The most delicious ice cream parlors in Baltimore

→ The Cow


Just before sunset on a spring evening, the parking lot outside this Main Street institution fills with cars and families. Two school children rush to the window.

“It’s a cow!” exclaims the little boy. “I want to ride the cow!”

“I want to milk the cow!” the girl intervenes. She sits under the spotted statue that co-owner Mike Reiner bought 22 years ago for $2,000 when he launched the Reisterstown store, which he originally named Dairy Fresh.

Thanks to the striking statue facing the traffic on Reisterstown Road, that name didn’t stick with customers for long.

“Everyone called us ‘The Cow’,” Reiner says. “It was like a slang name for the store.” By popular demand, and with a nod to Reiner’s childhood memories of eating ice cream cones at Cloverland Dairy, The Cow adopted its new moniker in 2005.

Since then, the dairy depot (with a second location in Westminster) has gained huge following with its locally sourced custard and creamy Italian gelato, which comes in 60 flavors. Clever iterations of the latter include pear, red velvet cake, rocky road, peanut butter, and mint chocolate chips.

When it comes to pastry cream, however, there is one resounding favorite. “It’s vanilla. It’s our key to making better products,” Reiner says, adding that it’s also the basis for creations like cake batter and black raspberry.

Thanks to The Cow’s food truck, personalized treats have made the rounds at children’s birthday parties, weddings, nursing homes, hospices and funerals.

“We had a hearse once,” Reiner recalled. “A dying man has apparently requested that his loved ones all be taken to The Cow. A woman tried to pay, and I just said, ‘The last one is mine.’ The last one is still on me.

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