Table of Contents
- 1 Cibik’s Dairy Island, Chagrin Falls
- 2 Cooper’s Twist and Shake, Eastlake
- 3 East Coast Custard, Fairview Park
- 4 Falls Ice Cream, Olmsted Falls
- 5 Fenik’s Frozen Custard, Avon Lake
- 6 Foster’s Homemade Ice Cream, Willoughby Hills
- 7 Graeter’s Ice Cream, Beachwood
- 8 Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Akron
- 9 Honey Hut, Brecksville
- 10 King Kone, Chardon
- 11 Malley’s Chocolates, North Olmsted
- 12 Mary Coyle, Akron
- 13 Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, Avon
- 14 Rosati’s Frozen Custard, Northfield
- 15 Strickland’s Ice Cream, Akron
- 16 Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop, Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Oh — Sometimes those national “holidays” can seem a bit silly, but in the case of National Hot Fudge Sundae Day — celebrated on July 25 — we say, “Why not!?”
Something magical happens when thick, rich hot-fudge sauce is poured over ordinary vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
That got cleveland.com’s Best of Cleveland reporters Yadi Rodriguez and Brenda Cain wondering where, in Northeast Ohio, could the best hot fudge sundae be found. Sure, we cruised Yelp rankings and Best of Ohio guides, but we figured the real aficionados were our readers — so we asked them.
Where do Greater Clevelanders go to indulge in this sinful treat? Once a list from our readers was compiled, we hit the road and risked our waistlines — and glucose levels — to taste test the sundaes readers said were the best in all “The Land.”
We visited all of the ice-cream shops that received multiple nominations from readers. We ordered the basic hot fudge sundae on their menu — no extras. Sadly, many of the sundaes were served with luke-warm or cold fudge sauce, which was a major disappointment.
Sure, we had our favorites. Trying to be scientific about the taste-tests, we dissected the parts of the sundaes we ate and arrived at the following decisions:
Best hot fudge – Malley’s and Sweet Moses: Each of these shops make their own rich, creamy, chocolate-y fudge sauces in-house. Our team was split in its preferences. Malley’s hot fudge offered one of the smoothest consistencies and was decadently rich, which Rodriguez preferred. Sweet Moses’ fudge sauce was just that – fudge. Thick and ooey-gooey, it adhered nicely to the ice cream and the spoon and delighted Cain’s senses.
Best ice cream – The team agreed on the ice cream we tasted: Strickland’s was tops for soft-serve, while Foster’s won out in the hard-pack category. There is definitely something to be said for the richness of small-batch homemade ice creams. In both cases, the ice cream/custard’s rich flavor and smooth consistency really elevated the experience.
Best whipped cream – “I am a lover of whipped cream and a firm believer that a good whipped cream is essential to a good ice cream sundae,” said Rodriguez. Her choices for best whipped topping came down to a tie between Mitchell’s and Graeter’s — both of which make their own whipped topping. In both cases, it was light and fresh tasting. Cain is not a whipped cream aficionado, her only concern was how well it held up the cherry on top.
Best cherry – Speaking of cherries, most shops who topped their sundaes with the sweet red orb did so with the traditional Maraschino cherry — giving the award for the best fruit to Mitchell’s. Mitchell’s tops their sundaes with a fresh dark cherry rather than the preserved, sweetened variety.
Our choice for best overall Hot Fudge Sundae: Fall’s Ice Cream Shop. This tiny shop can be difficult to find, nestled at the rear of Olmsted Falls’ historic shopping district, but it is definitely worth the effort you’ll put forth to find it. This family-owned operation gave us the best bang for our buck: a large scoop of delicious old-fashioned vanilla ice cream, rich sweet hot fudge and a generous amount of salty chopped pecans all combined perfectly for a delicious bite.
Now that National Hot Fudge Sundae day is here — check out our readers’ compiled list below and then head out to celebrate the day with your own sweet treat.
Cibik’s Dairy Island, Chagrin Falls
Located at 8295 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls
Kid’s: $3; Small: $4.50; Medium: $5.50; Large: $6.50
Thoughts: You’ll need to dig deep for the hot fudge — which wasn’t hot — on this one. The creamy texture of the chocolatey topping was a surprise given the temperature. There was a mountain of whipped cream topping the standard soft-serve, not to mention a generous amount of crushed peanuts, but the amount of “hot” fudge topping was disappointing.
