Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream founder Jeni Britton Bauer and a pint of…
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream is opening its first Chicago shop this August in Lakeview's Southport Corridor.
Located at 3404 N. Southport Ave., the shop will have seating for about 25 and standing room inside, along with outdoor seating in front and on the side of the long, narrow space. They're hoping to have doors in front and back to avoid customer traffic jams, said founder Jeni Britton Bauer. The décor will be simple, possibly involving painted wood tile walls.
“Each spot that we do is different," Bauer said. "We do design and artwork in house.”
Chicago is the third biggest market for Jeni's pint-shipping business and Bauer said she constantly gets emails asking her to open a shop in the area. About a year ago, she decided it was time to expand beyond her 11 Ohio and two Tennessee locations and began looking for a space.
“The location kind of chose us," she said. "We like neighborhoods where you can walk and ride bikes, where there are interesting things going on, where you might come and do a few things -- one of which is getting ice cream.”
The shop will stock 26 to 30 flavors at any given time, including seasonal varieties such as double-toasted coconut and chammomile, that can be made into sundaes by mixing and matching toppings and sauces. They'll also sell all flavors packaged in pints to take home, as well as handmade ice cream sandwiches inspired by French macarons in flavors such as chocolate hazelnut, orchid cream and salted caramel with smoked almond.
Bauer often visited Chicago when she was growing up in Peoria, Ill. and plans to be in the Lakeview store regularly, flying in from the company's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. "I only open stores I want to spend time in," she said.
Bauer's ability to open new locations is limited by supply rather than demand; since the company focuses on using local ingredients and doing everything by hand, this is likely to be the only Chicago location opening for a while.
"Even if it does really well, it doesn’t mean we’ll open another shop,” Bauer said. “It’s a challenge we want to take on and see if we can do it.”
If you need to get your fix before August, you can find Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at more than 20 Chicago-area stores including Southport Grocery & Cafe, Olivia's Market and Publican Quality Meats. The stores will also soon be stocking Jeni's new line of sundae toppings and sauces.
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