When the crowds of Ivanhoe’s overwhelm you and Sophie’s has shut down for the season, there’s another place you can turn to for a sweet treat.
Located on Washington St. in downtown Marion, Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe offers a unique atmosphere to enjoy a hearty scoop of ice cream with friends.
Ashley’s doesn’t immediately look like a casual ice cream shop. With its marble pillars, Greco-style mural and arched ceilings, you initially feel like you’re walking into a bank.
But instead of a teller’s counter, you’re greeted by a friendly ice cream scooper who offers insight into the best flavors of ice cream and milkshakes to enjoy.
When finding a seat, you’ll find bistro-style tables that match the aesthetic of the interior and reclining chairs where you can kick your feet up for a while.
Laid out all around are card games, coloring books and board games for you to enjoy while you eat your dessert. A small section of puzzles and board games are also available for purchase from Jigsaw Junction, a retail store owned by the same Ashley of Ashely’s Ice Cream Cafe.
As for ice cream, Ashley’s offers over a dozen different hard dip flavors you can enjoy in a cup or cone, mixed into a sundae or in a float or milkshake.
Seasonal flavors like pumpkin pie are perfect for the autumn weather, whereas the classics of cookie dough, deer tracks and cake batter can be enjoyed year-round.
The shop even offers a few different coffee and hot chocolate options, including a loaded Ghirardelli hot cocoa topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. A 16 ounce cup of this costs only $3.75.
Scoops of traditional hard dip ice cream are priced similarly at only $3.00 for a small scoop. A sampler dish of four ice cream choices, perfect for sharing with friends, comes out to $5.50.
Unfortunately, Ashley’s has yet to offer a wide variety of non-dairy options. However, a dairy-free strawberry swirl flavor made with oat milk does stand out on the menu.
Not ready to make the drive to Marion just for a delicious scoop of well-priced ice cream? In only a few short weeks, Ashley’s will be opening an escape room perfect for pick-a-dates or a rainy afternoon. After, you can split a dish with your date. I recommend the caramel cappuccino for a subtle coffee-flavored dessert.
This cafe is family-friendly, offering a small kids zone with tiny chairs and tables and the occasional fun activity such as the Halloween scavenger hunt they hosted on Oct. 30.
Overall, the 20-minute drive to downtown Marion is well worth it for a creamy scoop of ice cream eaten in a unique atmosphere.
Though indulging in a bowl of Monster Cookie Crunch will leave your tongue stained blue for a few hours, you’ll also leave Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe with a full belly, itching to come back and try all they have to offer.
Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe is located on 402 S. Washington St., and is open Monday–Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Updates on their upcoming escape room and fun seasonal flavors can be found on their Facebook page at Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe.
I rate Ashley’s Ice Cream Cafe 4/5 scoops.