RobertPlant, I’m in Columbia, too, and you are correct that it’s all about chains here. I hate it, and can’t wait to move to a town that has "real" food. Having said that, I’ve eaten Maggie Moo’s once or twice at the mall and found it lacking. I much prefer the gelato place (can’t remember the name; it’s near Nordstrom).
The best local ice cream I have ever had is at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market. Hawk’s Hill Creamery serves real custard — their motto is "From Our Cows To You". They also sell very good cheeses. I go to the market most Sundays, and often have a dish of the wonderful vanilla custard. The chain stuff is a pale imitation, trust me!!