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Serving up the scoop

Taste the latest dish on our favorite ice cream

Soft ice cream is served at Curly Crème.

chris hughes/the times leader

A flavor for every season at The Lands at Hillside Farms.

S. john wilkin/the times leader

Decisions, decisions at Jitty Joe’s, where 40 flavors are featured.

Chris hughes/the times leader

Manning’s offers frozen yogurt for the calorie-conscious.

chris hughes/the times leader

Four-year old twins Ella and Logan Farrell have some ice cream at the Snack Shack in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader

Four-year old Ella Farrell enjoys a twist cone at The Snack Shack in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader

We can’t say we’re experts, but we know what we like.

And we like ice cream.

A select panel of employees of The Times Leader, the Weekender and the Abington Journal – all publications of the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company – are picking the Best of Northeastern Pennsylvania. You know, best pizza, best wings, best place for breakfast. The stories will be in your paper on Sunday.

Today we offer our picks of the best ice cream.

It wasn’t an easy decision for the group. We all scream for ice cream. Everyone had a favorite for a good reason, whether it was the quality of the ice cream, the abundance of sundae toppings, the atmosphere, the value or the tradition. Opinions get stronger as summer temperatures get warmer and we gravitate to local ice cream parlors and roadside shops.

Here are the top five we’d sacrifice an additional 10 pounds for.

1. Snack Shack

750 Wilkes-Barre Twp Blvd., Wilkes-Barre

Variety, variety, variety. With so many selections at the Snack Shack, you can change your mind five times before you decide on a final selection. The menu board boasts 54 flavors of hand-dipped hard ice cream, 36 flavors of soft ice cream, plus hand-dipped hard yogurt, gelato, slushy, sundaes, shakes and such. The Snack Shack also has hot foods on the menu. The ice cream eating is al fresco – typical for many snack stands – at some picnic tables you’re within sight of the big cow of the former Grablick’s Dairy.

There’s pretty much nothing they don’t offer. Plus, you simply can’t beat hanging out next to 309’s big cow. And, they make cakes for ice cream parties.

A single dip of hard ice cream is $2.49. A “single” of soft ice cream is $2.39

2 Jitty Joe’s

1076 Moosic Rd., Old Forge

The address is approximate. This unassuming spot is nestled between an industrial park, automotive store and convenience gas station. The sign is small but the fan base is huge.

Jitty Joe’s (there is another store with a similar name under different ownership) offers more than 40 flavors of hard ice cream plus the usual soft serve, frozen yogurt and sundaes. It’s an unpretentious atmosphere; there are some tables and chairs inside a modest block building but most people seem content to queue up in the lines at several serving windows for hefty portions at great prices. This Jitty Joe’s serves Leiby’s Ice Cream from Tamaqua. $1.80 for a huge single scoop.

3. Manning’s

The main location for this dairy outlet is on Manning Road in Dalton in Lackawanna County but there are several locations closer to Luzerne County: 210 Meadow Ave, Scranton; 702 N Blakely St, Dunmore; and 420 State St, Clarks Summit. The ice cream is delicious and the toppings are abundant. In addition to value our judges say calorie-counters will like Manning’s frozen yogurt. It tastes just as creamy as the real deal.

A single scoop in a cone runs you $2.39.

4. Curly Crème

244 S River St., Plains Township

This shop has only soft ice cream and it doesn’t have a wide selection of flavors – chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan and assorted combinations – but it’s obviously well-liked. More than 50 people stood in line last Sunday night. The flavors do change every so often and there also are assorted sundaes, shakes, slushies and other treats.

A small cone or cup is $1.70; a medium is $2.30

5. The Lands at Hillside Farms

65 Hillside Rd, Shavertown

When the cows reside across the road from your ice cream stand, there’s no question its ingredients are fresh and wholesome.

But it’s not simply the raw ingredients that make Hillside Farms Dairy Store a well-founded Wyoming Valley tradition since 1977. Or the fact that you can also pick up a weekly grocery order or milk and cheese while you’re there for dessert.

It’s nostalgia and tradition.

Name your season and there’s a reason: a Back Mountain fall foliage walk with a waffle cone of pumpkin; a snowy January Saturday in the country and a comforting cup of butter pecan; a summer wagon ride and double dip of strawberry and blueberry cheesecakes. There’s a rich coconut cream that will make you feel like you’re in your favorite bakery, and delicious standbys like Rum raisin and White House cherry.

Let’s not forget Cow Tracks and Horse Hoofs – it’s a dairy with a sense of humor.

A single scoop of hard ice cream costs $2.20. A small soft runs $1.50.

Tell us the ice cream you prefer by going to www.timesleader.com and posting your favorite in the comments area with this story.

NEXT WEEK:

Burgers

and Hot Dogs

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