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Desserts may not be synonymous with summer in West Michigan, but they should be. True dessert devotees have long considered summer the peak sweets season. Why? The Midwest is in bloom once again and you can taste the difference. Fresh, locally sourced berries can once again top our ice cream and froyo. Of course, if you’d rather blanket your ice cream in graham cracker dust and rainbow sprinkles, we won’t judge.
Summer is indeed here and with it comes more daylight time to visit go-to local dessert destinations. Here’s where to start:
5021 W. Main St., Kalamazoo
This mom-and-pop shop located just outside of downtown Kalamazoo offers a tasty rotating selection of homemade frozen yogurt with more than 40 fresh toppings to boot. Froyo, for the uninitiated, is a healthy alternative to ice cream. Packed with protein, calcium and beneficial probiotics, Let’s Swirl is a guilt-free way to indulge your sweet tooth.
Let’s Swirls’ Facebook and Instagram pages are your best bets to finding daily specials and flavors, like Flat Rate days ($3.50 for a cup) and Progressive Saturdays (50-percent off your order from Noon-2 p.m., and then progressively lower discounts until close). College night extends into the summer, so bring your student ID for 40-percent off your order. And as always, you get a free 8 oz. on your birthday.
Sunday-Monday: Noon-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: Noon-11 p.m.
Sugar Mamma’sBakery & Café
6504 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
For nearly seven years now, certified pastry chef Haley McNeil has been serving up sweet and savory pastries, baked treats and a daily assortment of fresh breads on the South East side of Grand Rapids.
McNeil, the owner of Sugar Mamma’s, and her team use only the freshest of ingredients, making everything from scratch. From cookies and quiches to cakes and tortes, the options are vast and delightful—the bakery even cooks up homemade pies made with fresh local fruits. For those looking to dine in, Sugar Momma’s boasts a sit-down café with an espresso bar and lunch options including fresh salads and sandwiches, all made to order.
Whether you’re in the mood for a muffin, croissant or looking to bring one of Sugar Momma’s famous pies or tortes to your summer gathering, this place has it all.
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Furniture City Creamery
958 Cherry St., Grand Rapids
Ice cream is arguably the king of summer desserts, and Furniture City does not disappoint. Located in the heart of the East Hills neighborhood, this ice cream parlor is the perfect spot to hit after dinner at one of Cherry Street’s many dining options.
This year-round creamery churns out as much as 200 gallons (or more!) of ice cream onsite each week. The diverse menu goes way beyond your typical cone, offering a variety of creative flavors, floats, shakes, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, handmade novelty treats, vegan options and more.
Looking ahead, be sure to watch out for the Christmas in July specials when wintertime flavors make their way back into the lineup. And don’t forget you can book their vintage ice cream truck for catering or events this season!
Hours of operation:
Monday-Sunday: Noon-9 p.m.
Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company
4060 Chicago Dr. SW, Grandville
Grand Rapids store:
2255 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
The Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company’s two locations boast the area’s finest cheesecakes and dessert specialties made in-house daily with local ingredients. There are more than 25 flavors to choose from, all of them rich and creamy and sublimely decorated — but not so much panache that it distracts you from the flavor.
Ordering ahead of time isn’t necessary, as both locations offer a large selection of full cheesecakes and an assortment of grab-and-go slices, cheesecake bites and other handy treats. Custom cheesecakes and desserts for special occasions are available by order. And the Grandville location has a full café to enjoy a small selection of hot and cold beverages with your dessert. Pro-tip: Try the cannolis!
Hours (both locations):
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Pump House
2090 Celebration Dr. NE #120, Grand Rapids
20 N. Harbor Dr., Grand Haven
30 N. Main St., Rockford
The Pump House locations are billed as “modern day soda shops,” that is, if soda shops were upgraded to feature artisanal frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet and custard. The shops are open year-round and offer endless combinations of flavors. Not to mention, the toppings are unrivaled. For those in need of some caffeine, the Grand Haven location also offers a gourmet coffee bar and other café options.
The atmosphere at the Pump House is classic, complete with benches made from 100-year-old Michigan barn wood and old-fashioned porch swings. But, to be clear, the menu is far from outdated — these frozen desserts are updated for 21st century taste buds. Pro-tip: Keep adding toppings until your head spins.
Hours vary depending on location, visit: pumpjoy.com