The ultimate ice cream lovers' guide to the suburbs

  • Black raspberry chip ice cream outsells all other flavors at Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect.

    Black raspberry chip ice cream outsells all other flavors at Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect. Courtesy of Capannari Ice Cream

  • The longtime Chicago staple Rainbow Cone opened an eye-catching ice cream parlor in Lombard last May.

    The longtime Chicago staple Rainbow Cone opened an eye-catching ice cream parlor in Lombard last May. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/9/2021 10:18 AM

Ice cream heals from the inside out.

Someone told Capannari Ice Cream and Catering co-owner Katie Dolan Dix that once. And while she can't confirm that statement to any degree of scientific certainty, a scoop or two has been known to put a smile on many a face.

 

That's certainly true for the Mount Prospect ice cream shop, whose biggest seller is a single scoop of ice cream served in a waffle cone. The company's most popular flavor is Capannari's signature black raspberry chip, which Dolan Dix says outsells the classic vanilla and mint chocolate chip.

Ice cream is recession-proof, says Katie Dolan Dix, co-owner of Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect.
Ice cream is recession-proof, says Katie Dolan Dix, co-owner of Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect. - Courtesy of Capannari Ice Cream

Customer preferences shift with the seasons, Dolan Dix said, with strawberry, blueberry and peach popular during the summer, replaced by pumpkin, maple walnut and eggnog in the fall and winter.

But black raspberry chip reigns supreme.

Like many businesses, the family-owned Capannari experienced a bit of a slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dolan Dix says customers are returning for the beloved comfort food, which she describes as recession-proof.

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"It's something you can do inexpensively," she said. "You can take your family out for an ice cream cone without breaking the bank."

Greg's Frozen Custard co-owner Greg DiPiero makes a mini turtle sundae, one of the Mundelein shop's house specialties.
Greg's Frozen Custard co-owner Greg DiPiero makes a mini turtle sundae, one of the Mundelein shop's house specialties. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Donna DiPiero, co-owner of Greg's Frozen Custard in Mundelein, agrees.

"Custard makes people happy," especially during tough times, said DiPiero, who owns the business with husband Greg DiPiero and George Orfanos.

"People may not be able to afford to take all the grandkids out for dinner," she said, "but they can take them out for a cup of custard."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
A turtle sundae is one of the house specialties at Greg's Frozen Custard in Mundelein.
A turtle sundae is one of the house specialties at Greg's Frozen Custard in Mundelein. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Custard contains pasteurized egg yolk, which differentiates it from ice cream, DiPiero said. Among Greg's most popular offerings is pistachio custard and the signature butter lovers sundae, which consists of butter pecan custard, butterscotch and a Butterfinger.

Everything is available in regular and mini size, DiPiero said, including house favorites such as the turtle sundae and the s'mores sundae.

Now in its 21st year, Greg's Frozen Custard has become something of an institution in Mundelein, said DiPiero, whose mother-in-law has been serving customers since day one.

But when it comes to longevity, few ice cream shops can match Rainbow Cone, the ice cream store that opened 95 years ago on Chicago's South Side. It has so far survived wars, a depression and a pandemic, according to marketing director John Buonavolanto.

Stacked, not scooped, is how employees serve up ice cream at Rainbow Cone in Lombard.
Stacked, not scooped, is how employees serve up ice cream at Rainbow Cone in Lombard. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

The most famous product is the titular, five-layer rainbow cone, which Buonavolanto says has "stood the test of time."

It's all about memories, family and tradition, Buonavolanto said of the signature serving, which is stacked, not scooped.

Customers grew up with the rainbow cone, and now they're introducing it to their grandchildren, he said.

"That's what we owe all of our longevity to," he said. "The cone is the cone. It's everything."

• • •

Looking for a cool treat on a hot day? Here are some suburban suggestions.

Banana Split Inc.

820 Church Road, Aurora, (630) 896-8680, bananasplitinc.com/

This soft serve ice cream shop serves up malts, sundaes, cones, smoothies, floats and other treats and makes its own waffle cones, brownies and cookies on-site. Established in 1983, its signature dish is the banana split, available in small, regular and "the groaner."

Batavia Creamery

4 N. Island Ave., Batavia, (630) 482-3729, bataviacreamery.com/

House flavors include pralines and cream, peanut butter and chocolate and a combination of blue raspberry, vanilla and cherry called Superman. The creamery rotates more than 150 flavors, of which 40 are available daily.

