Chicago's Top 5 Ice Cream Shops

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 8:57pm

“Ooh let’s get ice cream!” I said on the drive back to Chicago after a boozy, soft-sugar-cookie-filled Memorial Day weekend.

“What is your trigger?” My boyfriend asked as we passed by a smokestack. “You always seem to want ice cream!”

It’s true. For a lactose intolerant girl, I sure do crave ice cream every day. And usually—well almost always—I indulge that craving. 

So with summer sprouting up, I want to offer up some of my favorite ice cream haunts, and hear your picks too.

  1. Caffe Gelato—If you want good gelato, head here. Made fresh daily, this Wicker Park shop swirls perfectly chewy swoops of gelato in traditional Italian flavors like hazelnut, raspberry, chocolate and pistachio.
  2. Annette’s Italian Ice—If you’re in Lincoln Park, avoid yogurt franchises and head to this breezy lil mom-and-pop shop on Armitage. The froyo is well-made in sturdy flavors—not too tart or cupcake-y—with toppings galore. Plus there’s outdoor seating. Cash only.
  3. Black Dog Gelato—You’ve probably heard of the gourmet gelato and sorbet joint that’s known for unusual combos:  goat cheese cashew caramel; sesame fig chocolate chip; Mexican hot chocolate. Taste and sample though, you’re bound to find a dynamite flavor you like—or try a gelato cookie sandwich. Cash only. 
  4. Oberweis—I don’t usually like including chains on lists, but a recent late-night visit to this dairy store stopped me in my tracks. The packed, rich ice cream was the best I’d had in months. I recommend the chocolate peanut butter. 
  5. Scooter’s Frozen Custard—No summer is complete without a stop to Scooter’s in Lakeview. Try some of their creamy custard, or mix in graham cracker pie crust, Scooter’s own peanut butter, marshmallow, coconut, and more into their “concretes,” which have names like “Elvis” and “Chocolate Yum Yum.”

On my to-eat list:

iCream Café—This sounds like the Starbucks of the ice cream world. The Wicker Park store makes whatever kind of ice cream, yogurt or sorbet you’d like in front of you.  So pick your cream, a dessert base (regular, light, organic, soy, you get the gist), and then a flavor, a color, and mix-ins.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream—This popular Ohio-based ice cream company is debuting its first Chicago location in Lakeview this August. Albeit expensive, expect flavors like brambleberry, Riesling poached pear sorbet, whiskey and pecans, wildberry lavendar, and more, to be filling bellies on Southport.

Where is your favorite place to get ice cream? Leave a comment below and let me know! (Lord knows I need another place to stake out…) 

Photo courtesy of Black Dog Gelato. 

RosemaryL's picture
Rosemary Lane
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greenholdt's picture
Submitted by greenholdt on Tue, 05/28/2013 - 9:50pm

Margie's on Western at Armitage--it has been there since 1921. When my mom was in high school, she would go to Margie's for ice cream after a movie with friends. Try their homemade hot fudge sauce.

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