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Buck's: your favorite place you've never been to

By Kristin Torres | Oct. 16, 2009

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If you ask me, it's too cold to be talking about ice cream. Just yesterday I bought a hot chocolate to keep my hands from freezing on my walk home from the library.

But it's a birthday. Not just any birthday, but Buck's Ice Cream Place, MU's very own ice cream shop that, chances are, you probably either haven't heard of or haven't been to, is turning 20.

Buck's is a bit fated to remain a myth to most students who might have heard of it once or twice but never bothered checking it out — or never figured out where it's located (Eckles Hall, where?) The people behind Tiger Stripe ice cream have no doubt found much success, though remaining a bit of a mystery to a lot of students, a problem that could easily be solved by taking a page out of the advertising book of their partner in relative obscurity, the Mizzou Meat Market. Sure, Buck's offers a few stylish T-shirts for sale, but nothing compares to the market's Mizzou Meat shirts. Think "Mizzou Engineering," but with meat.

OK, maybe those weren't much of a hit either, but every time I see a "Mizzou college of whatever" T-shirt, I still think about meat ever since my one and only encounter with a Mizzou Meat shirt. But being a vegetarian, I can't say this does much for sales.

So in a time when ice cream isn't really on the brain, this birthday got me thinking about ice cream in Columbia. There are plenty of places to choose from. And campus even has access to vanilla ice cream-like cones courtesy of the McDonald's that thankfully didn't close down last year as planned. So what's the best?

Shake's Frozen Custard, which used to be more accessible to students on Ninth Street, but is now a bit more than a stone's throw away on Nifong or Clark Lane, is a heavy hitter. Custard isn't big in my home state of California, but I devoured it upon being introduced in the Midwest. And Sonic's delicious Mocha Java Chiller will give you an ice cream fix and help you stay up all night to study (or watch "Glee" online).

But let's be real. We're in college and we prefer our ice cream free or nearly free. With 2-for-1 Tuesdays with a college ID, Coldstone has tasty ice cream and sympathy for broke students.

I think most of us would agree Sparky's is a strong contender as well. With regular ads in the Add Sheet (which I am convinced is spelled incorrectly and no one wants to admit it) for the same steal, the ball is clearly in Sparky's court. With flavors that mix anything from peanut butter cookies from Uprise Bakery, Guinness and even sweet corn, the place certainly pulls its weight. Not to mention your frozen treat will be served up with an even colder side of hipster attitude at no extra cost.

Best ice cream in Columbia? It's pretty likely.

Besides you, of course, Buck's. And I'm not just saying that because it's your birthday.

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