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Posted on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Vote for Washtenaw County's best ice cream parlor

By Bob Needham

It's time for step two in the search for Michigan's best ice cream parlor.

John Gonzalez,—the statewide entertainment reporter for MLive,'s partner website, is conducting the search, and the process got under way this week with a call for possible contenders.

We got lots of suggestions, and thanks to those who submitted them. Quite a few were for parlors outside of Washtenaw County, and I've forwarded those to "Gonzo." But the task before us now is to conduct a poll on the contenders from our area, with similar polls being conducted by our sister websites around the state. The winners of those polls will become must-visit stops as Gonzo undertakes his tasting tour to determine an ultimate winner.

So, what's your favorite ice cream parlor in Washtenaw County? Vote in the poll below (and keep in mind we're considering overall experience as well as the quality of the ice cream itself). The poll runs through 9 a.m. Aug. 8. And once the winners are known, we'll keep you posted as Gonzo eats his way across Michigan.

For more background, read Gonzo's post on the new venture.

Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for Reach him at or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.


J. Zarman

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

Why was Coffee House Creamery left off of the poll list? It offers hand-dipped ice cream, perhaps more choices than all but 3-4 of the ice cream places listed? Coffee House Creamery is open early and closes late, great for lunchtime, and great for after a movie at the Quality 16 theater. They also offer espresso and other coffee bar selections. I would have voted for it, but it was not in the poll at all! Three of us did a Google search for ice cream in Ann Arbor. Only four of the resulting top six Google stores were even listed in the poll. editors, may we suggest you do a Google search for populating your survey response options?

Bob Needham

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

I did do a Google search out of curiosity, but the way we came up with the list was from reader suggestions. Nobody mentioned Coffee House Creamery when we ran a post asking for suggestions, and nobody mentioned it during the week the poll was active, when we still could have added it.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Hello--the poll question is "Which is the best ice cream PARLOR?". It's Washtenaw Dairy in a landslide. It's an Ann Arbor landmark. Nothing fancy. I'm hard pressed to think of it as a "parlor". The prices are very fair relative to the huge portions they give you. And they really move you quickly through the line--which is usually long on those days when you have a hankering to head on over there. Great people watching outside--some of Ann Arbor's finest and most interesting citizens! I'm sure the other "parlors" might have fancier ice creams compared to Stroh's but it sure tastes damn good to me. And I wear my Washtenaw Dairy t-shirt proudly--in Saline. A trip to Washtenaw Dairy on Father's Day was number 1 on my list of things to do that day.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Ice cream time is not good. I went there in the beginning of the summer and got freezer burned ice cream. I'll never go there again.

Blue Marker

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Coffee House Creamery on Jackson has the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had!


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

gelato is not ice cream, soft serve is not ice cream. washtenaw dairy is NOT expensive, you get a huge scoop, most of the time I ask for a kiddie cone as I can not finish a single scoop. who's the busiest in town, washtenaw dairy, no surprise then they have the majority of the vote.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Never, ever Ben & Jerry's! I do not care for their politics.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 5 p.m.

they're not mad about yours either.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Washtenaw Dairy? lol Please. Maybe forty years ago they were the best but the place is pretty disappointing if you're making a trip on recommendations of old ann arborites.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

I still miss Millers. :(


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Me too.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Ice Cream Time's in Ypsilanti Township, not the city, has the paper has it listed.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

Yes, to avoid confusion, please include longitude and latitude when listing locations for polls.

Bob Needham

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

I was just going by "community" rather than "municipality"

J. Zarman

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

It is a shame that Gji's Sweet Shoppe, on Washtenaw Ave. not far from Arborland, was not included on this list. Any place that offers 10-16 choices of hand-scooped (NOT soft-serve) cream should not be excluded from a ballot for best ice cream parlor.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. The owners and workers at Gji's are always beyond friendly and they have a unique selection of flavored popcorn, candy & smoothies on top of the ice cream. Although they don't have the capacity to make their own ice cream in store, they serve Ashby's Sterling which is creamy and delicious... try the Mint Girl Scout-- it has dark chocolate malt balls in it which gives it a flavor all its own!

Bob Needham

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

I just added Gji's to the options, thanks

Use Logic

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

I'd vote for Gji's if it were on this list. True, it may be typical Ashby's Sterling ice cream, but the 'olde-tyme' candy store environment is unrivaled (at least in this area).

Bob Needham

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

When we asked for suggestions on which places to include in the poll, nobody mentioned Gji's, but I have now added it to the options. Voting continues until 9 a.m. next Wednesday. thanks!


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

Ice Cream Time in Ypsilanti!!!

Rod Johnson

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

I just discovered this recently. What a find! Great place.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

Yeah, well, overall experience, I think it's washtenaw dairy hands down. They have a nice seating place on the corner in a nice neighborhood and serve nice portions and have been a part of the neighborhood for over 75 years. Every time I drive by there in the summer there is a lot of kids of all ages, adults, pets, crowding the corner enjoying themselves. They got my vote. And a lot of other people's as well, apparently.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

If you haven't tried Iorio's Gelateria, make your way over there. It's by the Original Cottage Inn on William. You can thank me later.

Bob Needham

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

J. Zarman -- actually it is on the list ...

J. Zarman

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

A dirty, rotten shame that Iorio's was not even included on the list for best ice cream.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

I will thank you in advance.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Washtenaw Dairy doesn't make their own ice cream. They just serve Stroh's at a huge mark-up. The donuts are a different story. I'd vote for them for best donuts.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

for real you think its expensive!? its like 2 dollars for half a lb of ice cream...


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Yes, exactly. They are a cute shop with some neighborhood charm, which counts for something, but their product isn't really theirs. I've always taken issue with their lack of whipped cream for sundaes, which seems odd and contrarian for a "dairy", but that's a secondary complaint.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

How about a non of the above voting category?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

a constructive idea for all who dont do it already ( from one who was an original Ben and Jerry's investor in it's initial vermont start-up , and has consumed a fair amount over the years). The B and J there had racks in which to put your cone when fishing for money to pay...never saw such a thing here, even at the local B and J. and they are a very nice feature that eliminate spilled icecream ( esp when it goes for a million dollars a lb.)