There's a reason people allegedly scream for ice cream. And it's not just because the alliteration sounds smooth. At the peak of summer, there is nothing more sweetly satisfying than a vigorous scoop of ice cream, be it fresh off a truck or heaped inside polished bowls at a sexy restaurant. With July being National Ice Cream Month and July 20 being National Ice Cream Day, there's no better time to start screaming for summer's signature dessert. Here's where to do so:
(Soft-serve gelato action at Eataly)
: Nothing like a good old fashioned ice cream bar to whet your whistle on a hot July day. HUB 51 is celebrating National Ice Cream Month in style with housemade fresh-dipped ice cream bars. These bars are actually a fixture on the dessert menu, but flavors change frequently, so inquire with your server so you know precisely how you should be screaming. Rest assured the ice cream is fresh, housemade, and salacious.
: Here's a nifty way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day: head to Bub City for free cups of ice cream. The barbecue bar and restaurant will be doling out complimentary ice cream cups with any dinner purchase on July 20. And to keep the party going, they'll offer free ice cream for lunch the subsequent week. Obviously, ice cream makes an apt finale to any meaty meal, so be sure not to sleep on this one.
: Rounding out the Lettuce Entertain You portfolio of excellent ice cream offerings, RPM Italian embraces its Euro roots with gelato. Specifically, their chocolate mint gelato is on hand for National Ice Cream Day. Of course, the regular menu standbys are just as noteworthy and decadent. Like the vanilla gelato served in the affogato, the hazelnut gelato served with the tartufo, and the straight-up rice pudding gelato, which sounds like the best thing ever.
: Speaking of gelato, another special way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day/Month is with the soft-serve gelato at Eataly. This stuff is pretty special in that it's not found elsewhere in Chicago, not to mention it's downright delicious. Dubbed "Làit Gelato," this stuff derives its name from the Piemontese word for milk. The idea originated with chef Ugo Alciati, who used the milk of pastured Bianca Piemontese cows combined with sweet additions like hazenuts and chocolate to concoct soft-serve gelato. Now guests at Eataly can get their ice cream fix with an accent.
: Likely Chicago's most notorious ice cream creation can be found at The Office, the invite-only speakeasy tucked beneath The Aviary. Here, the focus is on classic cocktails and elegant Americana food. Case in point: a behemoth sundae for upwards of $30. The dessert is designed to feed two, heaped with massive portions of ice cream and nostalgic toppings such as gummies, cookies, whipped cream, and cherries.
: Looking to satiate your ice cream cravings in style? Head up to THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago to find a dizzying array of sweet options, each crafted by pastry chef Eric Estrella. This includes mini ice cream cookie sandwiches in flavors such as whoopie pie and strawberry ice cream sandwich, a s'mores and rocky road sandwich, and a classic-inspired chocolate chip and vanilla sandwich. For something a little daintier, there's the Bucket of BonBons, a smatteing of mini chocolate-covered ice creams.
: The most classic ice cream parlor in Chicago remains a time-tested staple in local ice cream lore. Margie's Candies has been scooping up treacly Americana for the better part of a century at its original Western Ave. location, and the shoppe remains as rustic and homey as day one. Here, it's all about old fashioned banana splits, sundaes, shakes, and any other combo of ice cream whimsy. Portions are huge, the hot fudge is rich and thick, and service is adorably sassy. This is what ice cream dreams are made for.
- Matt Kirouac