Local ice cream shops provide sweet treats for summer



Josh and John’s Colorado Cookies and Cream wins best local ice cream.

Maelyn Barber, Managing Editor

The sun boils down and the light breeze carries through a clear blue sky. As I approach the small counter, sweetness rises into the air surrounding a menu of delicious possibilities. As summer inches closer and the weather gets hotter, there is only one question on the mind of ice-cream fanatics across Fort Collins : Which ice-cream place do I go to?

Churn Old Town Fort Collins 

An enormous tan bucket has towered over the bustling crowd of Old Town Fort Collins since 2015. This bucket is not just an impressive visual landmark but harbors sweet, salty, creamy ice creams and is the venue for Churn.

When I walked up to the metal counter all around the gigantic cylinder I saw small windows each accompanied with blue and white striped valances. Beside the register window hung a bunch of colorfully painted wooden rectangles; these signs made up their menu.

Each night  they offer 16 flavors, some consistent—such as vanilla bean and salted Oreo—with others coming and going with the seasons, such as  Pumpkin Chai and Gingersnap. They offer a couple of vegan options every night, including vegan salted Oreo and vegan hot cocoa. Although it is not clearly labeled on their menu, they provide gluten free options as well. They offer classic toppings such as rainbow sprinkle, Oreo bits, and peanuts, and they have waffle cones and sugar cones, either of which can be dipped. 

I looked out at a luscious grass area and string lights that danced like stars in the sky. The grass area provides a nice space for seating. Additionally, there are  colorful chairs, tables with umbrellas and tents to sit in if you need a break from the sun. It’s also convenient, surrounded by a multitude of other businesses such as Old Town Putt, Chicken Cone, and Penrose. 

Churn offers options besides just ice cream. They offer 4-5 different types of ice cream sandwiches, and sundaes, shakes, and banana splits. They have 2-3 fruity sorbets, like cherry-lime and orange. 

As an added bonus they are so pet friendly that they have dog friendly ice cream. Or as they like to call it “Pup cups.” 

My small cup of salted oreo ice cream was $6 and the most expensive out of all the other places on this list. It  came in a small white cup that was so small that it was a little hard to eat out of without ice cream dripping out of it. The first bite had some ice crystals in it, so I had to wait for it to thaw out a little bit. Once it thawed out, it was the perfect mix of saltiness and sweetness. The ice cream itself was salty but the Oreo pieces brought some sweetness to it. 

Quality 4/5
Variety 5/5
Location 5/5
For people with food allergies 4/5
Price 4/5 


Josh and John’s Jessup Farms 

Josh and John’s has four other locations sprinkled throughout Colorado, including locations in Colorado Springs and Loveland. The original Josh and John’s was opened in Colorado Springs in 1986 by John Krakauer. 34 years later, in May 2020, a new Josh and John’s was opened in Jessup Farms.

Strolling down the sidewalk, I was greeted by a chocolate colored barn-like building. Bright purple paint  filled the high ceilinged space. Sweetness wafted through the air as I looked beyond the counter to see workers scooping their homemade flavors into waffle cones and cow patterned cups. The place had an endearing charm to it with country music playing softly in the background.

Sitting on a green metal stool at a long hardwood table, I looked behind me to see a giant chalkboard. It had a fun trivia question on it (it’s changed daily). This little touch was nice because it serves as a good conversation starter if you go with others. Because all of their ice cream is homemade, it is really creamy and avoids some of the ice crystals you might get at other places.

My small Colorado Cookies and cream was really creamy. The chunks of Oreo cookie were bigger compared to Churn and Walrus. There were even some whole cookies mixed in. The coldness of the ice cream was refreshing on a hot day; however, it was not too cold. Small cups are one scoop of ice cream and start at $4.75 and the price goes up $1 per scoop you add. 

Josh and John’s provides 14 different flavor choices, eight of which are gluten free; they offer two vegan options that change frequently. On top of this they have a QR code on the menu which will inform customers of what each of their ice cream recipes entail. By making extra efforts to be allergy sensitive, the company is incredibly accessible for all customers. Even though Josh and John’s did have some toppings, their choices only consisted of fudge, caramel and gummy bears.

Josh and John’s presents a variety of other sweets besides ice cream such as custom ice cream cakes. On their website any one of their flavors can be turned into a shake. 

They offer pints of all their ice cream flavors and ice cream sandwiches that are  grab and go.

Although I love the homemade country concept of Josh and John’s, the location is a little bit of a downfall. It stays tucked away in the middle of a quiet road. If people don’t know about it in some other way, it is easy to miss. It has a little outdoor seating area with some rocks, patio chairs, and lights; however, there are not many and the view is a street and a bunch of houses, a loss compared to Churn which showcases the lively energy of Fort Collins. 

Quality 5/5
Variety 4/5
Location 2/5
For people with food allergies 5/5
Price 5/5


Walrus Old Town Fort Collins 

Walrus is an iconic novelty of Fort Collins and legend says that the Dinnebeck family haunts the grounds of the shop. It only has one location in Old Town and is the oldest ice cream place in the area being around since 1987. The building is filled with wacky artwork, family friendly games, gumball machines, and on top of all of this  a tall bulletin board that contains  advertisements for other local events near the seating area. Walrus makes for an enjoyable college hang out as it is close to the CSU campus and provides fun pop songs as music. 

I appreciate that Walrus has a good mix of flavors that stay the same  and  ones that change. They always offer 20 flavors; half of the flavors never change while the other half are swapped out every day. For the daring souls there’s always the choice of a joke flavor. The plot twist? You can’t try it beforehand. Some past examples have included Unlucky Charms, which is banana ice cream with jalapenos, garlic, black eyed peas and salt, and Spring Has Sprung, which is rose ice cream with soy sauce, garlic, gojuchang chili and a spring roll. The joke flavor changes monthly.

The majority of Walrus’ flavors are gluten free unless they have ingredients containing gluten, whereas Josh and John’s and Churn’s ice creams aren’t guaranteed to be gluten free. They provide 4 dairy free and vegan options. Customers can create multiple combinations using the wide variety of delicious toppings. Walrus has 4 types of cones and 35 different toppings ranging from syrup, fruits, candy, and nuts. Although they are pretty allergy friendly the flavors do not have clear labels beside them like Churn or Josh and John’s.

For people who don’t want to eat ice cream, Walrus still supplies a wide variety of different desserts. Some examples include cotton candy, floats, edible cookie dough, canned soda, and coffee. Any one of their ice cream flavors can be turned into a shake or an ice cream cake. 

Despite Walrus’ having a fun spirited nature to it and being a great tourist attraction because it is so iconic, my $5 small chocolate Oreo ice cream was a bit more icy compared to other places. When I bit into my cup it was surprisingly cold. The Oreo pieces were few and far between and tasted bland. I don’t know if it was worth it because by the time I had finished the back of my mouth felt a little freezer burned.

Quality 3/5
Variety 5/5
Location 4/5
For people with food allergies 4/5
Price 3/5