With high temperatures in store for another few months, it's time to get serious about which frozen dessert you're going to pledge allegiance to this summer. Are you an old-school ice cream fan? Or do you prefer a smoother, creamier gelato? What about a tricked-out frozen custard blended with a handful of toppings? If you're still on the fence, a ride from west to east along Belmont Avenue (hop on and off the #77 bus) provides all the taste-testing you need to come to an informed decision.
FIRST: Black Dog Gelato (1955 W. Belmont Ave. 773-348-7935)
Expert gelato maker Jessie Oloroso's Ukrainian Village outpost of Black Dog was so popular, she practically had to open a second location in Roscoe Village just to keep up with demand. She's still serving favorite flavors such as whiskey and goat cheese-cashew-caramel, along with other creative combinations that change daily ($3.50 for a small; $4.75 for a large). A slow churn makes each spoonful of her gelato a creamy, tongue-coating cool-down.
NEXT: Scooter's Frozen Custard (1658 W. Belmont Ave. 773-244-6415)
This mom-and-pop corner shop has become a Lakeview staple, thanks mainly to its "concretes," a blend of frozen custard, toppings and syrups that really appeal to the inner child ($3.99 for a small; $5.19 for a regular). If July's concrete of the month, cherry pie, has your stomach growling already, here's a pro tip: Order from the take-out window to avoid the masses of sugar-fueled kiddos inside.
LAST: Bobtail Ice Cream (2951 N. Broadway 773-880-7372)
Though it's only been open since 2004, Bobtail feels like it's been a part of East Lakeview for decades, what with its old-fashioned soda fountain feel and loyal neighborhood customers. Build your own sundae or choose from one of the shop's creations such as Big Oreo or S'more ($6.25 for a double-scoop sundae). If it's just the ice cream you care about, order an unadulterated scoop or two of one of Bobtail's signatures, such as Sunset (merlot ice cream with dark-chocolate chips), or Lakeview Barhopper (Dutch cocoa ice cream blended with whiskey). Both are $4.29 for a double scoop or $4.99 for a triple scoop.
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