In a region where frozen custard is king, there are still a few places to get good old-fashioned ice cream in bizarre combinations, and Northside Dairy Haven has a long tradition of serving it up.
At the north end of Edwardsville’s Main Street – thus the name – you can find the roadside food stand that goes back to 1961 with a snarky comment on the message board and a lot of cars lined up for the small drive-through. While the diner-type charco-burgers and pulled pork get a lot of attention, the ice cream is what makes it special.
Northside Dairy Haven makes its ice cream fresh every day, including the orange sherbet that made them famous. Concretes, shakes, sundaes and twisted cones are just part of the offerings, and they have a wide variety of combinations for the weirdest tastes.
While I’m always partial to the turtle sundae with extra hot fudge and pecans, for the purposes of Metro-East Eats I opted for their newest experiment: the Cherry Bomb, a twisted ice cream cone dipped in chocolate shell and then in cherry shell.
As posted on Facebook, Northside suddenly declared that cherry dip is superior to chocolate dip and threatened to ban anyone who said otherwise. A customer then challenged them to do both, and the Cherry Bomb was born. Naturally I had to try one, and as a confirmed chocolate fan I opted for chocolate ice cream inside the double shell.
A word to the wise: order small. My husband’s large cone is close to the size of his head. I ordered the small and it still took me a while to scarf it down. The chocolate-cherry dip mix worked well, but the chocolate kind of overpowers the cherry, more than you might expect. For a cherry aficionado, you might order it alone, or perhaps get the more bland vanilla ice cream instead of my preferred chocolate.
Be aware that Northside is an outdoor venue and bench seating is limited, so you might end up eating your ice cream in your car. They also charge a 50-cent fee for using a credit card, so try to remember to bring cash and tip your workers.
The prices make them very college-student friendly: my small cone was a grand $1.95 plus 60 cents for the dip. The large is $2.95 and the concretes are $4.45, so you won’t need to break the bank here.
Food is made to order, so don’t mistake it for fast food; it was a good 25 minutes from order to eating when we were there on a Friday. It was absolutely worth it.
Note: This review was originally published by the SIUE Alestle.