Capannari Ice Cream and Catering

10 S. Pine St., Mount Prospect, (847) 392-2277, capannaris.com/

Located in the former Moehling General Store and Post Office, one of Mount Prospect's first buildings, the family-owned ice cream maker has a large corporate clientele but still caters to the locals, who co-owner Katie Dolan Dix said favor the signature black raspberry chip. which outsells vanilla and mint chocolate chip.

Charlie's Creamery

6 E. Downer St., Aurora, (630) 340-4074, charliescreamery.com/

Named for the family pet, a Cavapoo named Charlie, this family-owned ice cream shop is housed in the Aurora Silver Plate Manufacturing Company, which dates back to 1869. Coconut, tangerine, latte and pink grapefruit sorbet are among its signature flavors.

Comet Frozen Custard & Coffee

3001 Kirchoff Road, Rolling Meadows, (847) 873-0075, facebook.com/cometcustard

Butterfinger, Heath Bar and Double Mint are among the flavors available at this combination coffee and ice cream shop.

Daisy's Malt Shoppe

807 N. Quentin Road, Palatine, (847) 485-7110, daisysmaltshoppe.net/

Shakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and sundaes (including cinnamon bun, fudge brownie and strawberry shortcake) are on the menu at this Palatine shop.

Dini's Ice Cream Shoppe

346 E. Irving Park Road, Roselle, (630) 866-6788, and 740 W. Army Trail Road, Carol Stream, (224) 366-0609, dinisicecream.com/

These parlors serve up Wisconsin ice cream.

Every Day's a Sundae

990 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, (630) 810-9155, facebook.com/EveryDaysASundaeDownersGrove

With summer flavors such as blueberry pie, Key lime pie and strawberry cheesecake, this uniquely named shop is a dessert lover's dream.

Now in its 21st year, Greg's Frozen Custard in Mundelein serves customers from late March through Thanksgiving.
Now in its 21st year, Greg's Frozen Custard in Mundelein serves customers from late March through Thanksgiving. - John Starks | Staff Photographer
Greg's Frozen Custard

1490 S. Lake St., Mundelein, (847) 837-4175, facebook.com/gregscustard

Celebrating its 21st year, this seasonal frozen custard shop is open from late March through Thanksgiving. The mother of owner Greg DiPiero still works at the shop, where the turtle sundae and the signature s'mores sundae earn praise from longtime customers.

Julie Ann's Frozen Custard

6500 Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-9117, julieanns.com/

This family-owned frozen custard shop creates ice cream cakes as well as vegan options. Check out Julie Ann's food truck at its regular stops at Veteran Acres Park and Three Oaks Recreation Area.

The Milk House Ice Cream

230 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove, (224) 530-3951. The Elgin location at 1175 Lillian St. is open weekends only. milkhouseicecream.com/

Established in 2015, the family-owned Milk House is located on one of the area's first farmsteads, family-owned since the late 1800s. Owners Clint and Brook Carey offer homemade ice cream featuring fruits from local farm stands. Best-sellers include cookies and cream, toasted coconut macaroon and Vietnamese cinnamon.

Wayne and Leah Kramer of Villa Park enjoy a cone at Lombard's Rainbow Cone.
Wayne and Leah Kramer of Villa Park enjoy a cone at Lombard's Rainbow Cone. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer
Rainbow Cone

498 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, (630) 792-1134, rainbowcone.com/

The longtime Chicago staple (95 years and counting) expanded from the city's South Side to Lombard in May and to Darien this week. Marketing director John Buonavolanto attributes the company's longevity to its signature cone, consisting of five layers of ice cream -- chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, orange sherbet and Palmer House (with walnuts and cherries) -- stacked, not scooped.

Sprinkles Ice Cream Shoppe

1405 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, (847) 285-1866, sprinkles-ice-cream-shoppe-il.hub.biz/

La Michoacana Tres Hermanos

837 S. Westmore-Meyers Road, Unit A2E, Lombard, (630) 613-9138, lamichoacanatreshermanos.business.site/

Cherry On Top Ice Cream Shoppe

144 Bartlett Plaza, Bartlett, (630) 855-2699, cherryontopics.com/

The Freeze

131 Hawley St., Grayslake, (847) 223-2262, facebook.com/Dailyicecreamposts

Van's Frozen Custard

16 E. Main St., East Dundee, (847) 836-8267, vansfrozencustard.com/

Sweet Street Candies and Goodies

17 W. St. Charles Road, Lombard, (630) 627-8510, sweetstreetcandies.com/

Ice Cream Social

100 E. Station St., Suite 160, Barrington, (224) 848-4177, icecreamsocialbarrington.com/

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