Old-fashioned ice cream parlors are nearly extinct, but a few hidden gems still exist in Illinois today. Family-owned and operated ice cream joints serving up homemade ice cream are scattered throughout the state, offering customers the freshest, creamiest ice cream available. The following ice cream parlors all offer the best ice cream in a wide variety of the most delicious flavors imaginable. If you love ice cream, each of the following establishments should be on your list of places to visit.
The Plush Horse has been making delicious ice cream and other sweet treats in a fun environment for over 75 years. Choose from dozens of ice cream flavors like blueberry cheesecake, cake batter, and Hawaiian delight plus decide from hand-rolled cone flavors such as red velvet and coconut almond. They also offer frozen sorbets, yogurt, and gelatos.
For over 20 years, Tate’s has been serving up homemade ice cream treats for the community. Their exceptional service and welcoming atmosphere make this ice cream parlor one of the best in the state. Walking into Tate’s is like taking a step back into another time.
Known for their gourmet ice creams and classic flavors, Kimmer’s Ice Cream is a local favorite. They offer the traditional ice cream flavors in addition to many specialty flavors like red velvet cake, cinnamon roll, and coconut cake. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with their shakes, smoothies, and sundaes.
The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor is a family-owned and operated business known for their homemade ice cream and fresh-baked pies and cakes. They also offer ice cream cakes and pies, locally-roasted coffee, and homemade root beer. You simply cannot go wrong with anything you order at The Brown Cow.
This award-winning ice cream parlor features homemade ice cream scoops, cones, shakes, sundaes, and other favorite ice cream treats like bars, cakes, and ice cream sandwiches. The offer super-premium standard flavors like cookie dough and coconut chip along with distinctive, artisan flavors like girl scout cookie and lavender honey. Named “Top Ten Best Scoops in America” by “Good Morning America” and “Best Ice Cream in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine, Capannari is an obvious choice for ice cream lovers.
Chocolate Shoppe is another family-owned parlor that makes super-premium ice cream in dozens of flavors. They began with just 19 flavors in 1962, and now they offer over 100 delicious ice cream and yogurt flavors. You can also get no-sugar added and non-dairy ice cream here, too. They still make their ice cream batch-by-batch, just like they always have.
Original Rainbow originated in 1926 and invented The Rainbow Cone, featuring the winning combination of strawberry, chocolate, pistachio, Palmer House, and orange sherbet ice cream. They also offer feature flavor ice creams such as black walnut, New York vanilla, and bubble gum.
Graeter’s uses the old-fashioned “French Pot Process” to handcraft thick, creamy batches of ice cream using the only finest ingredients. Their hand-pack ice cream is nothing short of perfection, available in mouth-watering flavors such as black raspberry chocolate chip, salted caramel, and seasonal flavors like key lime pie. They use gourmet chocolate to create ribbons and chunks in their ice cream unlike anything you’ve tasted.
This hidden gem in Palatine should be on the bucket list of all ice cream lovers. The staff is super-friendly and the ice cream is rich and creamy. With so many flavors to choose from, you may have difficulty deciding on just one or two flavors. Although some customers report the portions are on the smaller side, the ice cream is still high-quality.