Why did I not know about this place? The Cup and Cone is located on 4th St, West of Hwy 61 in the Center of DT White Bear Lake. It is a DQ rival that really gives DQ a proper challenge.
The White Bear Lake Dairy Queen, has the cheapest small cone that I have found so far--$1.09--and now I know why: A small cone at Cup N Cone is $.94!
Cup and Cone Stats:
small vanilla/choc/lemon cone: $.94
In addition to these fabulous prices, they will blend Oreos, Butterfingers, and other typical Blizzard toppings right into your soft serve and make you a cone. I think this costs an additional $.25 for a small cone.
I ordered two items on my trip there this weekend (for the sake of research). First, I tasted the lemon soft serve. It tastes a bit off, but children might like it for its novelty. Then I ordered a plain vanilla cone. It was a huge cone, at least the size of a typical medium DQ. Texture and consistency was excellent, but the flavor was not quite as good as a DQ cone when DQ is on it's game (see previous posts about cones being too icy or too marshmellowy). Overall, though it was an excellent cone.
Wife Sally, ordered a chocolate ice cream with carmel sauce. The carmel is better than DQ--not as sweet--and the chocolate ice cream tastes more chocolately. Too bad for DQ.
Third, from the previous paragraph, I went back and ordered a vanilla Oreo dipped sundae. The Oreos were whipped into the vanilla ice cream and then dipped into a chocolate like a DQ dipped cone, but the chocolate froze and was actually a bit hard to eat. Points off for the chocolate dip which was nowhere near the excellent quality of the DQ dipped cone, but plus points for the Oreo whipped into the ice cream without my having to order a Blizzard. It was a fun experience.
What also made it a fun experience was the fact that all of the people who waited on me were some of the friendliest and helpful people I have ever met getting a cone. Server #1 gave me recommendations and promised things would be better than DQ. Everyone else seemed equally happy to be there. I felt good being there myself.
Weirdly enough, I then went back to the order window to order a submarine sandwich. It was okay. They used sub-par bread. Jimmy John's still rules in this category.
In conclusion, White Bear Lake is the place to go for ice cream. It has an inexpensive DQ (The Robbinsdale DQ is still the most expensive small cone in the system at $1.89), and it also has the wonderful Cup and Cone which I highly recommend. The town is cute and on the weekends seems very shopper friendly--lots of restaurants and non-chain clothing stores. Check it out for yourself.