Denver Frozen Custard
Ratings & Reviews
By Molly Kalafut
Growing up in Wisconsin, frozen custard was the normal standard and ice cream was the exception. There were dozens of good frozen custard stands in the area. It wasn't until I moved to Colorado that I learned other areas of the country are no so fortunate. This guide is my attempt to help other Denver locals find good frozen custard!
My ranking of the frozen custard shops in Denver:
1. CJ's Frozen Custard
#1 CJ's Frozen Custard
(Chocolate, Vanilla, Flavor of the Day)
Address: 9231 E Lincoln Ave. #300 Lone Tree, CO
While this can be a drive (Lincoln exit on I-25 past Highlands Ranch), the custard has a nice thick texture, good flavor and is slow to melt. They offer a daily flavor in addition to chocolate and vanilla. They also offer a variety of sundaes, twisters and toppings. They are also one of the oldest custard places in the Denver area. My favorite is their turtle, or a mixed blend twister with chocolate frozen custard, cherries and bananas. I believe this is also the oldest frozen custard stand in the Denver area.
#2 Cloud 9 Frozen Custard
Address: 4300 E 8th Ave Denver CO
I tried Cloud 9 for the first time in January 2005 and it happily and unexpectedly shot up to #2 in my list of favorite frozen custard places. While I am still disappointed they only offer chocolate and vanilla flavors and no flavor of the day, I got hooked and addicted to the "Yertle", their version of the turtle but with a remarkably sweet, crunchy glazed butter coating to their pecans.
Aside from the Yertle there are many other fine aspects. The custard is dense and flavorful. Cloud 9's vanilla custard is now my favorite vanilla custard in Denver. Their other sundaes are good too; the "strawberry banana" is one that I like and my husband almost always gets the "Home Run" which is butterscotch, fudge and peanuts. The "polar eclipse" is their name for mixing flavors into the custard. They are made large and well, with decent sized chunks of the toppings mixed in. The one downside is that they don't offer cherry as a topping for mixing in.
#3 Fergies Frozen Custard
Address: 200 Quebec St Denver CO
This is a cute little shop in the newly developed Lowry area, surrounded by other equally cute and upscale boutiques. I wanted to like it - I really did - but the custard was full of ice crystals, toppings I wanted weren't available and the girl at the counter argued with me over a cherry on top of the sundae.
Fergies has a number of sorbets but only two flavors of custard - chocolate and vanilla. A note posted explained almost any flavor could be created using their extensive list of toppings. Unfortunately, the one topping I chose from the list (peach) turned out to be "unavailable during winter". I disagree with their statement as well - all you have to do is try one of the excellent special flavors from CJ's and you'd realize that you can't get the same infused flavors from just "mixing in" a topping.
The worst part is the chocolate frozen custard in my sundae was filled with little ice crystal particles. When I drew my spoon across the surface, instead of a smooth and creamy look the texture was broken by many tiny little holes. I've never encountered ice crystals in fresh custard before - only melted-then-refrozen custard.
Argued About Cherries
I was offered the choice of whipped cream on my turtle sundae, but after asking for a cherry on top I was informed cherries are only put on hot fudge sundaes. She gave me the cherry but continued arguing that it was a special exception because turtles don't get a cherry. What's the point of whipped cream on a sundae if there's no cherry on top? (As a note, all the other custard places provide a cherry with their turtles - Cloud 9, Good Times, CJs and the Daily Scoop).
Not All Bad
To be fair, the place wasn't all bad. There were a number of interesting and unique choices for sundaes and mixes. My sundae had nice thick hot fudge and caramel, and the pecans were fresh and crunchy (unlike Good Times). The custard stayed dense and did not melt on the way home (unlike The Daily Scoop). My husband had a "dreamsicle" combination of custard, sorbet and orange soda that was very flavorful and interesting. I'm hoping it was just a bad day at the counter and for the custard. I'll go back another time and see if the ice crystals were a mistake.
#4 Good Times
(Vanilla, Flavor Of The Day)
Many locations around Denver
This is a fast-food hamburger/fries/onion rings chain that also offers frozen custard. They offer only vanilla and flavor-of-the-day and a variety of sundaes and toppings are available. The custard is run of the mill and the toppings are so-so. The pecans especially are of dubious and quality and may be either good and crunchy, or horribly soft and chewy.
#5 Daily Scoop
(Chocolate, Vanilla, 2 Flavors Of The Day)
Address: 3506 E 12th Ave Denver CO
The Daily Scoop falls to the bottom of the list because the custard melts insanely fast. By the time we get in the car and drive home only three blocks it melts into soup. Once I got a blend of frozen custard and bananas, and it was so melted when I got home my husband thought it was a drink, not custard. And yet on another occasion, when I got the blend of custard with bananas and cherries it was liquefied and the fruit was blended into such tiny pieces they had no flavor. In comparison, when driving home 30 minutes from CJ's Custard it still has a thick, frozen consistency. The Daily Scoop custard is bad, bad, bad.
Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond! By Molly Kalafut