Bye-bye summer sweets, winter is coming. Some of our favorite summer exclusive dessert spots are headed in for hibernation. So before they close their doors for a long winter’s nap, here are some of the best seasonal dessert shops you can find around the City of Chicago.
I’m a person who needs absolutely no occasion or reason to have dessert and have taken it upon myself to indulge in as many cool desserts as possible during the warm summer months. Some of the best dessert spots are in fact only seasonal (for good reason, ice cream doesn’t seem that appealing when you yourself are a popsicle). With that being said, here are a few of my favorite exclusive to summer dessert spots around the city as well as year-round city classics.
1. Miko’s Italian Ice
2236 N Sacramento Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Nothing says warm weather is here to stay like the annual opening of Miko’s Italian Ice. With multiple locations, Miko’s has developed a cult-like following. On any given day you can see people lined up on Sacramento at the Logan Square location to see what this locally owned and operated location’s flavors of the day might be. A constant rotation of flavors as well as staples like strawberry and the very popular banana with chocolate chips are on the menu. While I enjoy trying new flavors, my ultimate favorite flavors are passion fruit and watermelon. The best part is the Logan Square location is right next to Palmer Square Park where you can stroll through the beautiful tree-filled park with your loved ones, babies or dogs and enjoy your icy prize.
2. Tastee Freez
2815 W Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
I went back and forth about whether or not to list Tastee Freez first, but I went with my gut on Miko’s, because as much as I love ice cream (and I love it a lot), nothing says spring/summer is here than the opening of Miko’s. That being said, my love and fascination of Tastee Freez can’t be denied. It was here at the Logan Square location where I learned what a Boston was. If you yourself have never heard and/or never had a Boston, I implore you to go directly to Tastee Freez. A Boston is a shake/sundae combo. That’s right, you get 2-for-1, and the beauty of The Freez is they have so many different flavors and add-ins that you can get any type of shake and any kind of sundae combo. Not only do they have every kind of flavor and ice cream the kid in you could ever come up with (and the adult in you dreams about), they serve classic American fast food like chili dogs, burgers and fries. Imagine Dairy Queen on steroids and you’ll come to a closer understanding of what The Freez really is. Open seasonally as well (more flexible hours during “warmer” winter months), Tastee Freez is a must visit before you miss the chance.
3. Scooter’s Frozen Custard
1658 W Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
So far we have, Italian Ice, Bostons, and now custard on the menu. Things are really shaping up here. Scooter’s is a mom and pop that serves up custard made in shop everyday from ingredients straight from Wisconsin. The smoothness of their custard is something to be envied among other shops and their concrete mix-ins give you endless possibilities. A favorite of mine is the Elvis, which takes vanilla custard and combines it with Reese’s peanut butter cup and bananas. Yum! There are so many delicious combos you can make at Scooters and fun things for kids to try, like their worms and dirt cup, which combines custard with cookies and cream, gummi worms, whipped cream and sprinkles. Scooter’s is another seasonal location only available from the last Friday in March until December 1.
4. Annette’s Italian Ice
924 W Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
I know, I know, two Italian ice competitors on the same list? But they’re both good in their own right. Annette’s is another neighborhood classic, but instead of Logan Square or Bucktown, Annette’s calls Lincoln Park home. Unlike Miko’s, which strictly serves quality Italian ice with roughly 10 – 15 rotating flavors, Annette’s menu offers a bit more variety. They serve about 30 different flavors of Italian ice as well as smoothies, ice cream and even peanut butter “ice cream” for dogs. With a growing variety of flavors, combinations, smoothies, yogurt and sundaes, Annette’s is a spot that will never go out of style. Pro tip: seasonal location and cash only.
5. Margie’s Candies
1960 N Western
Chicago, IL 60647
Nothing gives you 1950’s diner nostalgia quite like Margie’s Candies. The original has been around since 1921, passed down generation to generation with their third-generation owner Peter George Poulos currently running things. They have a booth in the restaurant where both the Beatles and Rolling Stones have dined. Even Al Capone was spotted once upon a time at this establishment. While they’re open year round and serve sandwiches and dinner plates, people line up for hours to get a taste of Margie’s sundaes during the summer. Classic sundaes and banana splits are stables at this vintage spot. The great thing is they’re located just off the Western Blue Line (another location on Montrose) and you can always order your ice cream to-go if the wait time proves too long for your comfort. Don’t let the name fool you, they do have a great homemade candy selection, but their sundaes are where it’s at. Be like a Beatle and get a Fudge Atomic sundae on your next visit. Margie’s Candies, come for the history and nostalgia, stay for the ice cream.
I doubt you need anymore convincing, but can you believe it’s August already? Fall is just around the corner and with cool weather fast approaching it’s time to loosen up on your summer diet and get some cool treats while you still can!
By Lauren Stevens