Here’s The Scoop

The Best Ice Cream in Charleston

Marble+Slab+vs+Baskin+Robbins
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Here’s The Scoop

Marble Slab vs Baskin Robbins

Marble Slab vs Baskin Robbins

Marble Slab vs Baskin Robbins

Marble Slab vs Baskin Robbins

Greetings from Emily and Elan. The enthralling and highly informative article you are about to read is the first installment in our series in which we seek to find the best ice cream places in Charleston. This installment features Baskin Robbins and Marble Slab. It should be noted that Elan has a strong love (obsession) towards Marble Slab but worry not: I (Emily) will keep his bias in check. With that out of the way, on with the review!

 

Baskin Robbins

The exterior of Baskin Robbins

Appearance:

The shop has a cute and cozy feel. Immediately upon entering it smells amazing. Like freshly baked waffle cones. It is warm, bright, and colorful. This makes it a great place for both parents and their kids to be comfortable and happy. The store also has a drive-thru, which provides more convenience for customers who may be in a hurry. 

Selection:

Baskin Robbins prides itself on its selection of 32 flavors to choose from. Elan and I had some preconceived notions as for what to expect in terms of flavors and variety. A common belief regarding Baskin Robbins’ ice cream flavors is that they are bland and generally all taste the same. Therefore, going in we had assumed there would be little variety and unoriginal flavors. While there are some unique flavors that we had not expected, we were overall underwhelmed by the range of options. 

Elan with his ice cream

Taste:

While the majority of their flavors taste the same it is their Flavor of the Month flavors that stand out. The Featured Flavor when we went was Lemon Custard. When Elan tried the sample of this flavor he was beyond surprised. He is not a fan of lemon as a general rule, but he decided to buy a cone of it. So, I suppose that alone speaks for itself. I myself tried the German Chocolate Cake. It was probably one of the best ice cream flavors I have ever had. It had brownie pieces, walnuts, coconut, and caramel. As for their most popular flavor, according to the woman working behind the register, it is Mint Chocolate Chip. Kind of a downgrade from Lemon Custard and German Chocolate Cake, but to each their own.

Quality:

This is the category where is gets dicey for Baskin. While they do make their waffle cones fresh, everything else is premade and shipped to them. Whereas at Marble Slab, everything is made in store. But the real kicker is their lack of toppings. Baskin Robbins does not have toppings. At. All. Which seems absurd for a shop targeted towards children. However, one thing they do have going for them is their options for those with dietary restrictions. They have both dairy-free and sugar-free options. In addition, the majority of their flavors, with only a few exceptions, are kosher.

Prices:

They are inexpensive with a small sugar cone costing only around $3. A great low-budget option.

Final Thoughts:

Emily: I think it is overall a great place to go if you have kids. It is inexpensive, easy to choose from flavors, and is convenient. With that being said, I would have to agree with Elan that it would most likely not top my list of ice cream places in Charleston.

Elan: Surprisingly better than I expected, but I still wouldn’t choose it as my first choice over 90% of ice cream places in Charleston

 

Marble Slab

 

The exterior of Marble Slab

If you are looking for ice cream that slaps, look no further than Marble Slab, which I affectionately call “Marble Slaps.” With locations in West Ashley, nestled in the same shopping center as Barnes and Noble, Harris Teeter, Moe’s, Office Depot, and Tropical Smoothie Café, Mount Pleasant, and Summerville, this ice cream shop is conveniently located for a majority of the Lowcountry, and well worth the trek for those who may not live so close. For the following review, we went to the Marble Slab in West Ashley:

 

 

Appearance:

Upon walking into Marble Slab, you are greeted by the clean and open feeling of an ice cream shop. Although not as cheerfully colored as, say, a Baskin Robbins, it is not the least bit boring or depressing. Jars of toppings line an over-head shelf that surrounds the ice cream counter in an allusion to the unlimited free toppings that they offer. You can also see a fun cup-pyramid on the back wall with the distinctive, “Maggie Moo’s” (Marble Slab’s sister-company) branding on it. Although it may not be perfect, the store offers a positive and welcoming environment that adds to the customer experience.

Selection:

Although they offer unlimited free toppings, the ice cream itself is not to be forgotten. Offering a plethora of flavors, from the classic vanillas, chocolates, mints, cotton candies, and birthday cakes, to the bold charcoal mocha and amaretto, Marble Slab ensures that they can please all types of taste buds. As a regular, I (Elan) rotate between cotton candy and birthday cake on Mondays and tend to try new flavors, like charcoal mocha, if I stop in on any other day. Although Marble Slab may intimidate customers with their wide range of toppings to choose from, they offer premade combinations as suggestions. My personal favorite orders are the cotton candy ski jump (add cookie dough) and better batter cake carnival, as well as s’mores if it is not a Monday. Meanwhile, Emily got cool mint ice cream with Oreos, peppermint patties and rainbow sprinkles—a combination from her own imagination. Long story short, with Marble Slab, there’s a lot to choose from and a lot to invent.

Taste:

Emily’s ice cream being mashed

Would we really be raving this much about how great Marble Slab is if it did not taste heavenly? A very distinct characteristic of Marble Slab is that its ice cream is rich. There is a fullness to the taste that other ice cream shops just do not match. Even without toppings, the ice cream can hold its own. But the toppings make it even better. What is great about Marble Slab is that they mix your toppings in with your ice cream instead of putting it on top, which, in turn, leaves your toppings well-distributed and your ice cream bursting with flavor.

Quality:

Yet another thing that sets Marble Slab apart is the quality of the ice cream. “Every other store gets their ice cream from Houston or Atlanta,” said the store owner, Sarah, “meanwhile the only things we don’t make in the store are candy bars… everything else is fresh.” Their quality creations fare very well against our taste buds, as the freshness of the ice cream supersedes anything we can get from store-bought containers. As if that wasn’t enough, Marble Slab goes one step further to mash around your ice cream, on a marble slab, so that the toppings are mixed evenly throughout. Not only does this ensure even coverage, but it looks super cool and makes your ice cream look nice in a cup or cone. To sum it up, their ice cream is high (pause) quality.

The finished products

Price:

So this is maybe—maybe—MAYBE—the only downside to Marble Slab. It generally runs you between $5-7 per person… I know that seems excessive, but: not only is it so worth it, you generally get away with about $5.47 being your total if you’re getting a regular-sized ice cream… not bad at all. Even though I believe it is fairly priced and not too expensive, considering I go there every week, I see how it can be intimidating compared to Baskin Robbins’ $2.48 for (much less) ice cream. And now that I think of it, most other ice cream places have similar prices, so Marble Slab is still sitting pretty. 

Final Thoughts:

Elan: MARBLE SLAB IS THE ULTIMATE, MOST BESTEST, GREATEST ICE CREAM SHOP IN THE GREATER CHARLESTON METROPOLITAN AREA AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE BETTER BE READY TO BE PROVED WRONG.

Also, I recently got the Majestic Shake (a bougie shake with a lot of toppings) and it was super good. Like, so good that I would definitely spend $11 to get it again. For sure.

Emily: While my enthusiasm can in no way match Elan’s, I must say that of the two we reviewed so far it does come out on top. There flavors are great and there is something about watching them mix the toppings into the ice cream in front of you that is really satisfying. I will not concede that they have the best ice cream in Charleston until I have tried all of the options, and I will once again assure you that our final ranking will not be tainted by Elan’s blatant bias. Stay tuned for our next update. It is going to be a good one. 

 

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