Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream – Capitol Street, Charleston, WV
I dream about eating Ellen’s ice cream. I love it and have to have it. Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream has become a staple of downtown Charleston. It sits on the corner of Capitol Street and Brawley Walkway. Ellen Beal opened Ellen’s Ice Cream 10 years ago after buying the core recipes she still uses today. A vocal supporter of the city and a flutist of the Charleston Symphony she has found her calling churning such flavors as espresso oreo and mint chocolate chip. Seasonal favorites include pumpkin, egg nog, and dirty chocolate.
Ellen’s is a unique and there is nothing else like it in Charleston. The menu consists of 14 standard flavors from vanilla to raspberry chocolate chip. The later being the Vegetarian Wife’s favorite. My favorite is espresso oreo, which is cookies and cream in a coffee flavored ice cream. It is addictive. I tend to rotate to taste as many flavors as possible. There is always a gelato, sherbet and sorbet on the menu. They offer up tastes to help you make the perfect selection, and on this visit I failed to try the tiramisu flavored gelato. I had already made up my mind to get the mint oreo after seeing it on the sandwich board.
Raspberry Chocolate Chip
I ordered small waffle cone of mint oreo for $4.25 and it was promptly scooped by the always polite staff. Just like the mint chocolate chip the mint oreo is not bright green. It is a natural white with large chunks of cookie pieces. The ice cream is silky smooth with no ice crystals or off flavors from preservatives. I have never had a bad scoop of ice cream from Ellen’s. One of my favorite flavors was only around for a short time. In honor of the opening of the Clay Center and the Everest Film Ellen’s held a theme ice cream flavor contest. One of the winners was “Sir Almond Hillary” and it was amazing. I miss it.
Mint Oreo Waffle Cone
My kids have it bad when it comes to ice cream and Ellen’s. We made the mistake of stopping by after preschool one day and now everyday I get asked if we can go to Ellen’s. When they were younger they would play in the corner with the kitchen toys until their ice cream was soup. Now they gooble their kids sized scoops with rainbow sprinkles ($2.83) down and move in on mom and dad’s cones. At that moment I realized why some species eat their young!
Dutch Chocolate with Rainbow Sprinkles
Ellen’s not only serves ice cream by the scoop. They serve banana splits, milk shakes, sundaes and frozen yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant you can order an espresso or cappuccino from the coffee bar. If you like ice cream fusion you can order a sundae with a shot of espresso poured over it. It is an acquired taste. This ice cream joint also caters to the Capitol Street lunch crowd by serving some bohemian lunches, but that is a different review.
Bob Schwarz of the Charleston Gazette just wrote an in-depth article about Ellen Beal in the Charleston Gazette. He does a great job outlining her two passions, music and ice cream. If you dine in Charleston skip dessert and head down to Capitol Street for a cool cone of Ellen’s best. It is very easy to give Ellen’s a FIVE fork rating. If you are at Capitol Market be sure to stop by for a cone of their most popular flavors during the spring and summer months.
I can never believe it when I happen upon the rare soul who doesn’t share my obsession for ice cream. What’s that about? Ellen’s is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted and is definitely the best ice cream in Charleston. Maybe I shouldn’t be so bold as to make that comment when I’ve only really ordered two (maybe three flavors) for myself. But I’m pretty sure I’m right. I L O V E the raspberry chocolate chip. I also enjoy the pumpkin spice served in the fall. I have tasted the vanilla and dutch chocolate (both with rainbow sprinkles– thanks girls!)
I love the atmosphere of the place and the service is always really good. We even wrote Ellen a letter once telling her about how fabulous her staff is. I have to share this story. It was during the Special Olympics one summer when a bus load of people came and unloaded on Capitol Street about 2 minutes before they were ready to close. I think they had already even mopped the floor. But these teenagers did not roll their eyes and lock the door and flip off the lights. No way. They greeted each customer with the same helpful smile and ice cream recommendations. I was so pleased about that. And do you know what? Like a most awesome businesswoman, Ellen responded to our note by sending us one of her postcards (has a picture of her place painted by a local artist) and said, “thanks for your letter- I think they are fabulous too.” Forget about it– I’m sold forever with that service!
The Vegetarian Offspring had gotten into the habit of asking me every single day on the way home from daycare if we could stop there. Since I most always say no, now they just stare wistfully out the window as we pass and say, “Hi, Ellen’s.” Ellen’s gets FIVE FORKS. One for yummiest ice cream in town, one for the toy kitchen and little table for the kids, one for the ice cream fairies that hang from the ceiling, one for the cool seating, and one for scoops with a smile!