If you’re driving on 116th Street through the Nickel Plate District on a summer evening, you can’t miss the crowd at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt. With dozens of customers lined up across the parking lot and enjoying their treats along the sidewalk, the Handel’s spectacle has become somewhat of a summer tradition in Fishers.
Owner Greg Glaros opened the Fishers location in June 2002. Glaros grew up enjoying Handel’s ice cream in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio—the birthplace of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt.
In 1945, Alice Handel began serving ice cream from her husband’s gas station. Her old-fashioned recipes were made fresh with fruit from her garden and the ice cream became a hit in Youngstown. Alice stored most of her recipes in her head, so when the business sold in 1986, the new owner had to put measuring cups under the ingredients as Alice demonstrated the recipes so that proportions could be documented.
Now with locations across nine states, Alice’s legacy lives on. The menu has expanded to include more than 100 flavors of ice cream and yogurt inspired by Alice’s original recipes. In 2006, National Geographic named Handel’s as Best Ice Cream in the book, The 10 Best of Everything. Handel’s makes their ice cream fresh daily at each location, one batch at a time.
“We make all of our ice cream here on site,” says Glaros. “We use the best ingredients you can buy, and we don’t skimp.”
Glaros also owns the Carmel store, which he opened in 2004, as well as a store in Noblesville near Hamilton Town Center and Greenwood that are currently under construction. These stores are the only locations in Indiana, although both locations’ menus feature 48 flavors at a time, with six to eight flavors rotating out each month.
The most popular flavors include Butter Pecan, Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocoholic
Chunk, and of course, their signature Vanilla. Also topping the bestseller list include unique concoctions like Graham Central Station (graham flavored ice cream with a graham cracker ripple and chocolate covered crunchies), Spouse Like a House (malted vanilla ice cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter ripple and chocolate covered pretzels), and Salty Carmel Truffle (salty caramel ice cream with chocolate truffles filled with salted caramel).
Glaros’ personal favorite menu item is the Turtle Sundae, consisting of vanilla ice cream with caramel, hot fudge, pecans, and whipped cream.
Handel’s offers pints and quarts for carry out, and you can even call ahead to have your order ready when you arrive.
The quaint shop has outdoor seating and features several windows to order from. Despite the lack of indoor seating, the store is open year-round, and even in the winter, you’ll find customers ordering ice cream to enjoy from the toasty warmth of their cars.
“The product is king,” describes Glaros. “People come back because of the ice cream.”