Frozen sweets date back to ancient China, when the wealthy first mixed fruit juice and snow. You won't catch anything that lo-fi at any of these ice cream shops; crafting America's favorite cold dessert has come a long way. To succeed now, you have to deliver when it comes to the standard flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) and really wow the critics with left-of-center, often savory flavors (more than one shop on this list puts bacon in their product).

From coast to coast we looked for the greatest, the shops that pull out all the stops to hit you with memorable portions, unforgettable flavors, and tastes that linger in your memory long after you've finished your waffle cone. These are the 25 Best Ice Cream Shops in the U.S.