Marathon Life

Monday, September 28, 2009

We all scream for iCream in Chicago

Last week while in Chicago for a tradeshow, I stumbled upon a very cool ice cream shop called iCream Cafe. I already knew that Wicker Park was a pretty vibrant and eclectic neighborhood to visit. I went to Wicker Park on my first night there not even realizing iCream was around the corner from where I ate. So the next night I searched online for an ice cream place in that area and saw iCream listed.

From the moment I walked in I fell in love. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed with all options. It's hard for me to make a decision, especially with an overload of options. The owner was actually behind the counter and explained the process to me. Basically you choose two flavors (from a selection of 29) to mix and you can add a topping for extra. They have low fat, no-fat, full-fat, sugar-free and dairy free ice cream and frozen yogurt, as well as selection of sorbets and even hot pudding!

Everything is made directly in front of you with LIQUID NITROGEN! Yes, that is correct. The photo above shows how they make it. There is a tank and tubes that come down fill the nitrogen into a mixer that looks like a cake mixer. I chose the non-fat chocolate and almond with graham cracker crust mixed in. You can request food coloring to be added as well. So if you want "blue" vanilla you can!

iCream Co-founder Cora Shaw told me she wanted to open a place where "the kid who is lactose intolerant can have options." After getting her MBA in 2007, she used her great business insight and ideas and opened iCream in 2008 and isn't looking back. It's great to see someone going the non-corporate route after business school. The place is so popular that people in Chicago are demanding other locations to open. Also, people have inquired about franchising her store around the country. Yes, it is that good. It is that unique. I have never seen anything like this before.

I told her that she should open a location in SoCal as we love our yogurt here. It seems there is a different Pinkberry knock-off chain on every street corner. I can never look at Pinkberry the same again. Actually I avoid Pinkberry as much as possible and usually just go to the independent yogurt shops. I was so inspired when I left. Maybe someday I will own my own iCream chain.  I will definitely be back next time I am in Chicago.

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posted by Anthony at 11:14 PM


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