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posted: 4/5/2012 11:33 AM

Frozen treat battle shapes up in East Dundee

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  • Van's Frozen Custard is moving to East Dundee on Route 72 (Main Street) and River Street, across the street from Dairy Queen. Van's was in Carpentersville for five years, but jumped at the chance to be near the East Dundee bike path.

       Van's Frozen Custard is moving to East Dundee on Route 72 (Main Street) and River Street, across the street from Dairy Queen. Van's was in Carpentersville for five years, but jumped at the chance to be near the East Dundee bike path.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

 
 

Taking shape just in time for summer could be a friendly battle of which store serves the best frozen treats in downtown East Dundee.

Van's Frozen Custard is moving to the village in a sweet spot right across the street from Dairy Queen, setting up a rivalry between the two eateries at River and Main streets.

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"I guess it'd be better if they weren't there, but we're the new dogs in town, so we've got to work with what we can," said Chad Van Acker, who owns Van's with his parents, Rick and Nancy. "I'm excited about it. I think it's fun competition."

Van's has been on Huntley Road in Carpentersville for five years, but its lease recently expired and the owners saw an opportunity to open in downtown East Dundee on River Street -- right by the popular bike path.

The Elgin-based Van Acker family has started renovating the 84-year-old building that was once a gas station but in recent years housed Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurants.

The eatery's main focus will be its signature frozen custard, but the family is still deciding how to put the building's full kitchen to use. Outdoor seating will also be available.

If all goes well with the renovations, Van's will open in June, with eight or nine employees.

Because the property lies within a tax increment finance district, the owners can recapture some of the money they spends on facade improvements -- the entire renovation is expected to cost $30,000.

Frozen custard and ice cream are two different beasts.

Frozen custard uses a little more of the egg yolk and is created with less air, which gives it a smoother, creamier consistency.

But don't expect the Dairy Queen to just melt away.

That Dairy Queen has held it down at that intersection with its soft-serve ice cream since the 1950s, said Mike Potirus, general manager of the East Dundee and Algonquin locations. He welcomes new competition, especially from businesses that will help increase traffic flow to the area. Potirus also noted that frozen custard shops tend to attract a wealthier clientele, while Dairy Queen appeals to those looking to save a few bucks.

"We've been around for a long time. We're entrenched here in the community (and) we're not going anywhere," Potirus said. "If we were panicked about it, I'd be jumping up and down and doing weird promotions, but in the overall scheme of things, the more business we can attract to East Dundee, the better for everyone down here."

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