Summer Guide: (Not Just) Ice Cream | Restaurant Review | Chicago Reader

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Summer Guide: (Not Just) Ice Cream

Frozen treats, from humble soft-serve to Taiwanese shaved "snowflake ice"


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We've rounded up 58 spots for all manner of frozen treats—not just ice cream but everything from gelato to fro-yo, including Taiwanese shaved "snowflake ice" and even soft-serve, with delivery, for your pooch.

Ain't She Sweet Cafe Bronzeville Cafe serving shakes, smoothies, and 12 kinds of ice cream in addition to sandwiches and panini. Confections include the Sweet Dreams: vanilla ice cream, orange sherbet, and OJ. 10 AM-6 PM Mon-Fri, 11 AM-5 PM Sat, 4532 S. Cottage Grove, 773-373-3530,

Anna Held The ambience trumps the ice cream at the soda fountain in the landmark pink Edgewater Beach apartment building, which first opened in 1927. The menu served at the original marble counter and a few tables includes a standard selection of Blue Bunny sundaes, splits, shakes, malts, and sodas, along with sandwiches, salads, and soups. 10 AM-6 PM Mon-Sat, 5557 N. Sheridan, 773-561-1940, —Elizabeth M. Tamny

Baladoche Baladoche specializes in Belgian zucker waffles, about the size of your hand with pearl sugar mixed into the batter. Toppings include cinnamon sugar, chocolate, jam, Nutella, or the house gelato, available in seven flavors. 3 PM-11 PM Mon-Fri, 11 AM-11 PM Sat-Sun, 2905 N. Clark, 773-880-5090, —Anne Ford

Bellezza Gelato Caffe When I paid a visit to this Harlem Avenue cafe it was so hot outside that everything was melting. Even so, my scoop of banana-caramel-praline gelato was one of the best I've had outside Italy. My second scoop—butter pecan—was just as good, with whole pecans sprinkled liberally throughout. There's wide selection of gelati—for chocolate lovers there are two different choices, double-Dutch chocolate and dark chocolate-raspberry tartufo—as well as superaffordable coffee drinks and pastries.  1-9 PM Tue-Sat, 5-9 PM Sun, 3637 N. Harlem, 773-545-1239, —Sam Kaplan

Berry Chill The frozen yogurt at this trendy-looking River North spot is lactose- and gluten-free and chock-full of probiotics. To make it even healthier, there's a wide selection of fresh fruit toppings. There are also cookies, candy, and granola, but the sweets taste sort of strange with the tangy yogurt. There are also locations at 132 N. LaSalle and 500 W. Madison, but according to a story in Crain's, their fate is in question after the company's April filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.   11 AM-midnight Sun-Thu, 11 AM-2 AM Fri-Sat, 635 N. State, 312-266-2445, —Julia Thiel

Bittersweet The delectable sweets by Judy Contino, former Ambria pastry chef and Lettuce Entertain You corporate pastry chef, are the attraction at this Lakeview bakery, and ice cream, made in-house year-round, is outstanding: "In my gastrocosmology," wrote Reader critic Nicholas Day of the chocolate, "this is the ice cream that immediately precedes the rapture."   7 AM-7 PM Tue-Fri, 8 AM-7 PM Sat, 8 AM-6 PM Sun, 1114 W. Belmont, 773-929-1100, —Laura Levy Shatkin

Bobtail Soda Fountain There are 20 house-made ice cream flavors, plus two kinds of Italian ice, at this old-fashioned Lakeview soda fountain. There are also locations at Buckingham Fountain and 1114 Central, Wilmette. 11 AM-11 PM Mon-Thu, 10 AM-midnight Fri-Sat, 10 AM-11 PM Sun, 2951 N. Broadway, 773-880-7372, —Laura Levy Shatkin

The Brown Sack Malaika Marion's "soup, sandwich, and shake shack" on the western fringe of Logan Square is a sunny, six-table destination for homestyle standards like the gooey grilled organic peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich, a rich mac 'n' cheese, the meatball sub, the daunting Reuben, Goose Island root beer floats, and homemade ice cream sandwiches. The restaurant's moving to a new location TBA this summer; look for expanded hours coming soon. Cash only.   11 AM-8 PM Tue-Sat, 3706 W. Armitage, 773-661-0675, —Martha Bayne

Caffe Gelato This sleek family-run Ukrainian Village spot offers 18 seasonally rotated flavors, including bacio (chocolate hazelnut), frutti di bosco (berries), ananas (pineapple), and panna cotta. You can mix flavors or get your gelato fix in the form of a shake with a shot of espresso.   10 AM-10 PM Sun-Thu, 10 AM-11 PM Fri-Sat, 2034 W. Division, 773-227-7333, —Susannah J. Felts

Canady le Chocolatier Primarily an outlet for the handmade chocolates of Michael Canady, Canady le Chocolatier also sells house-made gelato. The 12 daily flavors change regularly; on one visit I tried chocolate, burnt caramel, raspberry, and mascarpone. The creamy textures were right on, and the raspberry had bright fruit flavor, but the mascarpone was yogurty.   11 AM-9 PM Mon-Sat, noon-6 PM Sun, 824 S. Wabash, 312-212-1270, —Peter Margasak

Cedar Crest Ice Cream The former Ben & Jerry's now sells this Wisconsin-made ice cream in flavors like Coconut Joy and Chicago Dark Chocolate; fat-free and kosher versions are also available.  Noon-9 PM Sun, noon-10 PM Mon-Thu, noon-11 PM Fri-Sat, 1634 Orrington, Evanston, 847-869-2640.

Cherubs This comfortable Logan Square deli and coffee shop has a cold case of Breyer's in 16 mostly pedestrian flavors like chocolate and a not overly sweet strawberry, plus a coffee bar, sandwiches, fountain creations like a lovely coconut and pineapple smoothie served in a coconut-shell bowl, and a shifting menu of soups. Noon-8 PM Sun, 11 AM-8 PM Mon-Sat, 2524 W. Fullerton, 773-235-8103. —Tasneem Paghdiwala

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Edgebrook ice cream stand serving 52 varieties of Wisconsin's Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and a frozen yogurt, plus Italian ice and sugar-free and soy versions. Cash or checks only. 10 AM-11 PM daily, 5337 W. Devon, 773-763-9778,

Cloud 9 The production of the Taiwanese frozen sweet xua hua bing ("snowflake ice")—a bowl of thin, mounded ribbons of sweet, soft, rapidly melting ice shaved at high speed from a spinning frozen cylinder—is an entertainment unto itself, and this Lincoln Park spot is so far the only place in town to offer it. Three to four monthly flavors can be topped by any combination of syrups, fruit purees, chopped nuts, or fresh fruit.  Noon-10 PM Sun-Thu, noon-11 PM Fri-Sat, with the possibility of expanded hours come summer, 604 W. Belmont, 773-857-1255, —Mike Sula

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