Two treats in one: Original Rainbow Cone and Buona Beef to join forces in Darien
Anyone craving a five-flavor ice cream cone to go with their Italian beef sandwich should head to DuPage County next week.
That's because the first restaurant combining The Original Rainbow Cone and Buona: The Original Italian Beef is slated to open in Darien on Wednesday, July 7.
"We thought this would be a great first test store to really try the new dual restaurant concept," said Buona co-owner Don Buonavolanto.
More than two years ago, the three-generation-strong Buonavolanto family entered into a business partnership with Lynn Sapp, the owner of The Original Rainbow Cone. Since Sapp has no family heirs, she was keen to work with the Buonavolantos to ensure her family's 95-year-old legacy Chicago ice cream brand could continue to thrive.
So far the Sapp-Buonavolanto partnership has spread Original Rainbow Cone sweetness throughout the suburbs. The first stand-alone location outside of Chicago opened in Lombard in May, while their fleet of ice cream trucks was expanded from one to four this summer.
The Darien Buona is more than 15 years old, and Buonavolanto said the restaurant was already due for a renovation to keep up with newer franchised locations in the Chicago area.
The expanded Original Rainbow Cone/Buona location is 4,600 square feet, with a common entrance and two ordering counters. The shared seating is about 100 indoors and about 60 outside on a covered patio that also features a fire pit.
Other renovations at the Darien location include curbside pickup, an indoor kiosk for advance online orders and dual drive-through lanes.
Yet Buonavolanto said only prepackaged pints and quarts of Original Rainbow Cone ice cream will be offered through the drive through.
"But we include cones to go with the pints and quarts," Buonavolanto said. "So you can make your own cones at home,"
The dual restaurant concept in Darien will be closely watched to see if more combined locations are warranted. Double-branded Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins restaurants have been a proven success since the 1990s, though Buonavolanto doesn't feel that comparison is entirely apt.
"I would probably say more of Culver's with their burgers and salads," Buonavolanto said. "Me, personally, I've never gone into a Culver's without leaving with a frozen custard. So, we think Buona and Rainbow Cone go great together."