exterior of Carvel's location along the 5th Street Highway in Reading, PA

I have to admit that when I asked for suggestions on ice cream places in Berks County, I hadn’t anticipated the love for Carvel.

Quite frankly, I was surprised to get any support for Carvel. I always looked at them as just another chain, Dairy Queen light.

But you asked for it, so I begrudgingly gave it a try.

The small, angled parking lot off the Fifth Street Highway in Muhlenberg is not the easiest to get in and out of, but we were fortunate to find a space (with plenty of room to turn around after).

menu board at Carvel with photos of sundaes, Carvelanches, thick shakes and sundae dashers

Inside, I was pleasantly surprised to see a sign touting the local ownership of the franchise. A community bulletin board, complete with dry-erase board for doodling, adorned another wall.

Even though Carvel isn’t a local brand, this was definitely a local store.

Most of the seating is outside on picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. After ordering at the counter — and waiting while our server made each item, one at a time — we grabbed two of the chairs, sat back and tried to not drip ice cream on ourselves.

Ice cream sundae in a clear plastic cup with with caramel and whipped cream next to a cup of soft serve blended with peanut butter cups

There were plenty of options: cones, sundaes, shakes. But I wanted something more. That’s why I ordered the bananas Foster sundae dasher.

Sundae dashers differ from a traditional sundae because the toppings are layered in with the ice cream. So I had caramel and bananas throughout, instead of just on top.

The toppings were great (if you’re a fan of the blog, you know I’m a sucker for bananas Foster). And I love that they were layered in, but not blended so every scoop was a little different.

I wasn’t as big a fan of the vanilla soft serve. To me, it tasted too much like DQ, with the same heavy consistency. It was good, but didn’t wow me.

soft ice cream blended with peanut butter and peanut butter cups

Julie went with a more blended treat, one of their Carvelanches. Similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard, the soft serve is blended with the toppings, in this case Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Like mine, it was good, but wasn’t too different from similar items that she’s had before. Still, it’s ice cream and peanut butter cups so it’s hard not to enjoy it.

The prices for everything were in line with other places, $11 for our two items (mine a medium, hers a small).

Overall, we enjoyed our trip to Carvel. I still wouldn’t put it at the top of my list, but I can see why others, especially those who live nearby, keep coming back.

It’s cool treats at a reasonable price in a locally-owned and operated store. You really can’t go wrong with that.

3322 N. 5th St Hwy
Reading, PA 19605

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