Residents and visitors to the Fredericksburg area are fortunate to have a wide variety of choices when it comes to tasty sweets. In fact, Fredericksburg Parent & Family magazine’s 2022 Family Favorites winners for Specialty Food Shop resulted in a three-way tie between
Carl’s Frozen Custard, Cool Cat Cupcakes and Paul’s Bakery. With so many yummy treats in just one area of the state, it’s only right to give each of them their own tribute.
Carl’s Frozen Custard serves the mouthwatering refreshment folks have been lining up for since 1947. Open the Friday before President’s Day until the Sunday before Thanksgiving, it allows people to fill up on the treat for more than just the summer season.
The menu is heaped with favorites, including vanilla, chocolate and strawberry frozen custard; vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and pineapple shakes; and hot fudge, maplenut, strawberry, pineapple and chocolate sundaes. Dishes and cones are also available. If you’re in the mood for soda with your ice cream, the root beer, cherry and Fanta Orange floats are available.
It all began 75 years ago when Carl Sponseller bought a property, where he created Carl’s Frozen Custard. After a few years, he created the world-famous sign that lights the building and its surroundings. The building is registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark.
During the 1950s, Sponseller closed the business in slower months to pursue other interests, but this would create a stir among citizens who claimed he “took away” their frozen custard. Upon reopening in February, which is considered a slow month for ice cream, sales exploded.
The business, which is kept in the family to this day, still holds its same standard of excellence using the same recipe from when it first opened its doors.
Fun Facts about Carl’s:
- The difference between ice cream and frozen custard is eggs. There’s a much higher concentration of eggs, butterfat and no air, making the cream richer and thicker.
- Carl’s only accepts cash.
- Carl’s is the one and only.
- Wondering what the secret is to the amazing custard served at Carl’s? The word is now out—it’s in the machines, and Carl’s owns all that’s left of its Electo-Freeze machines—enough for spare parts and molds. Unlike newer models, the machines don’t pump air into the cream.
- Don’t let the long lines of custard lovers deter you. The staff is fast, with the longest July 4 line only taking 20 minutes to wind its way to the counter, and the average line takes just 15 minutes.
For more information about Carl’s and a full menu, visit carlsfrozencustard.com.