Cooper’s Twist and Shake, Eastlake
Located at 35766 Lakeshore Blvd., Eastlake
Small: $3.80; Medium: $4.30; Large: $4.80
Extras: Nuts (almonds, crushed, pecans, or Spanish peanuts) .80; toppings .60
Thoughts: Cooper’s Twist and Shake is a throwback to those of us of a certain age. If you are looking for a rich and generous sundae, give it a try. There was oodles of fudge and whipped cream covering the standard vanilla soft-serve, which had a pleasant flavor — but, sadly, the ‘hot’ fudge wasn’t hot, which was a disappointment. The whipped topping tastes more like homemade than many we sampled, but they do use a commercial whip. The fudge did have more of a dark chocolate flavor and was thick and rich. If you are ordering a small — and want nuts — there’s an extra charge. No charge for nuts on a medium or large.
*Note: This is a cash-only business
East Coast Custard, Fairview Park
Locations in Fairview Park, Lyndhurst, Mentor, Painesville, and Parma.
Child: $3.75; Regular: $4.50; Super: $5.65
Extras: Whipped cream, nuts .75; Pecans .85; Jimmies .60
Thoughts: You can always count on East Coast Custard to make a great frozen custard, which is the star of every dish they sell. But if you are looking for ‘hot’ fudge, don’t look here. The topping was generous, and creamy, with a pleasing flavor that was reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and it was “chilly” for such a warm afternoon. Nuts were an upcharge, as was the whipped topping — 75-cents extra for whip from a can.
Falls Ice Cream, Olmsted Falls
Located at 8094 Columbia Road, Olmsted Falls
Small: $5; Large: $6
Extras: .75 for extra candies, nuts, and sprinkles or $1 for extra fruits and chocolates
Thoughts: Not a lot of fudge, but the ice cream was a delicious old-fashioned vanilla, and a generous amount of salty chopped pecans made up this hot fudge sundae, and if you were lucky enough to get a spoonful of everything together, it was a tasty bite. Falls serves up one of the best hard ice creams we tasted. The saltiness of the pecans pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the fudge. And who can resist the cherry on top?
Fenik’s Frozen Custard, Avon Lake
Located at 684 Center Road, in Avon Lake
Small: $4.59; Medium: $4.99; Large: $5.49
Extras: additional toppings .75
Thoughts: Even when ordering a small, you get plenty rich vanilla custard, fudge and whipped cream to enjoy with this treat. The custard is the star, even though it is a little less rich than some of the others we tried. The ‘hot’ fudge was cold, and thick, but did have a deep chocolate-y flavor.
Foster’s Homemade Ice Cream, Willoughby Hills
Located at 30551 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills
Small: $4.45; Medium: $6.55; Large: $7.95
Extras: Pecans: .90; nuts: .60; whipped cream: .40; sprinkles: .40
Thoughts: Foster’s is an old-fashioned ice cream shop and they serve an old-fashioned sundae. You have your choice of soft-serve or hard ice creams — both made in-house. We opted for the hard serve which was fresh and flavorful, with a deep vanilla flavor. It was, literally, drenched in hot fudge, that was just as rich as the ice cream.
*Note: this is a cash-only business
Graeter’s Ice Cream, Beachwood
Locations in Crocker Park and Pinecrest
Traditional scoop: $6.25 Double scoop: $6.75
Extras: Additional topping or syrup $1
Thoughts: The Vanilla Bean ice cream made all the difference in this sundae. As much as we enjoyed the ice cream, this sundae left us asking, “Where is the hot fudge?” The ‘hot fudge’ was lukewarm at best, and was scarce. We wondered if it would have stood up to the ice cream, but with so little, it was hard to tell. The real star was the whipped cream – which tasted homemade and was rich and creamy. Large pecan pieces — and the cherry on top — finished it off nicely.
