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Food
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Value
Atmosphere

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PRICE RANGE
$2 - $7
CUISINES
American
Meals
Late Night
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Reviews (829)
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98
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LanguageEnglish
Traveler rating
528
148
98
41
13
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Reviewed July 12, 2022

I just happened to stop by on a short trip to Fredericksburg from Northern Virginia. I heard about this treat from a local cousin, and thought I'd stop by to see what all the hype was about. I was pleasantly surprised after the first mouthful....WOW! This is some of the best custard in the world hands down!! This soft serve parlor is historic, iconic and voted the best in Virginia! The building is actually on the National Historic Register, and this family-owned business has been around, through the generations, since 1947! Remember to bring cash only, as they do not accept credit cards. They open most months of the year, however, take a break to close just before Thanksgiving for a couple months. I tried the custard and a pineapple shake, and would say either is a party in the mouth. The custard recipe is thick, creamy, satisfying, and has that old fashioned custard taste one seldom can find these days. Some of the secrets are that custard has more eggs and a little richer than ice cream, and they use a very unique old-fashioned machine that whips the product without air, which gives it a unique smooth texture, unlike any other. The taste is phenomenal!! I just wish they had more than one location, for God's sake! Kudos to you all at Carl's. It will now become one of my favorite places to stop when traveling through Fredricksburg, Va.More

Date of visit: July 2022
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Reviewed June 10, 2022

The best milkshake I had. I didn’t get to taste there ice cream this time because I got a milkshake.❤️

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed July 1, 2021 via mobile

Arrived there early afternoon. The sign in the window said (OPEN). I stood there with my family in the hot sun for over twenty minutes. The guy in charge just motioned to me with ten fingers up. I guess that's supposed to mean he'll bother...with us in ten minutes. It was super hot out and they have no awning or anything for shade. I guess selling frozen food wouldn't warrant it? After another five minutes even my kids wanted to leave. How about posting a sign with your hours of operation or better yet. Don't have you (OPEN) sign on display. Even better, get someone who gives a rats butt about your customers enough to actually speak to them!!! I've had several friends in Fredericksburg that have said the flavor of the Custard (It's Not ICE Cream) has changed for the worst, and I didn't miss anything special at all. This is definitely one establishment you shouldn't waist your money on. I sure won't!More

Date of visit: June 2021
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Reviewed May 7, 2021

the custard and sundae was tasty, could've been better with whipped cream-but they don't do that. The parking is tight and customers not noticing cars moving.

Date of visit: April 2021
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Reviewed April 10, 2021

Truly the best ice cream around! Nothing else can compare to Carl's - Just swing by and grab a small cone, I promise you won't be disappointed :D -Denise W

Date of visit: April 2021
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Reviewed March 30, 2021

A long time Fxbg institution in an historical building. Always a line but they move it fast. Know your order or they kick you out. Parking can be tight in the summer but OK now. Most creamy, flavorful, delicious frozen custard you will ever eat....Bar NoneMore

Date of visit: March 2021
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Reviewed March 13, 2021

I've been looking forward to trying Carl's for quite some time, never had it before and was excited that my friend and I were going there today. We got our cones- mine sugar, his wafer. The frozen yogurt was really good....but I noticed the paper...wrapping on my cone was stuck to the cone. I tried to get it off, but to no avail. I went up to the window and asked them if they would wet my napkin so I could try to get the paper off and finish the bottom half of my cone. I was told they had no water and could not help me. I showed them my cone and that I would have to throw it out. They apologized and told me there was nothing they could do. Off to the garbage can I went. :( Not great customer service if you ask me!More

Date of visit: March 2021
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Reviewed November 23, 2020

Carl's has been around since 1947. So you get a little History with your frozen custard! You need to do yourself a favor and go try this place. SMOOTH, creamy, delicious. The best my husband and I have had...ever. Better than Gelato. It's Frozen Custard,...not ice cream or gelato, but people often compare them and use those descriptions. They are only open from February 15 (ish) to November 22 (ish). Bring cash, they do not accept credit or checks. Many flavors and sizes, price comparable (I think a bit less than) the 31 Flavors Place. They are also dog friendly! **Note for Covid** they followed all guidelines. Everyone separated with markers where to stand, and line ropes up. Masks and gloves were worn. While there were huge lines (for being the last day they were open), we got our order fairly quickly.More

Date of visit: November 2020
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Reviewed October 10, 2020 via mobile

As always, totally awesome. Had the hot fudge Sunday and shared with the wife. Service is fast, it’s an iconic shop.

Date of visit: October 2020
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Reviewed October 7, 2020 via mobile

Stopped by to get an ice cream before activity! Carls tries to abide by COVID safety with 6 ft markers and signs to wear masks. BUT does not in force the safety recommendations. Multiple people in line and placing orders NOT wearing masks and not...abiding by the 6 ft social distancing guidelines. STAFF wore masks!!!!More

Date of visit: October 2020
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Reviewed August 2, 2020

Carl's was super attentive to all the CDC guidelines for CV. Service was friendly and quick which we appreciated on a very warm summer Saturday afternoon. The soft serve ice cream was very high quality and reasonably priced. The beautifully maintained and preserved building was...a pleasure to look at while enjoying our ice cream. A very busy place and for good reason. Cash only for purchases!More

Date of visit: August 2020
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Reviewed June 5, 2020

So we go to Carl’s. No chocolate sprinkles. No rainbow sprinkles. No derby style. We’ll just blame it on COVID and not because they don’t offer them. Gave the young men a jokingly hard time about it. They took it well. ;) Seriously though. Quaint...little place. They even wear soda jerk hats. Check it out if you’re ever nearby. The maplenut is very good.More

Date of visit: June 2020
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Reviewed March 30, 2020

Been going to Carl's since our arrival in the area in 1978 and will continue until I can't no more ..... best chocolate malts in town and my wife thinks they have a best wet maple nuts sundaes in town .. an annual even (even...if repeated several times a year).More

Date of visit: March 2020
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Reviewed March 8, 2020 via mobile

Always a tasty treat. Just bring cash. Love the malts! All the ice cream is good, lines get long on weekends at night but it goes fast.

Date of visit: March 2020
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Reviewed February 29, 2020 via mobile

I know this place is always crowd, but for the life of me I don't know why. There's no place to sit, the only serve custard ( which frankly not impressed with) not many choices. But there's always a long line.

Date of visit: February 2020
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Carl's

Yes, Carl's offers takeout services.

Carl's is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4
  • Atmosphere: 4