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Ice cream and gelato shops roll out parade of flavors

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Updated: July 3, 2013 7:43PM

Fireworks are illegal in Chicago.

Sparklers, too.

One Fourth of July tradition is booming here, however. Local ice cream and gelato makers are offering more flavors, and more complex ones, just in time for everyone’s favorite summer holiday.

“We definitely will put flavors in our case that I know people will not necessarily have a large bowl of,” like blue cheese walnut gelato, said Jessica Oloroso, owner of Black Dog Gelato, which has two stand-alone Chicago stores. “They’re intriguing flavors that push your limits a little bit. I think people have fun with that, especially.”

Ben Roche, chef partner at Baume & Brix, started making small batches of specialty gelato because he loves eating it.

“Ice cream is something so universal and so approachable,” he said. “I don’t many people who don’t like ice cream. When it’s a more interesting, more unique and unconventional flavor profile you are trying to go for with ice cream, it’s really cool.”

In honor of July 4th, here are four places to try something delicious and cold in red, white or blue.

Flamingo’s #2

6733 W. Cermak Rd., Berwyn; (708) 749-4287

Owner Guadalupe Lopez offers 140 flavors every day in her shop. Her ice cream has less sugar than others to let the natural flavors shine. You can get chocolate, vanilla and all the usual suspects, but her specialities are fruit flavors and roasted coconut, the best seller. Her red, white and blue frozen tribute is the “Batman” flavor, with swirls of cherry, vanilla and blue bubble gum (the only artificial flavor she uses because it’s so popular with kids).

J.P. Graziano
Grocery Co., Inc.

901-905 W. Randolph; (312) 666-4587;

There’s only one place in town to find single scoops of the gelato from Baume & Brix chef partner Ben Roche, and that is this 76-year-old Italian import store on the near West Side. Roche and owner Jim Graziano met through a mutual barista friend and hammered out a deal to serve gelato at the grocery and sandwich shop.

“The most out-of-the-box flavor that Ben is known for is the tomato gelato,” Graziano said.

Roche currently uses fresh Campari tomatoes but hopes to expand into more heirloom varieties as the summer continues.

“I’ll be the first one to say I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to come up with,” Roche said. “Did I think it would get an amazing reception the week after I started doing it? I had no idea. I was really surprised it took off so fast.”

Black Dog Gelato

859 N. Damen and 1955 W. Belmont; (773) 235-3116; black

Jessica Oloroso, owner of Black Dog Gelato, offers a rotating batch of flavors. This week, blueberry french toast swirls blueberries through maple gelato. Whatever is in the case, Oloroso said sampling the wares is an essential part of the Black Dog experience.

“We encourage people to taste just about everything,” she said. “Don’t feel guilty.”

ice cubed truck

locations vary;

The name is meant to invoke ice cream to the third degree. Thanks to Chicago’s stringent food truck regulations, ice cubed serves up actual squares of ice cream and ice pops from its truck, which started roving through the city one year ago.

“I couldn’t scoop ice cream from the truck, so we had to pre-package ice cream,” said Erika Stone-Miller, ice cubed’s director of finance and flavors, of the ice cream’s square shape.

Ice cubed’s “Perfect Summer” is a lemongrass mascarpone ice cream swirled with fresh blueberry coulis. And what’s more perfect than ice cream on the Fourth of July?

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