The mere mention of Jilly’s brings the following words and phrases to mind: Decadent. Ridiculous. Indulgent. Tempting. Over the top.
Surely by now you’ve heard of Jilly’s colossal cupcakes. You know, the bigger-than-you-head stuffed cupcakes smothered by an avalanche of sugary buttercream and more toppings than you’d put on an ice cream sundae? With these suckers weighing in at about a pound (!!) a piece, we’re not even sure you can call it a cupcake anymore. But don’t get us wrong … they’re good. Really good. As in, probably some of our favorite cupcakes jumbocakes in St. Louis.
So when Jilly’s decided to get into the ice cream business, we were sold. What could be better than artisan ice cream inspired by their beloved cupcake flavors? As far as rich, overly indulgent ice cream goes, Jilly’s is about as good as it gets.
We sampled the Birthday Cake, Peach Cobbler and Funnel Cake flavors, which happened to be the August Flavors of the Month. All were velvety in texture, heaping in portion size, and one of a kind in flavor.
The Birthday Cake — pink-tinted vanilla ice cream studded with rainbow sprinkles and birthday cake crumbles — was some of the best cake batter-type ice cream we’ve ever had.
The spot-on taste of the Peach Cobbler — peach-vanilla ice cream dotted with cinnamon-oatmeal streusel pieces and chunks of roasted peaches — made us think we actually were eating a bowl of Mom’s famous warm peach cobbler with melty vanilla ice cream oozing through its cracks.
Much to our disappointment, though, was the Funnel Cake — French vanilla ice cream swirled with vanilla buttercream, powdered sugar and funnel cake bits. Question: How does one still retain the undeniable taste and mouthfeel of the classic fair food fresh out of the fryer in ice-cream form? Answer: You don’t. The pieces of funnel cake were dense, chewy and nearly inedible.
It’s hard to mess up a scoop of ice cream in a cup, so this is almost a freebie category. The bits and pieces mixed into the frosty concoctions were big enough to be noticeably visible in the scoops, a clear indication of what flavor you’re about to dig your spoon into.
Jilly’s interior is so damn bright and cheery, you’d think you stepped into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. (RIP Gene Wilder.) It’s a magical escape from the real world, even if only for a bit as devour the cup, cone, sundae, etc., of your choosing. (More on that below.)
You’d be hard pressed to find more unique, far-ranging flavors at other ice cream parlors in the area. You can design your own sundae, choosing the scoops, chunkage, sauces, and toppings. Or if that’s choice overload — and we know a thing or two about that! — let Jilly’s decide for you with a signature sundae. On the lighter side of things (ha!), you can get your one-, two-, three-, or side-by-side ice cream scoop(s) in a cup. Or a cone. Or a waffle cone. Really, this frozen fantasy world is your oyster.
But wait, that’s not all! For those who want the best of both ice cream and cupcakes, Jilly’s whips up Ice Cream Cupcakes, chef Casey Shiller’s take on some of their most popular cupcake flavors in which the cupcake’s filling and frosting is replaced with — you guessed it — ice cream.
Sadly, all of this deliciousness comes with a hefty price tag. Our two scoops in cups set us back a little more than $7. We could chalk it up to “you get what you pay for,” but $7 for a couple of scoops seems a little excessive.
Customer Service: 4
In typical ice-cream parlor fashion, Jilly’s plays it casual with counter service. The friendly and helpful employees serve up scoops with a smile and move through the ever-present line fairly quickly. However, improvement could be made in the limited hours — Monday-Thursday & Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re looking for a noteworthy ice cream experience with distinctive flavors yet to be replicated elsewhere, go to Jilly’s. Ice cream this outstanding is worth every calorie. #ScoopsUp!
If You Go…
Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar
608 N. McKnight
St. Louis, MO 63132