Best Ice Cream Parlor

Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream

It's not ice-cream store; why is ice cream served in a parlor? Parlor — or parlour if you want to be all Oxford about it — is derived from parle, or "to talk," which indicates that the parlor is a room where people gather to talk. In Latin, one supposes. Granted, it has a nicer ring than a more vernacular "ice-cream joint" (like burgers) or the insidiously banal "ice-cream place," but the distinctly American usage of parlor means just that: a place. The only other food served in a "parlor" is pizza (or at least that's the only one that comes to mind); outside of that, only beauty, tattoos and funerals are served in parlors. The word's a holdover from another age that didn't get mangled like iced cream (we've since dropped the "D"). In the end, etymology is far less important than food, and food, really, is far less important than dessert. Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream earns this honor by keeping it simple: The parlor concentrates its efforts on ice cream (along with hot dogs, brats and the odd chocolate-dipped frozen banana), made with simple, natural ingredients. Flavors range from the Neapolitan standbys (that's fresh strawberry, with chunks) to St. Louis-centric Gooey Butter Cake — which, as you might expect, is brilliant. While you're there, chat with owner Beckie Jacobs, pitch new flavors, discuss local purveyors or talk about the weather. After all, parlors are for talking. And eating.

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