Ice cream is great. Things that come to you are great. Things that sing are great. Therefore: Ice cream trucks are the greatest. Let’s celebrate one of summer’s best treats by taking a look at some of the weirdest and most wonderful ice cream trucks on Yelp.
Let’s start with one of the most iconic ice cream trucks around: Mister Softee. If you grew up or live in the Northeast, you’re probably familiar with the hyper-infectious earworm that is “The Mister Softee Jingle”. Mister Softee has been serving up its distinctive brand of soft-serve ice cream since 1956 with no signs of stopping. If you’re in a Softee-friendly state, you might have a hard time finding one but Mister Softee will have no problem finding you — just listen for the jingle.
Trivia time: The ice cream jingle was invented (supposedly) by Good Humor in the form of jingle-jangly sleigh bells so that potential patrons would hear his fleet coming from a ways off. Later innovators replaced them with simple cylinders — kinda like the guts of a palm-sized music box — and the rest is history.
Once you’ve cooled off, consider warming up your pipes for a round of karaoke at Treatbot, the Karaoke Ice Cream Truck. Treatbot’s ased in San Jose and mobile throughout the Bay Area. They encourage visitors to belt out a few tunes while they gruffle down handmade ice cream and a variety of baked goods (and sometimes both at the same time, if you like to live dangerously).
Trivia time: “Soft serve” ice cream — like the kind you might get at Carvel or out of the back of a Mister Softee — was inspired by the partially-melted ice cream you’d get from early ice cream trucks. Mobile ice boxes weren’t as cold as immobile ones, so the ice cream would be a little bit meltier and, for many, a lot tastier.
If you like to pair old school nostalgia with a modern taste for graphic design, check out the Recess Truck. LA Yelpers swear by the Cookie Monster ice cream, a tempting blend of cookies & cream and chocolate chip cookie dough. You can also, coincidentally, eat it as a sandwich between two other cookies. Yeah. … Yeah.
Trivia time: Ice cream trucks might seem like quintessential Americana, but there’s hardly a hot place on Earth in you can’t find ice cream on wheels. In Cambodia and Thailand, you’ll probably get it out the sidecar of a motorcycle. Peruvians get their ice cream from a bicycle — and according to Wikipedia, they get attention by blowing a good old-fashioned trumpet. In the rest of the English-speaking world, you might call them “ice cream vans”.
Everyday is like “sundae” (sorry) at The Orange Cow, serving residents and probably the occasional congressperson, in the DC area. You can’t miss the truck. It’s bright orange. The signature flavor on scoop at The Orange Cow is Coffee Oreo, which pairs a caffeine kick with a classic cookie. DC Yelpers love it to bits.
Trivia time: The Oxford English Dictionary isn’t 100% sure where the word “Sundae” comes from, but it’s probably what you think — derived from “Sunday.” Almost half a dozen towns and cities claim to be the home of the first ice cream sundae, all around the late 19th century. If you’re interested in going down a deep, deep Wikipedia hole… be our guest.
Turns out “cream” isn’t the most important part of “ice cream”. Residents and event-goers of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut might cross paths with Like No Udder’s ice cream truck. The owners know it better as “Betsy Loo.” They’re confident that they’re the world’s first all-vegan soft serve ice cream truck. You can try all of your favorite flavors with none of the dairy.
Trivia time: Ice cream trucks aren’t the only vehicles that use a friendly jingle to get the attention of the public. In Taiwan, residents share responsibility for trash collection. Garbage trucks come by, play their song, and everybody takes out the trash. We assume they’re getting rid of their (we assume) empty ice cream cartons. The song of choice in the capital, Taipei? Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” Because garbage collection is 100% a somber time and “The Entertainer” would be just plain inappropriate.
It’s easier to get found by an ice cream truck than to find one. But if the weather’s warm and you’ve got paved roads where you are, there’s one on the way. Check Yelp to find your community’s favorites or to find a parked truck near you.