Durham’s Finest: Reviewing the best ice cream in Durham

By: Charlotte Holloway and Collin Phillips

Do you love ice cream as much as we do? Looking for the perfect scoop? We’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of the top three ice cream shops in Durham that you have to try and our go-to orders. 

Starting off with a bang, a Durham classic, loved by many: The Parlour.

The Parlour offers a variety of ice cream sundays. Photo courtesy of The Parlour

The Parlour is located in the heart of downtown Durham. In 2012 they ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money in an effort to open their own kitchen. Soon after, in 2013, their permanent location was established. The bustling downtown environment offers a fun and lively experience for people of all ages, and The Parlour is the perfect pit stop. At The Parlour, every scoop is handmade. They use only fresh ingredients and create flavors inspired by “the seasons, our favorite well-worn cookbooks, and our childhood ice cream memories.” Collin’s go-to order is The Brownie Sundae with Salted Butter Caramel ice cream. It comes topped with housemade brownie bites, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and a dusting of malt powder. Charlotte’s favorite flavors are Honey Lavender or Cookies and Cream in a sugar cone. The Parlour also offers seasonal flavors; this month they have Pumpkin Stracciatella. Go give it a try! 

Next up on our list is: LocoPops. 

Photo courtesy of Locopops


Established in 2005, LocoPops has become one of the most well known stops in Durham. In 2004, founder and owner, Summer Bicknell, traveled to Tlazazalca, Mexico to kickstart the LocoPops journey. There she learned about Mexican-style popsicles, called Paletas, and how to make them. She discovered Durham while stopping for gas on a road trip and decided it would be the perfect spot for her business, and we sure are grateful for that. LocoPops offers a variety of pops and ice cream flavors, from dairy to non-dairy to baby to pup pop. Charlotte’s favorite pop is the Mexican Chocolate flavor, but their Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is a close second. Collin’s favorite pop flavor is Cookies and Cream. Make sure to check out LocoPops when you’re in the area! 

Last but not least: Pincho Loco.

Photo courtesy of Pincho Loco


Pincho Loco founders Martha and Luis Morales intended to open a kabob restaurant, but after finding out the building they rented wasn’t suitable for a restaurant kitchen, they decided to open an ice cream shop. Martha and Luis are originally from El Salvador, the two included several Central American sweets on the Pincho Loco menu to bring their culture to Durham. One unique thing about Pincho Loco is that it’s completely family owned and operated, being exclusively run by Martha and Luis with help from their kids on the weekends. Pincho Loco has a huge assortment of flavors and varieties of ice cream. Charlotte’s favorite flavor is Cookies and Cream, and Collin’s favorite flavor is Salty Caramel Truffle. Definitely make sure to stop by Pincho Loco next time you’re in the 9th street area!

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