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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Ice cream
Counter service

Sun–Thu noon–9:00pm
Fri–Sat noon–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards None

Glover Park
2416 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 333-3111
Max’s Best Ice Cream
Retro without the chic, this might be DC’s best ice cream

Max’s packs big flavor into unassuming plastic cups, which match the unassuming location, décor, and service of this gem of an ice cream shop. You’ll often find Max himself behind the counter, waiting impatiently as you try to decide between the hazelnut and the chocolate chip. It’s funny how gruffness is so much more palatable when the ice cream is this delicious.

From the outside, the Glover Park creamery looks like a relic of 1950s suburbia—Norman Rockwell on acid. Neon-tube contraptions, including an OPEN sign and a dripping ice cream cone, deck out the picture windows. The plastic spoons come in shades of bright pink and lime, and the cash register is analog. Just when you’re expecting the kind of dairy-and-fake-fruit-syrup scoop served even at retro diners, however, Max’s throws you for a loop: these are some of the cleanest, freshest tastes in town.

Vanilla, coffee, and other creamy flavors are deliciously rich, and the fruitier flavors possess an uncanny lightness. Blueberry sorbet, for example, is colored by the fruit itself, and tastes as if it’s been made with fresh berries rather than the syrupy concentrate that’s too often used.

Max’s differs from a typical modern ice cream operation in other ways as well. Its selection is meager compared to the near-infinite medley available in many shops. A set of decorated wooden plaques pegged to a wooden board lists the flavors of the day, and the plaques are removed when the supply runs out.

Another thing you’re unlikely to see within 100 miles of the eastern seaboard? No matter your age, Max’s bubble gum ice cream is a treat.

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