Get your licks in at these traditional ice-cream parlors

BIG DIPPERS

July 04, 1996|By Tamara Ikenberg | Tamara Ikenberg,SUN STAFF

When you heard the head-splitting melody coming closer and closer down your street, instead of covering your ears, you licked your lips.

The ice-cream truck was approaching, and sweet summer salvation was only moments away.

Nowadays, however, Mohammed has to go to the mountain. The good stuff is still there, but you may need to go a little out of your way. At least it's readily available, probably thanks to Baltimorean Jacob Fussel, who opened the first factory to produce ice cream in 1851 and soon opened factories in six other cities.

Here's the scoop on the best independent ice-cream stores in the area. Just think of the pounds you'll shed getting there.

Whether you prefer homemade, hard, soft-serve, hand-dipped, solid-colored or rainbow-swirled, these shops can satiate your ice cream needs.

Simmon's Store

2841 Snydersburg Road in Hampstead

(410) 374-2310

Direct your taste buds toward: Fresh fruit homemade ice cream

Out of the way and well worth it, Simmon's has been serving three homemade flavors -- chocolate, vanilla and whatever fruit is in season -- for 71 years.

Obsolete detergent boxes and an antique Ramon's Kidney Pills yellow thermometer are among Simmons' nostalgia gallery.

"I've kept it the same because it's a country store," says Marjorie Nagle, 79, who owns the store with her husband.

The strawberry ice cream is light, fluffy and melt-on-your tongue luscious. All the seasonal selections are made from fresh fruit.

Terry Scott, 35, has been coming to Simmon's since 1971. "I can remember when it was 5 cents for a dip, 10 cents for two dips," the Hampstead resident says.

Hoffman's

934 Washington Road, Westminster

(410) 857-0824

Direct your taste buds toward: Coconut Chocolate Chip homemade ice cream

Country home wallpaper and embroidered ice-cream cones set the modest tone for Hoffman's, which has been around since 1947.

"Way back, we started with four or five flavors," says owner Jeff Hoffman, whose grandfather founded the shop. Now they have about 32 flavors, Coconut Chocolate Chip being the most unusual. It's thick and rich, with the taste of a frozen Mounds bar. Old-fashioned milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes are also popular.

The ice cream is made on the premises, and Hoffman's patrons can taste it. Kathy Parker, 9, has been coming here for about seven years.

Gripping her French vanilla cone, she explains her favorite Hoffman's flavor. "It's like vanilla, but it has a little different taste," the Carroll County resident says. "You might think it tastes like banana, but it really doesn't."

Baugher's

289 W. Main St., Westminster

(410) 848-7413

Direct your taste buds toward: Peach homemade ice cream

Less likely to be passed on the roadside than the diminutive Simmon's and Hoffman's but also famous for homemade ice cream is Baugher's.

Now a country-style restaurant and sprawling outdoor market complete with robust watermelons and a variety of bright, fresh flowers, Baugher's started as an ice-cream shop in 1948.

"I'm just standing here dipping all the time," says ice-cream-bar-lady Barbara Harley, busily scooping flavors and weaving through co-workers.

Of the 18 flavors made in the basement, including banana, butterscotch and lemon custard, Lee-Ann Driver of Marriotsville has chosen peach.

L "The peach ice cream is out of this world," says Driver, 56.

The Dairy

Route 1 and Rossborough Lane, College Park

(301)405-1415

Direct your taste buds toward: Cookies (The Dairy's name for Cookies and Cream)

This gem of a hangout at the University of Maryland features homemade ice cream made on campus.

"In the evening when the classes get out, we really are slammed," says Jo Ann Belt, store supervisor.

Blackberry and coffee are among the favorite flavors, she says. On the unconventional side is Devil's Food; a pinkish ice cream crawling with chocolate chips, it is sharp, sweet and unique. The fruity black raspberry is creamy and tart.

Even Wisconsin ice-cream connoisseurs sing The Dairy's praises.

"Being from Wisconsin, I know about cows," says Barb Eichmann, a tourist from Milwaukee, while taking licks from her butter pecan cone. "We look forward to coming here more often now that we're parents of a student."

For a taste of the area's best non-homemade independent stores, chill out at the following:

The Olde Malt Shoppe

635 E. Fort Ave., Baltimore

(410)752-3680

Direct your taste buds toward: Yoo Hoo Spritz and other soda fountain creations

If you're looking for an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor, look no further.

The Olde Malt Shoppe is steeped in nostalgia as well as creative caloric concoctions.

A classic, "Happy Days" America comes to life through $l Coca-Cola paraphernalia, cushioned booths and a checkerboard floor.

From the Crazy Vanilla, a swirling pastel rainbow that could be called psychedelic ice cream, to the thick shakes and traditional flavors, the store offers a delicious variety.

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