Buy Nugget Ice from these Stores and Restaurants
With the rise in popularity of nugget ice, many people seem to be wondering where they can actually get their hands on the stuff good stuff. The good news is you can find all of your options for nugget ice RIGHT HERE!
The are more restaurants than you think use and sell nugget ice, particularly in the South. I have put together a list of restaurants and stores that sell nugget ice by the bag, and use it in their drinks, with multiple locations across America.
HOWEVER, nugget ice isn't always easy to find. If you live in an area where nugget ice is a little harder to pick up (or perhaps you just really love it), you can now pick up your own countertop nugget ice maker for anywhere between $300 and $600 depending on the model.
Click here to read my the ULTIMATE guide to nugget ice makers OR 3 Best Countertop Nugget Ice Machines on a budget.
Now, let's dive right in!
Nugget Ice From the Restaurant or Store
Here are a list of restaurants and stores that sell nugget ice (otherwise known as pellet ice) as a stand alone product in addition to putting it in their delicious drinks! That's right, not just in their drinks. You can just go in and grab a big bag of the 'good ice'.
- Sonic Drive-In - $2.49/10lb bag
- Chick-fil-A - $1.59/5lb bag
- Zaxby's (at most locations) - $1.99/8lb bag
- Which Wich - $2.50/medium sized bag
If you keep scrolling down you can see exactly what the nugget ice from Sonic, Chick-fil-A and Zaxby's looks like so you know exactly what to expect!
Buy a Nugget Ice Maker
Live too far from Sonic or Chick-fil-A? Spending a fortune on bags of ice or maybe you are just sick of regularly going out to pick it up. The good news is you can now make nugget ice in your home. The way I see it there are two good options here. If you can spend more than $500 I would get the GE Profile Opal 2.0 nugget ice maker (Full review of the GE Profile Opal 2.0 here).
But if your budget is a bit more limited, the NewAir is a great option (Full review of the NewAir Nugget Ice maker here).
Unfortunately nugget ice makers do really get much cheaper due to the complexity of the devices and therefore the cost associated with producing them. Having said that, if you are regularly chomping your way through bags of nugget ice or are obsessed with putting it in your drinks, it is probably time to pick up your own device.
Which Restaurant Sells the Best Nugget Ice
Of course Sonic Drive-In makes the list. Nugget ice is even commonly known as Sonic Ice! In addition to using nugget ice as standard in their drinks, Sonic Drive also sells just their ice by the bag. It costs $2.49 for 10lbs of ice from Sonic.
Sonic Drive-In is currently in 44 of the 50 states (the 6 missing are Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Here is a list of Sonic locations.
I find the Sonic ice to be softer than Chick-fil-A's ice and it holds its shape much better than the Zaxby's ice we tried. Therefore if you find the Chick-fil-A ice a little too hard for you, Sonic is going to be a great option for you.
Chick-Fil-A uses nugget ice in their drinks and sells their ice! Chick-Fil-A ice is sold in 5lb bags for $1.59. Just be warned, if you need your nugget ice fix on a Sunday, Chick-Fil-A is closed as it chooses to give it's employees and franchisees a day of rest.
Chick-Fil-A is in 47 states (currently not in Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont). Here is a list of Chick-Fil-A locations.
I find Chick-fil-A ice to be much harder than Sonic ice. Although I prefer the way it looks (Chick-fil-A nuggets are super pretty - they are very uniform in width and consistently quite dry), it is a little bit too hard for me vs. Sonic when eaten straight away. However, if you like a slightly stronger crunch,OR if you need to transport it, this is a great option.
The service at Chick-fil-A always seems to be exceptionally fast, accurate and friendly. Just remember, they are closed on a Sunday!
Known for their sandwiches Which Wich also uses nugget ice. You can pick up a bag of nugget ice from Which Wich for $2.50. You can even order online under the 'Catering' section of their menu.
With over 900 locations across 17 states US, Zaxby's nugget ice is well loved, particularly in the south. Zaxby's has previously sold an 8lb bag for $1.99 in addition to using it as their go-to ice in their soft beverages. However, they do not have a standardized policy on whether they sell their nugget ice. In fact, they have even seemed a little confused when I have previously ordered it.
I thought I should reach out to corporate to see what the official line is. This is the response I got.
Based on my experience Zaxby's is the softest nugget ice out there. It was wetter than most other nugget ice I have tried and lacks a bit of shape. This can make it a bit messier to munch on.
Which Restaurants put Nugget Ice in Their Drinks?
At the time of writing we have not been able to buy ice as a stand alone product from these restaurants. However, you can likely still get at least a few cups of their ice to go if you ask nicely.
- Blake's Lotaburger: Here is a list of Blake's Lotaburger locations.
- Boom.a.rang diners: Here is a list of Boom.a.rang diner locations.
- Cook Out: More nugget ice in the South. Cook Out is a fast-food restaurant chain operating in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Mississippi. It serves up nugget ice in all of its fountain drinks. Here is a list of Cook Out locations.
- Freddy's: The traditional American hamburger chain known for its steak burgers and frozen custard. Here is a list of Freddy's locations.
- Golden Chick: Here is a list of Golden Chick locations.
- Jimmy John's: Here is a list of Jimmy John's locations.
- MOD Pizza: Here is a list of MOD Pizza locations.
- Rising Cane's: One of our favourite chicken finger restaurants Rising Cane's serves up nugget ice in its soft beverages. Here is a list of Rising Cane's locations.
Of course, Sonic, Chick-fil-A, Zaxby's and Which Wich all put nugget ice in their drinks too. They just also sell it as a stand alone product whereas the restaurants above do not.
Stores or Gas Stations Selling Nugget Ice
The number of stores or gas stations selling nugget ice is much more limited than restaurants. However, incase one of these options are closer to you or you just fancy trying out a new ice vendor, here are some options:
- Wawa: Here is a list of Wawa locations.
- Quik Trip: In our opinion this ice is a little too large to really be considered pure nugget ice but it is still pretty good and has a really nice crunch. If you have a craving that needs filling Quik Trip ice will probably do the job. Here is a list Quik Trip locations.
- Thornton's: If you are in IL, FL, TN, KY, OH or IN you are in luck. Thornton's gas stations' beverage stations have Scottsman nugget ice makers. Scottsman invented nugget ice back in the 1980s! Here is a list of Thornton's locations.