A's List: Chicago’s Summer Frozen Treat Guide

Bodega's churro cone. (Photo: Morgan Scofes)

By Audarshia Townsend

During summer in the Windy City, there are two ice-cold treats Chicagoans crave the most: beer and ice cream. They're especially popular during warmer months when temperatures are insanely high and you need something more satisfying than water.

For your eating and sipping pleasure, we're pointing you in the direction of some of the greatest frozen desserts available in Chicago. You'll even find a few boozy temptations certain to keep you refreshed during the hottest days of the year. Here's where to go for the big chill.

Black Dog Gelato

Why we love it. Black Dog Gelato has become synonymous with high-quality frozen treats. Accomplished pastry chef/proprietor Jessica Oloroso maintains the same quality of ingredients as her highly regarded pastries when she worked under celebrity chef Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat. The original location for Black Dog is in Ukrainian Village, and its newest feature is the sidewalk patio.

What to order. The Whiskey Bacon Gelato Bar is a best seller and one you must get when the store first opens. It's nonalcoholic, so it may be consumed by children and adults.


Why we love it. Bodega is Barrio's side-market concept. It serves as a one-stop-shop for breakfast tacos, churros and more.

What to order. The shop steps up its “cone game” with an inventive churro cone filled with soft serve ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or swirl) and topped with sparkling stardust glitter, chili-dusted pineapple, chocolate-covered pretzels or caramel popcorn. Truly Instagrammable.

Doughnut ice cream sandwiches at Firecakes. (Photo: Firecakes)

Cocoa + Co.

Why we love it. Located a few blocks south of Lincoln Park Zoo, the adorable chocolate-focused cafe has expanded its menu to include gourmet ice cream sandwiches during warmer months. Cocoa + Co. specializes in gourmet chocolates from all over the world, plus home-style pastries such as cookies, scones and brownies. There's also a menu of unconventional coffees, teas and hot chocolate drinks.

What to order. You can choose from four flavors, and each is stuffed with locally based Homer's Ice Cream that's been rolled in pecans, peppermint candies, crushed Oreos or chocolate chunks.


Why we love it. Jonathan Fox has jumped onto the doughnut trend with this sweet offering in River North. Firecakes specializes in from-scratch, small-batch doughnuts, using traditional recipes with creative twists.

What to order. The ice cream donut sandwich debuted on the menu in 2013 and it became an instant hit. Customers line up eagerly for the golden glory of glazed, squared donuts filled with house-made vanilla bean ice cream.

Boozy snowcones at Noyane. (Photo: Neil Burger)


Why we love it. Featuring sweeping views of some of the swankiest parts of downtown Chicago, Noyane is Conrad Chicago's seasonal rooftop lounge. It's Japanese gastropub inspired, showcasing small, shareable plates, original cocktails and craft beers.

What to order. Boozy snowballs are new to Noyane, and the shaved ice delicacy is served in a Chinese to-go container. Guests may choose from four flavors: boubon peach, coconut rum, passion fruit gin and chocolate vodka.

Original Rainbow Cone

Why we love it. At this Far South Side institution that's been around since the Roaring Twenties you can order classic ice cream flavors like black walnut, butter pecan and New York vanilla. But why do that when you're in the home of the place where you may order chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (named in honor of the famous downtown hotel), pistachio and orange sherbet all on one cone? That's the Original Rainbow Cone, and if you don't have time to make your way all the way to the South Side, it's a staple at Taste of Chicago.

What to order. The Original Rainbow Cone, of course.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish

Why we love it. Parson's Chicken & Fish is particularly busy during summer when its spacious patio is filled with neighborhood types clamoring for picnic-style, communal seats.

What to order. One of the biggest attractions is the Negroni slushy—an original concept made with the cocktail's classic ingredients of gin, Campari and vermouth.

See previous A's List columns right here.