Best Of

North Idaho's Best Ice Cream

Panhandle Cone & Coffee

click to enlarge North Idaho's Best Ice Cream
Erick Doxey photo
Find Panhandle Cone & Coffee's treats in Moscow, Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint.

Unlike many, many other food items, ice cream isn't something one can simply whip up on a whim. Creating ice cream correctly involves specialty equipment, top-shelf ingredients and experience, combined with the time it takes to evolve sugar and cream into a batch of lickable, spoonable, frozen delightfulness. Call it a labor of love at all three Panhandle Cone & Coffee locations in North Idaho.

"Our goal is to be the world's best small-town ice cream experience," says Jason Dillon, who co-founded Panhandle Cone and Coffee in Sandpoint with his wife, Stephanie, in 2015.

In 2019, as their young adult children were transitioning to University of Idaho, the Dillons opened a second shop in Moscow, followed by a third space in Coeur d'Alene's midtown corridor.

Those locations — in modest shops with street-facing windows and steady foot traffic — were by design.

"It's difficult to quantify exactly what goes into" choosing an ideal space, Dillon says. "My hippie answer is we're looking for a place with a soul."

With three locations, one could easily consider Panhandle Cone & Coffee a local chain, but each space is unique and customized to suit the vibe of its host neighborhood. Each spot feels welcoming through touches like a warm color palette, natural surfaces, local art and hand-lettered signage.

"We're kind of a throwback business," says Dillon, who was a pastor in his former career. "We just love places where we can create an atmosphere."

And the ice cream? Well, it's delightful, from the top-selling (and ridiculously good) salted caramel and brown butter cookie flavor to the specialty flavors, like the Coeur d'Alene Lake Blue Raspberry.

"We really try to find quality ingredients, and it's always fun when we can find local places to do that with," Dillon says.

33 Artists Market @ The Wonder Building

Sat., July 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Aug. 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Sept. 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Oct. 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • or