Valley boasts most ice cream shops in America

By Jessica Hardin


Brutal heat waves and bitter polar vortexes keep many Americans inside, but no type of extreme weather keeps Youngstown residents from venturing out for ice cream.

And today, on National Ice Cream Day, we have the data to back it up.

The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman area has more ice cream parlors per capita than any city in America, according to data from Infogroup.

Infogroup looked at urban clusters with populations more than 500,000 people. The Youngstown area has 63 ice cream parlors, or 1.169 for every 10,000 people.

Some people enjoying ice cream on Friday speculated that Youngstown residents love ice cream because of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt. The ice cream shop was founded here in 1945 on Handel’s Court near Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard and has seven locations in the Mahoning Valley.

“It’s just really good. It’s creamy, and it’s locally owned. You’re helping somebody from the Valley,” said Amy Dean, of McDonald.

Sue Reese lives in Cincinnati but visits Handel’s when she comes to town. “I worked here in grade school,” she said Friday. Her favorite flavor is chocolate peanut butter.

But Robert Herron of Oxford doesn’t have a favorite spot – he likes to try different ice cream shops.

Benjamin Carter of Youngstown agrees: “You’ve got the different varieties. It’s not just Handel’s. You’ve got Dairy Queen and there are other spots, too.”

Local ice cream lovers guess that weather plays a role, too. In blistering heat, ice cream is a favorite way to cool off.

The Dairy Queen on Belmont Avenue is perfectly situated across the street from the Northside Pool. Dozens of children took a break from swimming Friday afternoon to grab a cone.

But Youngstown residents’ love of ice cream isn’t limited to the hot months.

During the freezing temperatures this past winter, Handel’s closed early one day.

“People were mad!” exclaimed Kim Morris, who works at the Handel’s on Belmont.

As temperatures rise into the 90s this weekend, it’s safe to bet that many Youngstown residents will be celebrating National Ice Cream Day with their favorite frozen treat.