7 Spots for Soft-Serve and Frozen Custard Around LA

By Lesley Balla | August 30, 2013 By Lesley Balla  |  August 30, 2013
Photo by: Lesley Balla

We love ice cream, gelato, ice pops, ice cream sandwiches and even frozen yogurt. But we have a soft spot for soft-serve ice cream - the swirl, the easy eating, the sprinkles or the fudge, or the cone it fills. Sure, we’ll hit one of the chains like Foster’s Freeze or Carvel if we must, but we're more impressed with the unique flavors chefs and restaurants are serving around town. Meanwhile, frozen custard - its richer, dense, creamy Midwestern kin - is starting to show up around LA too.  Here are seven unique soft-serve and custard creations to taste right now.

  • Photo by: Simmzy's

    Simmzy's Belmont Shore

    This summer chef Anne Conness added soft-serve ice creams to the Long Beach gastropub, with flavors changing almost daily. You might find strawberry shortcake; chocolate soft-serve topped with caramel drizzle, chocolate brownie chunks and almond brittle; or Trinidad coffee soft-serve with almond streusel and cinnamon whipped cream.

    5271 E. 2nd St.; 562-439-5590

  • Photo by: The Spice Table

    The Spice Table

    A small bowl of cool, soothing spice cognac, Thai iced tea or milk tea soft-serve to follow up some of chef Bryant Ng’s spicier dishes, like beef randang curry or lamb belly satay, is such a treat. It's always light yet creamy, with just enough sweetness without being too sweet. In short: perfection.

    114 S. Central Ave.; 213-620-1840

  • Top Round

    This is definitely where you want to go for roast beef sandwiches, but the chefs (Anthony Carron, Steven Fretz) started to make their own vanilla custard for cones, sundaes and cements (basically sundae toppings mixed into a super thick smoothie). The Midwestern specialty is similar to ice cream in the butterfat content (around 10%), but it’s made in a machine that adds less air so it tastes more dense. It’s somewhere between ice cream and gelato, and it's oh so, so good.

    1000 S. La Brea Ave.; 323-549-9445

  • Photo by: Short Order

    Short Order

    One of the best things to come out of the burger joint at the Original Farmers Market was the frozen custard shakes made with Straus Organic Dairy. Super thick and rich, you can get them in chocolate, vanilla or coffee flavors, or adults who are kids at heart but need a boozy boost should try one of the spiked shakes, like the Don't Call Me Shirley (vanilla malt, gin, strawberry). If you ask nicely, you might even be able to get a bowl of custard by itself.

    6333 W. Third St.; 323-761-7970

  • Pitfire Artisan Pizza

    All locations of this local pizza chain - North Hollywood, Downtown LA, Mar Vista, Westwood, West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach and Costa Mesa - serve Straus Family Creamery soft-serve with various toppings (Guittard ‘De Oro’ chocolate sauce, housemade caramel with Maldon salt, or with Californian extra-virgin olive oil and Maldon salt). Or get the Smothered Cookie, a warm jumbo chocolate chip cookie topped with soft-serve, hazelnuts and your choice of sauce.

    Multiple locations


  • Photo by: MB Post

    Manhattan Beach Post

    David LeFevre regularly introduces new soft-serve flavors, all made in-house, such as salted caramel with green figs and pistachios, orange creamsicle with guava jelly and coconut cookies, or blackberry soft-serve with berries and Valrhona brownie pieces. It’s good enough to go in for dessert alone.

    1142 Manhattan Ave.; 310-545-5405

  • Photo by: KindKreme


    Ok, vegans can get in on the act too. Like any good housemade ice cream, the vegan soft-serve is made in small batches using organic, local and sustainable ingredients. Only those ingredients happen to be cashews, agave, almonds, maca and the like. And just like any traditional ice cream shop, you can get any of the "icekremes" on their own or as sundaes, shakes and more. 

    319 S. Arroyo Pkwy.; 877-985-5463

Places Mentioned

Manhattan Beach Post

AmericanManhattan Beach
Food26 Decor22 Service23 Cost$48

Pitfire Artisan Pizza

PizzaLos Angeles
Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$19

Pitfire Artisan Pizza

Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$19

Pitfire Pizza

PizzaNorth Hollywood
Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$19

Pitfire Artisan Pizza

Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$19

Pitfire Pizza

PizzaRancho Park
Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$19

Short Order

Food19 Decor14 Service16 Cost$27


AmericanLong Beach
Food24 Decor21 Service22 Cost$27

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