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The Daily Wildcat


REVIEW: Best ice cream and gelato places in Tucson

Maddie French
Craving something sweet and cold? Check out some of the best ice cream and gelato places in Tucson to satisfy your craving.

With Tucson’s almost year-round warm weather, cold treats can be a pleasure any time. While ice cream and gelato are not the same thing, I think Tucson is home to some of the best sweet treats in the state.

As finals are just around the corner, here are some treats you can reward yourself with.

1.) Bella’s Gelato Shoppe

Located at 2648 E. Speedway Blvd. sits one of Arizona’s best gelaterias. Varying from gelato to homemade treats, the welcoming and vibrant environment serves as a weekend and weekday getaway.

Originally, Bella’s Gelato was never in the works.

“It came along because I wanted to have a healthy food truck,” owner Elizabeth Sebring said. 

After she realized that people typically “would buy a treat over something healthy,” she eventually decided to combine the two.

Sebring said something that sticks out to customers is her gelato is not made from a mix, which can be common, but it is actually authentic.

The shop’s bestseller happens to be triple dark chocolate, which I tried and it is as good as it sounds. The peanut butter cup is Sebring’s favorite as its rich consistency harmonizes perfectly with the other set of ingredients. 

Bella’s Gelato holds richness within its vast selection of products. However, what differentiates this place from many others is the environment the shop radiates.

“We want to make people feel welcome every time they come into our shop,” Sebring said. 

2.) The Screamery 

The Screamery, having three locations in Tucson and plenty of others around the state, should speak volumes about its demand. Having over twenty flavors of ice cream, some including ooey gooey buttercake and sweet cream honeycomb, almost screams “try me.”

Speaking to Linda Sarnoski, one of the founders of the Screamery, it was quite insightful to understand the relationship and story of the business. 

“I was an ice cream lover when I was younger,” she said. “However, growing up, I wanted an ice cream that didn’t have all those added chemicals.”

Sarnoski was referring to the many artificial flavors and chemicals that are added into a lot of ice cream products.

Screamery Ice Cream on Nov. 11. The Congress location has an outdoor patio for visitors. (Gracie Kayko)

“We’re able to infuse real flavors […] which allows us to use real ingredients in our creations,” Sarnoski said. 

The flavors she looks forward to the most are seasonal flavors such as peppermint chip, though flavors with nuts are popular, she said.

If you’re looking for ice cream with natural ingredients while still maintaining the consistency and passionate flavors within product, this is the place for you.

3.) Noodies

Although this place isn’t directly an ice cream shop or gelateria, the restaurant’s products were too good not to mention. Noodies serves fresh pasta with authentic sauces, but also happens to be the home of some of the best soft-serve gelato. 

Originally, the business was never supposed to have gelato or any kind of dessert for that matter, but an employee changed owner Carolyn O’Connor’s mind. 

“I had an employee who was passionate about ice cream. I love providing a space for people to be authentic, so long story short, I bought the products needed and it became really popular,” O’Connor said. 

Eventually, the pasta shop had to scrap the ice cream once that employee left as it was “taking up too much space.” After much thought, O’Connor decided it would make sense to do soft-serve gelato, which, in her words, was “a fun experiment.”

And it ended up being a hit.

Unfortunately, and fortunately, flavors tend to change every week, which for fans of particular flavors can be devastating but also exciting. 

“I love when we do matcha or salted carmel […] I love more floral flavors,” O’Connor said.

Located at 1730 E. Speedway Blvd., it’s a great, fun and close place for students to reward themselves after a long day of studying or exams.

4.) Roadhouse Cinemas

Last, but definitely not least, happens to be a place many people would be surprised to see on this list. Roadhouse Cinemas is mainly known for its movie and dining experience; however, many people tend to oversee their gelato.

In a conversation with Scott Cassell, the director of operations at Roadhouse Cinemas, it provided a whole new perspective on what gelato is and how unique the theater’s interpretation of the treat is. 

Roadhouse Cinemas offers food and movie screenings on Nov. 14. The theater is located on Grant Road in the Crossroads Festival. (Noor Haghighi)

“We wanted to have real gelato. What separates gelato from ice cream is the fact that it has a lower fat content, so it tastes better while still having that fat feel on the tongue,” Cassell said. “We get the product from Villa Dolce Gelato Italiano, which was started by an Italian family who wanted to create premium and authentic flavors within their gelato. They source real Italian gelato, made with traditional methods that are top quality.”

Cassell’s favorite flavor is the mint chocolate chip gelato. However, he recommends the cookies & cream and Belgian dark chocolate for “an enhanced experience.”

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About the Contributor
Gracie Kayko
Gracie Kayko, Multimedia Editor
Gracie Kayko is a senior at the University of Arizona studying journalism with a minor in marketing.