Princeton has a thing for ice cream. A decade ago there was just Halo Pub and Thomas Sweet. Recently the fourth ice cream shop opened, and in addition, there are two frozen yogurt shops in town. Princeton has the most amount of frozen dessert shops in all of Mercer County.
Considering these shops all serve frozen desserts, they all offer a specialty that makes them unique. Is there a clear demographic that favors each shop? Based on polling a couple of dozen people and pure observation, more adults frequent the Bent Spoon, but overall it seems like a mixed bag. Some frequent a few of the shops, each time looking for something different. Variety is the spice of life, so hopefully they will all flourish providing Princetonians and visitors a diversified selection of ice cream and froyo.
Here’s a break down of what these shops have to offer.
- Halo Pub – Their ice cream is made from non-hormonal and non-antibiotic dairy products from their farm. They offer a wide variety of common single flavors and blended flavors at a reasonable price. They also sell soft serve and sorbet. Years ago they acquired the store front next door, and expanded adding their patisserie Halo Fête. There’s some indoor seating in this section that has more of a café feel compared to the pub-like atmosphere where the ice cream is served. Shaded outdoor seating can found at Palmer Square.
- Thomas Sweet – The home of the blend-in. They will make custom blended ice cream for you with ingredients like York Peppermint Patties, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms, Kit Kats and more. The Nassau Street shop has indoor seating with a fun house mirror and hand drawn murals painted directly on the walls. There’s also outdoor seating, and some sit on the grass under shady trees. (Multiple locations)
- The Bent Spoon – Organic ice cream, sorbet, and ice cream/sorbet cakes using local ingredients offering unique flavors like lavender mascapone or raspberry goat cheese is their draw. The portions are smaller making this a more expensive treat, but many think it’s worth it. Visiting European friends of mine told me it’s the best they’ve had. They also sell mini cupcakes and cookies. There’s limited seating inside, but you could sit outside on the benches at Palmer Square.
- Uncle Louie G’s Italian Ice and Ice Cream – The new kid on the block sells ice cream and Italian ices. Some of their other flavors have blend-ins like their Pina Colada Italian ice with shredded coconut, which sets them apart from other Italian ices. There’s limited seating, and the exterior has a classic striped awning that’s very inviting. (Multiple locations)
- Fruity Yogurt – Frozen yogurt, bubble tea, smoothies, and shaved ice makes this froyo shop different. (Multiple locations)
- Twist – Yogurt Without Limits – Frozen yogurt by weight. Pour it, top it, weigh it, pay it. Beware! You serve yourself, so it can be pricey if you take too much froyo or heavy toppings. They have ongoing art exhibits, and a cozy lounge atmosphere with ample seating.