Best Ice Cream 

BIG DIPPER

Readers' Pick

There are few certainties in Missoula, but we've found one as dependable as the sunrise: If it's a gorgeous summer day, there'll be a line in front of the Big Dipper. This staple of the Missoula summer—and, since the counter's open year-round, fall, spring and winter—started in 1995 with only a used ice cream machine and a freezer in the back of the Kettlehouse Brewery. In the years since, the Dipper has gained national recognition in Food and Wine and Budget Travel, as well as in just about every regional publication. Even so, they refuse to rest on their laurels. In addition to offering up a slew of old favorites and innovative concoctions (mango jabanero sorbet?), they remain committed to their slogan: "If you can imagine a flavor...we can make it." As the Big Dipper basks in this year's win, we'll try to dream up some flavor to challenge them before next year's Best of Missoula. Big Dipper: 631 S. Higgins; 543-5722; bigdippericecream.com

FINALISTS:

2. Cold Stone Creamery: 3275 N. Reserve; 549-5595; coldstonecreamery.com

3. Dairy Queen: Multiple Locations; 549-6075; dairyqueen.com

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