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Fenton’s Creamery is some of the best ice cream in the world

Fenton’s Creamery is some of the best ice cream in the world

Y’all can’t mess with this legendary Oakland Creamery.


As I continue my journey to share some of my favorite local Bay Area food spots I thought I’d take this entry to tell everyone a little bit about Fenton’s Creamery. This place is literally historic. Although the location has changed once since opening, it’s been hanging out in the Piedmont district of Oakland since 1894. The son of the founder invented Rocky Road ice cream along with a few other flavors, cementing the old-timey shoppe into the ice cream history books.

You may even recognize the name from its cameo at the end of Disney Pixar’s Up. Or maybe you saw the massive “Cookie Bowl 50” they made for Super Bowl 50 which, according to Wikipedia was, “a 10-pound sundae of 12 scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, plus boulders of Oreo cookies drenched in hot fudge, pineapple, strawberry, marshmallow, and caramel toppings, whipped cream, Oreo Crumbles and cherries—all served in a bowl made from Oreos.” 

And, once again, it’s another spot that my grandfather introduced me to. He used to take my grandma here back when they were still high school kids for dates well before even my mom existed. So yeah, Morses have been eating here for at least four generations, if not more.

It is the embodiment of an old-fashioned ice cream shoppe experience. The decor has a classic diner/fountain shop vibe to it and large black and white photos of yesteryear adorn the walls. The place just bleeds old school vibes. It’s the kind of place where they ring a bell and bring everyone’s attention to the fact that it’s a very special birthday for someone’s kid and everyone cheers and sings along to the “Happy Birthday” song for them.

While the ice cream is definitely the real main course here, the classic diner food also shines through as part of that Americana experience. While they’re known for their famous crab sandwich, the last couple of times there I snagged a fried fish sandwich and a turkey club respectively. It’s simple and straightforward stuff, but it hits the spot if you’re itching for a comfort food experience. And man-oh-man their salads are MASSIVE, even in junior form. I also have to give props for any spot that has a basket of half fries, half onion rings on the menu.

But let’s get to real star of the show here: Ice cream! Whether you’re into traditional flavors or looking to try something new, you just can’t go wrong with Fenton’s. This is like the ice cream you think of when you’re dreaming about ice cream. Rich, creamy, flavorful, melting on your tongue deliciousness. It’s just truly decadent yumminess. I had a friend come into town a few weeks ago and they love both diners and ice cream so I figured this was the perfect spot to take them. After a tasty meal we decided to order their massive banana split that they simply call “The Banana Special.” 

The description of the Banana Special on the menu reads, “WATCH OUT! Tourists may take photos of you with this Fentons tradition! HUGE scoops, we mean HUGE scoops, of Vanilla, Chocolate & Strawberry ice cream cradled by a whole ripe banana. Bathed in pineapple, strawberry & chocolate fudge. Topped off with almonds, whipped cream and cherry.” And goddamn if it isn’t one of best things I’ve ever eaten! Just massive piles of ice cream and flavored syrups with real fruit chunks in them! Between three people we could only eat about half of it (they have to-go boxes for their ice cream though, so don’t worry, we took it home.) And believe me, we tried very, very hard to finish it. And that’s just one of the many deliciously decadent desserts to try there. 

I’ve had a lot of their confections over the years, but I think their “Saddleback Brownie” is probably the richest thing I’ve ever eaten. The menu states the following about the Saddleback: “Oh, this one is for you! A large chocolate brownie under two generous portions of Vanilla or Dutch Chocolate Chip ice cream topped with Hot Fudge, almonds, whipped cream and cherry.” You may hate yourself for several days after trying to cram this one down your throat, but it’s the best kind of regret, the kind that involves sweets!

Unless you’re tragically lactose intolerant, you owe it to yourself to give Fenton’s a try the next time you find yourself in the Bay Area. The Oakland location is probably the one I'd try, but you can also check them out at the Oakland Airport if you’re on the go or stop by their newer Vacaville location. Bring a friend and tell the staff it’s their birthday if you want to embarrass them!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 17, 2021 3:03 PM

    Fenton's Creamery is stupid delectable

    Read more: Fenton’s Creamery is some of the best ice cream in the world

    • reply
      September 17, 2021 3:10 PM


    • reply
      September 17, 2021 4:25 PM

      I used to love 1 minutes from Fenton’s. It was always really good in that American ice cream kind of way. But I prefer a good Italian gelato. They (used to?) make some really good one at Ciao Bella in Berkeley not too far away.

      • reply
        September 17, 2021 5:57 PM

        One of the really good places when I was a kid, Clancy Muldoon’s, and first place I played Lunar Lander!, got taken over by Iranian refugee ice cream specialists and is still some of the very best ice cream in Los Angeles 40 years later, so it’s one of those happy endings!

        Must try for ice cream lovers visiting Hollywood.

    • reply
      September 17, 2021 5:50 PM

      Th old-fashioned ice cream parlors
      /diners of my So Cal youth are mostly gone. They’d have sawdust on the floor and wooden booths and would serve outlandishly huge, towering sundaes.

      This place is still kicking, even through the pandemic, but it never was the best:

    • reply
      September 17, 2021 6:18 PM

      Loard's is another Bay Area local ice cream shop, my mom used to always buy us a gallon of something yummy as kids!

      • reply
        September 18, 2021 2:17 PM

        Loard's is pretty good. I used to know the owner's daughter way back in the day.

    • reply
      September 17, 2021 7:14 PM

      If you're lactose intolerant, just take a lactase pill

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