was originally part of the Old Red Mill restaurant in Clarence.

3. Antoinette's Sweets

The origins of Antoinette's, currently located at 5981 Transit Rd. in Depew, go back to 1915 on Buffalo's East Side; the shop has been at its current location since 1958. These days, the shop is known not only for its delicious candies and confections, but for its homemade ice cream, toppings and syrups. Grab a table or a booth and enjoy your frozen treat in this classic soda shop.

4. Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream

Made from locally-sourced ingredients and featuring unique locally-inspired flavors like Paula's Glazed Donut and Revolution Coffee, Lake Effect Ice Cream has a location as unique as its flavors: 79 Canal St. in Lockport, right above the Flight of Five lock system on the Erie Canal. The menu includes artisan sundaes, ice cream cakes and other novelties, including Icicle Pops with flavors as unique as the ice cream such as Root Beer Float, Lynoaken Farms Steampunk Apple and Darth Cherry.

5. Sweet Jenny's

Sweet Jenny's, with two locations at 5732 Main St. and 56 E. Spring St. (the Williamsville Water Mill) in the Village of Williamsville, makes its own ice cream and confections. Owners Howard and Tara Cadmus – who also run 1811 Comics on the second floor of the Mill as well as Oh Pour L'amour Du Chocolat, located at 4476 Main St. in Snyder – offer unique ice cream flavors like Carrot Cake, Basil, Loganberry and Apple Walnut, as well as ice cream pies and cakes.

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Paula Thompson is a freelance writer and photographer from and lifelong resident of Williamsville, NY, a northern suburb of Buffalo.