Jeni’s Ice Cream Will Soon Be In My Chicago Neighborhood (Goodbye, Cruel World)

posted in: Chicago, Day In The Life, Food 6
I was ready to use a stock picture of any old ice cream, but a Hilary Hartman uploaded this image to WikiCommons. My Wiki-only OCD re: pictures is assuaged. My streak unbroken. Thank you, Hilary. Image: Wikipedia.


There is a Jeni’s Ice Cream shop coming to my neighborhood.

When I discovered this, I screamed — for ice cream. If you know Jeni’s ice cream and live in my neighborhood or near it, you’re also screaming. It’s terrifying, all these screaming people, but it’s not like we’re screaming because we’re being chased by an axe murder or anything. We’re screaming for Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, and Salted Peanut Butter With Chocolate Flecks, and Gooey Butter Cake, and Brown Butter Almond Brittle. There are others, and great tubs of them will soon arrive in the Gold Coast and I will commune with them.

This is not a sponsored post. In fact, it is I who pay Jeni’s Ice Cream for their goods and services. It doesn’t seem fair to pay a company lots of money (their product is not cheap) and then give them free marketing on top of it. But, since the ice cream-delivered dopamine hits I’ve enjoyed over the years have been made possible because of Jeni’s product, I suppose I owe them. For cold spoonfuls of Atlantic Beach Pie, Mexican Chocolate, Buttercream Birthday Cake, and Skillet Cinnamon Bun, I give, and give, and give, apparently. Pathetic!

Recently, Eric and I caught a matinee at the AMC on Ohio Street just off Michigan Avenue. When the movie got out, we walked north, toward home. Our route from the theater takes us past Connors Park, a tiny patch of land at the intersection of Rush, Wabash, and Chestnut Streets, and this was the location of my discovery. I know I’m giving you lots of street names, but I want to remember every detail, to mentally return to the scene of my future ice cream crimes.

And setting the scene is important because Jeni’s could open a shop in a ditch or serve customers through a subway grate and I’d still be happy about it, as long as that subway grate were 10 minutes from my home. But the decision to operate out of Connors Park? It makes this whole thing extra awesome.

I didn’t know that the tiny patch of land at the above intersection was considered a park; I thought it was just a very large curb. Indeed, the triangle-shaped island that is Connors Park comprises just .34 acres, bounded on all sides by a line of narrow shrubs. There’s an oak tree, three or-so benches, and birdbath-sized fountain, which is all that can fit around the biggest feature of Connors Park, a low, rectangular-shaped glass building plopped right in the center. I’ve always loved that building. It looks like a greenhouse. It was an Argo Tea for the longest time and I fondly recall several afternoons there, writing in my journal as the autumn leaves sifted down past the windows all around me. But the Argo Tea closed years ago — even before the pandemic — and the greenhouse sat empty.

Until now.

Eric was saying something to me when I saw the banner hanging on the building. The banner showed pictures of Jeni’s Ice Cream and the words “Coming Soon!”

I stopped dead in my tracks. I clutched my husband and raised a trembling finger to point at the sign.

“Eric. Look!”

My husband makes noise about not liking sweets — “I’m a savory person”  — but he is weak in the presence of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Most people are His favorites are Brambleberry Crisp and Buttercream Birthday Cake. My favorites are, in no particular order: Pistachio Honey, Atlantic Beach Pie, Mexican Chocolate, Green Mint Chip, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Salty Caramel, Cream Puff, and Savannah Buttermint.

I’m serious, those are my favorites. All of them are my favorite-favorites. I will say that Cream Puff is my main favorite right now but that’s only because Pistachio Honey, the first Jeni’s flavor I ever had, is no longer available for some demonic, cruel reason. You always remember your first, you know?

Anyway, soon there will be a Jeni’s near our apartment. It’s the best news I’ve heard all month and I just wanted to share the news — but keep your hands off my ice cream.*

*I hate this cheesy ending but I have to get back to work … eating my ice cream. I hate that ending even more. I hate it more than I hate it when my Jeni’s ice cream is gone. Help. I’m stuck in a bad ending loop. Maybe Jeni’s will open a location in the Loop. 

6 Responses

  1. Kathleen T Kurke
    | Reply

    I loved that Argo tea! It was one of my favorite have a cuppa while outside tea places. Knowing Jenni’s ice cream is going in there makes me feel better about things.

  2. michele
    | Reply

    No no no – the best is Rainbow Ice Cream!!

  3. myra kohn
    | Reply

    LUCKY! I met Jeni Britton-Bauer at Dahlia Workshop here in Seattle back in 2011. She was in town on tour with her just released book ‘Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home’. It was so much fun. Her ice creams are delectable, so many lovely and creative combinations, and she is a good egg, which happens to be just the thing when your business is ice cream. Enjoy!

  4. Louise Brasted
    | Reply

    Wow so jelly we don’t have Jeni’s ice cream in Australia or my home New Zealand but I know the loss of a great ice cream back in the day (late 60s early 70s) in Wellington New Zealand we used to venture into a diner on Lambton Quay ( used to be the very posh shopping street) and they had this ice cream to die for their Vanilla was so creamy, the chocolate was the chocolateyist, I know but how else do you explain the yummy dripping chocolate taste and hokey pokey was true hokey pokey made with golden syrup not todays fake honeycomb rubbish but alas like all good things they disappeared and became a pub, I mean how rude to all the ice cream lovers of Wellington, beer for ice cream. So I feel your excitement vicariously and keep hoping I too will meet my ice cream soulmate soon

  5. elizabeth a hinze
    | Reply

    I want to try some, none in my part of the world : (

  6. Karen Johnson
    | Reply

    I’m SO jealous! I’ve only had the pleasure of Jeni’s once, in Ohio. Okay 3x, because I went back to the shop over and over! My favorite is Brown Butter Almond Brittle. But if I had access, I’m sure I could easily expand that. Have a scoop for me! Karen

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