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Ranked: 5 ice cream spots near UMN

With warmer weather ahead, it’s time for frozen treats.
Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Photo courtesy of Bebe Zito.

With one of Minnesota’s snowiest winters on record approaching its demise (hopefully), it’s time to welcome back frozen treats on warmer days.

I set out on behalf of A&E to taste-test five ice cream spots near campus and rank them. Here are my thoughts:

5. Meat and Dairy Salesroom

The Meat and Dairy Salesroom offers products made by University of Minnesota students, faculty and staff. Located on the main floor of the Meat Science Laboratory, the ice cream options range from pumpkin pie to rootbeer float. These uncommon flavors provide a solid experience. However, the obscure hours of operation, strictly Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m., and its St. Paul campus location are major turn-offs.

4. Fletcher’s Ice Cream & Cafe

In addition to ice cream, Fletchers, located at East Hennepin and University avenue, offers espresso, savory sandwiches and bakery items. They recommend adding a scoop of ice cream to one of their fresh waffles. However, other than the waffles, it feels lackluster.

3. Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies is a staple in Dinkytown. The ice cream sandwiches are better than single scoops because you get an excuse to still have their signature cookies at the same time. It’s a safe bet from a national chain, but perhaps a bit too safe.

2. Mango Mango Dessert

With a measly 3.5 stars on Google reviews, Mango Mango is a Dinkytown sleeper pick. Their mango ice sundae is definitely a standout in the University community’s ice cream scene. Good presentation and a refreshing taste take Mango Mango a long way. Their selection of mochi, teas and pastries takes them even further.

1. Bebe Zito Ice Cream

Bebo Zito takes the crown with their very creamy yet light Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Aside from having the best logo out of any of the other shops (an ice cream-holding baby donning patterns and Twins colors), Bebe Zito’s ice cream delivers exactly what you crave on a hot day, a light and satisfying frozen treat. With famous burgers and fries on the menu too, this place can double as a lunch spot.

In addition to its campus-adjacent pop-up in the Market at Malcolm Yards in Prospect Park, Bebe Zito fans can flock to Lyndale Avenue for their brick-and-mortar location. Bebe Zito could easily hold its own in a ranking of best Twin Cities ice cream in general, not just near campus.

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