Kids generally take charge as customers in ice-cream shops. Things are no different at Hartigan's, where children place orders by stomping or jumping up to the counter and confidently pointing to a particular tub of frozen flavor behind the glass case. Unlike their parents, they are probably not charmed by the quaintness of the shop, which is reminiscent of a Midwestern bed-and-breakfast with pale-blue walls, hanging baby-blue flower baskets and wooden cows placed haphazardly behind the counter. Black-and-white portraits of young ones hang on the wall above navy vinyl booths, and the tall silver tables with blue vinyl stools are great seating for watching passersby.
You can go for the boring old mint chocolate chip or cookie dough (which, along with all of the other Cedar Crest ice-cream flavors, can be hand-packed into pints or gallons), or order a real treat from the Sundae Board. No wonder the kids go crazy with names like Bubbly Brigid's Brownie Ala Mode ($4.75), two scoops of ice cream on a brownie with hot fudge, nuts and whipped cream; and Haley's Hellacious House Boat ($5.75), a banana spilt with three scoops and three toppings. The Soda Fountain board includes classic ice-cream sodas, black cows and smoothies, which can all be decadently downed while picking at a two-scoop-topped Belgian waffle ($8.50).
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala