Sun-Times readers’ top 10 best ice cream spots in the Chicago area
BY DARRYL HOLLIDAY July 1, 2011 12:40AM
Brothers Tommy (left) and Todd Zarlengo are the latest generation of their family to helm the Chicago Heights-based Zarlengo's Italian Ice. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
THE TOP 10
1. Zarlengo’s Italian Ice and Gelato, 257 W. Joe Orr Rd., Chicago Heights.
2. Duff’s Dogs, 4835 N. Austin.
3. Scooter’s Frozen Custard, 1658 W. Belmont.
4. The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, 7347 W. Madison St., Forest Park.
5. Original Rainbow Cone, 9233 S. Western.
6. Dairy Bar, 1015 Harlem Ave., Glenview.
7. Capannari Ice Cream, 10 S. Pine, Mount Prospect.
8. Black Dog Gelato, 859 N. Damen.
9. Shawn Michelle’s, 11925 S. Western, Blue Island.
10. 2 Sisters Frozen Custard, 4734 147th St., Midlothian.
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:38AM
Summer and ice cream are two things that were always meant to go together. From favorite flavors to the way it’s served up — cups, cones, bowls, fountain glasses and more — Sun-Times readers have a soft-serve spot in their hearts for specific ice cream emporiums. We asked our readers to nominate their favorite ice cream places, and from those 68 nominees, they cast their votes for the “Best Ice Cream” in the Chicago area.
So here’s your winner, Chicago, along with the rest of the Top Ten:
THE BEST ICE CREAM IN THE CHICAGO AREA
Chicago, you nominated your favorites and for one week, you voted for whom you rank as the best ice cream in Chicago. The winner? Zarlengo’s Italian Ice and Gelato (257 W. Joe Orr Rd., Chicago Heights, 708-754-9080, zarlengositalianice.com).
Since 1983, the Zarlengo family has served Chicago Heights with unique recipes and fresh ingredients. With more than 40 flavors of handmade frozen treats all produced in-house, the family, which makes up the majority of the restaurant’s staff, stays busy churning out quality treats to loyal customers.
“It’s hard, but it’s a labor of love,” said Todd Zarlengo, 25, a manager at the restaurant. Todd and his siblings, who grew up in the business founded by their father and grandparents, have since become involved in its operation, from business planning to the creation of gourmet menu items, while staying true to family traditions.
“The way we produce our products hasn’t changed,” Zarlengo said. “Everything is still made from scratch and with small batches. There’s an emphasis on quality — if we wouldn’t eat it, we wouldn’t serve it, basically.”
What began as a hamburger and hot dog restaurant has since become a neighborhood staple specializing in frozen desserts. According to Zarlengo, much of the restaurant’s success is due to an insistence on fresh, homemade products, as well as dedicated support from customers.
“We want to thank everyone who voted for us,” he said. “They’re why we do what we do. We wouldn’t do this if it weren’t for them.”