While the origin of the sundae is still debated, one thing is certain: America loves its sundaes.
Celebrate the Sundae
Anyone who has ever visited a soda fountain can describe the sundae’s most basic form: a tulip-shaped glass filled with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream topped with a flavored sauce or syrup, with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
The Polo Lounge
The Marilyn Monroe Ice Cream Sundae at The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel is almost too pretty to eat. The chocolate-embellished homage to the glamorous Beverly Hills Hotel patron comprises malted milk foam, hot fudge and sour cherries atop mint-chip ice cream. You can stuff your face and pay your respects while sitting at Marilyn’s seat at Table 6.
Barton G. The Restaurant
Miami Beach’s Barton G. The Restaurant doles out huge portions of Insta-worthy ice cream decadence. Designed for fun and safe sharing, The Sabrina sundae stands two feet tall and is served South Beach-style in a martini glass filled with homemade vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream; chocolate brownies; cherries; chocolate shavings; Chantilly cream and sprinkles.
Union Burger Bar
Union Burger Bar in Southampton, New York is the king when it comes to creativity in sundaes. Adults get a range of boozy choices while everyone can enjoy the hybrid sundae–shakes that are truly over-the-top. The range is as beautiful and dramatic as they are delicious. Shakey Bailey mixes in Baileys Irish Cream and Stoli Vanil vodka with cookies and cream while the pretty Drunken Jelly Doughnut lives up to its name with vanilla ice cream, jelly doughnuts and Chambord. For everyone in the family –- there’s no booze in these –- go for the striking Kampfire, rimmed with chocolate and Graham crackers. Not only does it have vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry, but it also has a real giant S’more cookie on top. Get your camera ready for the Cotton Candy. This one has a giant burst of cotton candy and an oversized striped lollipop on top of a Fruity Pebbles-rimmed glass filled with a strawberry milkshake and whipped cream.
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
For a spin on the sundae in a glass norm, New York City’s food truck-turned-ice cream shop, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop puts the sundae into a cone. Even though the holiday is on a Wednesday, you should enjoy The Monday Sundae any time. It’s a Nutella-lined waffle cone filled with twisted chocolate and vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and whipped cream finished with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Doumar’s in Norfolk, Virginia loves waffle cones, too, but they crush them and add them to the sundae. The historic ice cream and barbecue restaurant is more than 100 years old and a legend when it comes to sundaes. We recommend the Ringo Sundae, a blend of homemade Maola vanilla ice cream and crushed waffle cones, topped with hot fudge and a big red cherry.
For a mix of sweet and salty, Las Vegas’s Slater’s 50/50 has recently debuted the bacon ice cream sundae. More of a meal than a dessert, it starts with two heaping scoops of original bacon ice cream, pounds of hard-smoked Applewood bacon and a touch of sea salt. It's then topped with candied Billionaire’s bacon with maple syrup, caramel and whipped cream upon request.
Brownie sundaes continue to be the rage this year for National Sundae Day. You can pre-order Magic Fountain’s version and spare yourself a long wait in line. Choose one or two scoops of ice cream from their enormous list of homemade (and often kooky) flavors, with whipped cream, a cherry and two toppings. The Mattituck, New York favorite is open year-round so you have many seasonal flavors like caramel apple and peppermint stick in addition to specials like lavender honey.
The Palmer House
In honor of the hotel’s 150th anniversary and timed for National Sundae Day, the Palmer House in Chicago has created a mind-boggling seven-layer brownie sundae. Starting with the bottom layer, there’s Bertha’s brownie with alternating layers of vanilla ice cream and brownie brittle plus chocolate mousse, chocolate sauce, elderberry macerated apricots, fresh apricots, Champagne-currant candied walnuts and edible gold flakes.
Putnam Pantry and OKO
I’m still a fan of the make-your-own ice cream sundae experience, dating from many childhood visits to Putnam Pantry’s Famous Ice Cream Smorgasbord in Danvers, Massachusetts with its dozen available toppings and 20 ice cream flavors. OKO, located in Rye, New York and Westport, Connecticut, continues that tradition with build-your-own sundaes with a base of soft-serve ice cream and fun topping options such as coffee chocolate crunch, matcha Kit-Kats, OKO crunch, brown butter almonds, sesame praline and OKO bonbon. Everything is housemade.
The basics are now available to go, too. For those looking to chill at home, Lawry’s revered CC Brown’s Ice Cream Sundae is now available to go. The Chicago dessert is packaged with everything in two containers: one with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and almonds, and a second with fudge for warming.