Two Palate Dining: Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot

Peterson's Ice Cream Depot in Clifton, Virginia

Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot in Clifton, Virginia

She Said:

As many of our readers know we recently moved. Moving is so stressful and really difficult. We were also really under a time crunch and were dealing with my health issues.  To make life more difficult my issues got much severe during the heaviest work and the toll of every stress and problem on my body has been substantial. Thankfully, RJ is feeling great- but I’m really struggling with a lot of problems and may be for some time. One really cool thing occurred during the middle of this move- we finally tried Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot.  You may wonder how ice cream and hot dogs could really make a move better. If you did then it’s clear that you haven’t been to Peterson’s yet. I’m already dreaming of eating there again

Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot is- I don’t want to understate- one of the best places to eat in Northern Virginia. I still feel like I didn’t convey just how good their food is. Tucked away in darling and picturesque Clifton, Virginia, Peterson’s is a dream for all who enjoy simple fare as they serve not only ice cream, but also have hot dogs, sandwiches and fries. They have no indoor seating, but their outdoor area is charming. We’ve made a couple of return visits and everyone who works there is friendly and capable.  The food is a little more expensive than 99-cent hamburgers, but you are getting really quality ingredients at a very good, still inexpensive price. I also appreciate that they take really good care of their customers by making not only excellent food, but by having a customer rewards card. I’m a very proud Conehead Club member. If Peterson’s ever became its own country I would be happy to be Conehead mayor or ambassador.

The food is so good. Here are my favorite things on the menu:

I love hot dogs. When we first visited I got a hot dog with just ketchup (my favorite way to order a hot dog) and it was delicious. The hot dog was juicy and had a great snap, while the bun was soft and not too mushy. RJ ordered the BBQ dog and I was completely hooked. The pulled pork was so moist and flavorful.  If you love hot dogs and have never tried one with pulled pork on top I recommend trying it soon. The flavor is even more smoky, meaty and savory than usual that its almost staggering to eat, but you’ll finish every bite. The last time I ordered one they put some kind of spicy mustard that I wasn’t expecting. While I usually don’t like mustard the sauce totally worked and added some great heat and flavor to already perfect hot dog.

The fries are also a work of art: pure simple fried potatoes in either white or sweet potato variety. There are tons of seasonings and sauces available, but my favorite way to eat them is with cracked pepper and sea salt, with just a bit of ketchup. These fries are so hearty and satisfying that you may just want to order a half order so you can enjoy other things!

Ice cream is such a lovely thing, isn’t it? Cold, creamy and sweet- it’s so simple and so lovely. The ice cream at Peterson’s is the most flavorful (both the chocolate and vanilla), sweetest and creamiest ice cream that I’ve ever had. We’ve tried a lot of ice cream for this blog, but Peterson’s is head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve had a cone, sampled some of RJ’s milkshakes (so thick you needed a spoon to eat), but my favorite way to eat Peterson’s ice cream is in the form a squish. A squish is a small mountain of ice cream squished together between 2 amazing chocolate chip cookies. It’s sweet and rich, you get crunch factor from the edges of the cookies and richness from the wonderful chocolate chips. I love these so much! Take a few minutes and sit down and eat it right away or it can be messy, but it’s totally worth every drip!

I really love Peterson’s. I love so much of the food and there are still so many things that I want to try. I usually like to go to a restaurant and have a set order that I place every time. But, I like so many things at Peterson’s that I want to keep trying more things!

 I want to move to Clifton someday now. Not just because it’s a beautiful little town that’s only minutes away from the bustle of the suburbs of DC, but also so I can be closer to Peterson’s

Kari’s Ratings

Hot Dogs (Regular and BBQ Dog)- 10

Fries (Regular and Sweet Potato)- 10

Milkshakes (Peanut Butter and Strawberry)- 10

Ice Cream Vanilla and Chocolate (Cones, and especially Squish Sandwiches )- 10

Overall- 10!!!



Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Peterson's Ice Cream Depot Vanilla Ice Cream IMG_0189

He Said:

Nestled in the heart of Fairfax County is a cute little town that doesn’t seem to have changed for decades.  In Clifton, you’ll find a general store, a few antique stores, and the best ice cream in Northern Virginia according to Northern Virginia Magazine.  We’ve been wanting to try Peterson’s since last summer, but weren’t able to tear ourselves away from Kline’s Freeze in Manassas.  This year, with adventure on our minds, we drove out to Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot to see if it lived up to the hype.

Kari ordered her hot dog with just ketchup, but I ordered the BBQ Dog, which has pulled pork on top.  This mesmerized me as a menu item, and it definitely did not disappoint.  The dog itself is big, thick and juicy, and has advertised, has a very slight kick from the seasoning.  It’s the best hot dog I have ever had.  It’s the kind of hot dog that makes you sad when it’s gone.  The bun was also perfect.  It was just the right size for the wiener, and it holds up to the eating experience well without getting between you and the meat in any obtrusive way.  The pulled pork really adds to this dog.  It has a subtle flavor, but you still get the spiciness at the end.  They’re not stingy with this portion either.  The serving of pork could stand by itself as its own sandwich (and they do offer it as it’s own menu item).  The first time we had it, it was served dry, but on a follow-up trip we had an enjoyable mustard based barbeque sauce over the top.  Either way, this hot dog is amazing.  There are some other things that look like great savory options here, but I still can’t help ordering this every time.

We tried the fries too, both normal potato, and sweet potato.  Both were amazing.  Unless you’re eating with a few other people, just order the half order.  The full order is a pound of whichever starch you’re getting.  It will be delicious, but hard to finish.  The fries in both cases seemed so fresh and you could tell they were simply and beautifully prepared.

We finished our meal off with a pair of ice cream cones.  The place is called Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot after all, and that is what drew us in.  So Kari got the vanilla and I got the chocolate.  I usually get the chocolate, but many times feel jealous that Kari got the better product.  Not so here.  Both were amazing.  My chocolate tasted rich and decadent.  Kari’s Vanilla, tasted sweet and pure.  I don’t know what else to say about Peterson’s.  The ice cream really is the best I’ve had in this area, but I can’t think of better ice cream I’ve ever had!  I’ve also tried their shakes and can attest to the greatness of both their peanut butter and strawberry shakes.

It may have been the ice cream that drew us in, but everything is so good here, it’s weird to think of it as just for ice cream.

RJ’s Ratings

BBQ Hot Dog-10


Sweet Potato Fries10

Vanilla Ice Cream-10

Chocolate Ice Cream-10