Standing Room Only: Annette's Homemade Italian Ice
Annette's Homemade Italian Ice
2009 N Bissell St, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-868-9000
The Short Order: Italian ice stand in the middle of Lincoln Park.
Want Fries with That? Only desserts are available.
Seats? There is a small patio, but you'll have to fight for a spot.
At first glance, Annette's Homemade Italian Ice looks strikingly familiar to another recent Standing Room Only pick, Scooter's, which has an almost identical walk-up window on a similarly stunning, tree-lined street. But if it's possible, Annette's is located on an even more charming block, as the trees and the houses near this stretch of Lincoln Park seem oddly bigger and cuter.
But whereas Scooter's is a neighborhood joint that also happens to serve destination-worthy offerings, Annette's is simply a solid spot for locals in need of a quick dessert fix. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Sure, Annette's Italian ice can't quite compete with Mario's or Miko's, but it's refreshing thanks to the fact that there isn't too much sugar. I tried the lemon and blood orange, both of which were good, if not quite as distinctive as the two shops mentioned above. Still, on a hot day like the one I visited, both of these flavors were totally satisfying.
The ice cream is much the same. It's creamy, and the mint chocolate chip certainly looks the part. The only criticism is that the mint flavor was a little muted.
The hot fudge and brownie sundae is appropriately decadent and ridiculous, and not much else. I should have passed on the whip cream, which got in the way of everything else, but there is still a lot to enjoy.
All this said, perhaps my tongue has been ruined by the hyperactive profiles of the frozen treats from places like Snookelfritz and Black Dog Gelato. Or—and this is most likely the case—these new places are simply better. Either way, I can still take the time to appreciate an idyllic little neighborhood ice cream stand when I find one, and Annette's certainly counts.