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Akron
Locations in Akron, Avon, Broadview Heights, Cuyahoga Falls, Medina, Northfield, Stow, and Twinsburg
One size: $4.95
Extras: Sprinkles .25; Mixed nuts .75; Pecans $1.25
Thoughts: This simple sundae was a solid offering of rich vanilla ice cream and silky not-so-hot fudge, but a nice break on a hot day. Handel’s was generous with the amount of rich fudge and whipped cream.
Honey Hut, Brecksville
Locations in Brecksville, Brunswick, Old Brooklyn, Parma, and Solon
Jr.: $3.15; Medium: $4.40; Large: $6
Extras: All additional toppings .75
Thoughts: Honey Hut makes all their own ice cream, with just a hint of honey, which somehow adds an even creamier texture to this sweet treat. The “hot” fudge was warm and very sweet as well, making this sundae almost too sweet.
King Kone, Chardon
Located at 10621 Grant Street, Chardon
Small: $3.50; Medium: $4.50; Large: $5.50 (for soft-serve)
Small: $3.95; Medium: $4.95; Large: $5.95 (for hand-dipped)
Extras: Pecans .95; Whole nuts/peanuts .60; Whipped cream .60
Thoughts: This is the sundae your family used to get on a Sunday afternoon drive — mounds of vanilla soft-serve, rich “warm” fudge and plenty of crunchy, salty pecans. Old-fashioned and a bit ordinary by today’s standards, but worth the drive.
Malley’s Chocolates, North Olmsted
Locations in Aurora, Bay Village, Lakewood, Mentor, and North Olmsted
Children’s: $3.40; Regular: $4.45; Jumbo: $5.40
Extras: From .45 for whipped cream or chopped walnuts to $1.10 for salted Pecans or Brownies (lots of others in between)
Thoughts: This sundae is the hot-fudge lovers’ dream come true. Even the small child’s portion is a sizable treat with plenty of melty vanilla ice cream and ooey, gooey fudge, which is made in-house. If fudge and ice cream will satisfy your sweet tooth, this is the sundae for you.
Mary Coyle, Akron
Located at 780 W. Market St., Akron
One size: $5.75 (two large scoops of vanilla)
Thoughts: The epitome of an old-fashioned sundae from an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Two large scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream and plenty of warm fudge, that is, amazingly, not too sweet. If you remember going for ice cream with your parents, this one is sure to be a walk down memory lane.
Locations in Avon, Beachwood, Ohio City, Rocky River, Solon, Southpark Mall, Strongsville, Uptown, Van Aken District, and Westlake.
Small: $5.75; Medium: $5.95; Large: $6.50
Extras: All extras .95
Thoughts: Everything at Mitchell’s is made in their facility — from the ice cream, the fudge sauce, and even the whipped cream — which really shone because it is thick and creamy, yet light. Mitchell’s vanilla ice cream was, typically, delicious and the hot fudge had actually been heated through and was more like homemade fudge your grandmother would have made than any others. Add in the salty Spanish peanuts and the black cherry and your have the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer’s day.
Rosati’s Frozen Custard, Northfield
Located at 95 E Aurora Road, Northfield
Small: $3.45: Medium: $4.25; Large: $5.25
Extras: All extras .75; Pecans $1.25
Thoughts: The silky-smooth vanilla custard really shines through the rich hot fudge. We could have done with a bit more hot fudge though to really be able to enjoy its rich chocolate flavor.
Strickland’s Ice Cream, Akron
Locations in Akron, Green, Cuyahoga Falls, Montrose and Streetsboro
Small: $3.50; Large: $4.70
Extras: Nuts .75; Extra toppings .50
Thoughts: The rich delicious vanilla custard and actual “hot” fudge was a bit over-powered by the large amount of whipped cream atop the dish, but is is a solid old-fashioned sundae with plenty of vanilla and rich chocolate to brighten anyone’s day.
Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop, Cleveland
Located at 6800 Detroit Ave., Cleveland
Regular: $5.95; Double: $7.95
Extras: Sprinkles .25; pretzel pieces .50; all other from .75-$1.25
Thoughts: Sweet Moses stakes its reputation on it’s old-fashioned soda shop atmosphere and homemade ingredients and their hot fudge sundae did not disappoint. The ice cream is clearly homemade and the fudge is thick and “chewy” — so thick, in fact, that it comes out of the dish in ribbons of deliciousness — just like you got as a kid.
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