Ever since I first tasted Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream back in 2007, I've been that slightly preachy convert. I've told just about everyone who would listen about the amazing flavor combinations and creamy texture. In fact, I once packed my luggage with pints of the stuff to show off to the Serious Eats crew in New York, only to have it all confiscated by the authorities at the airport because I was keeping it cool with dry ice (how else was I supposed to keep it cold?!). While my life has gotten easier since Jeni's started shipping pints to a few speciality shops around the country, you can imagine my elation when I heard that Jeni's was set open a shop in Chicago. Owner Jeni Britton Bauer is also thrilled.
"We're really excited," said Jeni during a phone interview. "Chicago is a big city with a great food culture, which has supported us since the beginning." Currently, the company has numerous outlets in Columbus, Ohio (its home base), along with a couple in Cleveland and Nashville. But Jeni is especially looking forward to a shop in Chicago. "I grew up in Peoria, IL, so Chicago was always where I went as kid."
All of the ice cream will still be made in Ohio, which Jeni says is crucial: "Our kitchen is so specialized—we have some very expensive machines. Plus, all of the milk is sourced from one specific dairy in Ohio, which would make transportation difficult." Instead, the finished ice cream will be shipped regularly on freezer trucks.
This does mean that Chicago will finally be able to taste the full range of flavors, from classic Signature Flavors to the ever-changing monthly specials.
The shop will be located right by the Southport stop on the Brown Line, and Jeni hopes to have an outdoor patio set up by opening (which is set for August). "The shop will look a like the first location on High Street in Columbus," says Jeni, "and service will be very important to us."
If you can't possibly wait until August for the shop to open, or if you simply need a great pint of ice cream, click here to see where you can currently find Jeni's in Chicago.