With temperatures soaring far earlier and higher than normal, the first thing on many local minds is ice cream. And area creameries are eager to please them.
“It’s hot. People want ice cream,” said Port Charlotte’s Sweet Scoops manager John Wood.
When Netherlander Sharon Hooijkaas, co-owner of Punta Gorda ice cream parlor Zoet Sweet Boutique, first learned that July was America’s National Ice Cream Month, she smiled sweetly and quipped, “I thought every month was ice cream month.”
“The summertime is a little more quiet,” admitted Zoet co-owner Jordy Beumer. “But we sell a lot more shakes and fresh lemonades with these high temperatures.”
Like Zoet’s owners, Ron and Claudia Thomas keep the same hours year round at Punta Gorda’s award-winning Harbor Scoops, so as not to confuse customers. And they seem to suffer no summertime slowdowns.
“Summer is a good time for ice cream, of course, but it’s also super hot outside, so we do get busier later in the day,” Claudia said. “But since we have the ‘Punta Gorda Beach,’ we get traffic earlier also. Season starts to slow down a little in May (although not much this year), June is a little slower, but it picks up in July. After kids go back to school is when we have a little more time on our hands.”
Local independents with plenty of ice cream can be found from Venice to Punta Gorda and everywhere in between.
A Better Scoop (941-473-2650), 70 S. Indiana Ave., Englewood. Daily, 12:30 to 9 p.m.
Bob’s Twist N’ Shake (941-485-5152), 420 U.S. 41, Venice. Sunday to Thursday noon to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 10 p.m.
Ciao Gelato (941-445-5840), 317A W. Venice Ave., Venice. Daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cubby’s Homemade Ice Cream (941-637-9600), 264 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda. Monday to Friday 11 am. to 9 p.m., Sunday 3 to 9 p.m.
Harbor Scoops (941-505-8880), 150 Laishley Court, Unit 1111, Punta Gorda. Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ice Cream Gelato World (239-247-1503), 2686 Tamiami Trail, Unit 4, Port Charlotte. Daily, noon to 9 p.m.
Irving’s Coffee & Creamery (941-460-8542), 405 W. Dearborn St., Englewood. Monday to Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Kilwins (941-485-9500), 201 W. Venice Ave., Venice. Daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Made in the Shade (941-681-2204), 2411 S. McCall Road, Englewood. Summer hours Wednesday to Monday noon to 9:30 p.m.
Nokomis Groves (800-426-5274), 111 Albee Farm Road S., Nokomis. Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Shiver Shack (941-888-2738), 1139 Sumter Blvd., North Port. Monday to Saturday noon to 10 p.m., Sunday noon to 9 p.m.
The Soda Fountain (941-488-7600), 349 W. Venice Ave., Venice. Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Sweet Melissa’s (941-220-7651), 720 Albee Road W., Nokomis. Sunday to Thursday 1 to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 to 9 p.m.
Sweet Scoops (941-624-3051), 171 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. Daily, noon to 10 p.m.
Swirls-N-Curls (941-460-3805), 6945 Sunnybrook Blvd., Englewood. Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Town Center Ice Cream & Yogurt (941-624-3440), Port Charlotte Town Center mall, Unit 587, Port Charlotte. Saturday and Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Venice Avenue Creamery (941-488-0332), 249 W. Venice Ave., Venice. Daily, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Working Cow (941-639-6200), 1303 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda. Daily, noon to 10 p.m.
Zoet Sweet Boutique (941-769-1746), 27670 Bermont Road, Unit 2, Punta Gorda. Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Send restaurant and bar news and recommendations to columnist Sue Wade at email@example.com.