Chicago’s Essential Italian Ice Spots

Chicago’s Essential Italian Ice Spots

  • by Naomi Waxman and Eater Staff
  • 05/29/24

Italian ice is unquestionably an essential summertime Chicago dessert. The basic recipe for the iconic frozen treat is fairly agreed upon: A proper ice should contain sugar, frozen water, and whole fruits or juice. Italian ice comes in a rainbow of flavors but the most classic and widespread variety is lemon, sometimes also called frozen Italian lemonade. Though some makers blend pulp, seeds, or even fruit peels in their mixtures, others strain out the fruit and go for a creamier recipe.

Here are some of the city’s coolest spots for Italian ice. Many are open seasonally, so check in before heading over during the colder months.

Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Amy's Candy Bar

This Lincoln Square candy boutique offers gummies, licorice, and chocolate in addition to Italian ice, available by the scoop in tangy raspberry lemon.

Little Lulu's Italian Ice

What began as an Italian ice cart blossomed into a fully-fledged shop in Portage Park. The spot has closed and reopened a handful of times, and returned for good in May with a new partner —  Alisha Gonzalez of Alisha’s Sweet Treats and Things — and menu additions such as cheesecake and tres leches cake. Stop by for a cold cup of coconut, passionfruit, or lemon ice — all made with just water, fresh fruit, and cane sugar.

Scooter's Frozen Custard

Scooter’s Frozen Custard co-owner Denny Moore encourages his patrons to try a “parfait,” which is a layered mix of Italian ice and frozen custard. Moore blends his desserts how he likes them: Cold, creamy, and without big chunks of fruit. Patrons can expect one fresh flavor every day.


Luke’s on Harlem

Luke’s On Harlem sells lemon Italian ice all year but it expands the menu to include watermelon and cantaloupe during the warmer months. Store owner Steve DiSilvestro says he blends his store’s ices with in-season fruit for maximum freshness.

Cameron's Ice Cream & Grill

This retro-style grill comforts guests with greasy goodness and large scoops of Italian ice that are available in flavors like orange and cream, blue raspberry, and cream soda.

Bella's Helado De Coco & Italian Ice

Bella’s owner Adrian Pacheco features both Italian ice and helado de coco — a Puerto Rican dessert that’s a cross between coconut Italian ice and coconut ice cream — made from a family recipe that dates back to 1975. Flavor options include watermelon, lemon, passionfruit and chilli pepper-topped mangonada.


Miko's Italian Ice (Logan Square)

Neighborhood landmark Miko’s rotates 25 flavors throughout the season, including rhubarb, kiwi, guava, and cucumber. The original stand in Bucktown shuttered in 2019 after 21 years, but Logan Square and Irving Park locations are still slinging icy delights.

Neighbors and friends like to gather at Miko’s.Two people hold white styrofoam cups of Italian ice.

Annette's Italian Ice

The Lincoln Park dessert shop is the only place in town that serves lychee-flavored Italian ice, according to owner Annette Frankos. Each of the eatery’s 20+ flavors can also be mixed with frozen yogurt to make an “Italian fro-yo.”

Ava's Italian Ice

Why settle for just one flavor when there’s a variety of tasty options to try? At this Italian ice stand in Bucktown, folks can sample a flight of four scoops. Offerings are made with whole fruits and run the gamut from signature lemon and blackberry to blood orange and pineapple. Don’t forget to snap a photo next to the colorful fruit mural, either.

An Italian ice stand with two walk-up windows and a neon sign that reads “Ava’s Italian Ice. Home of the Flight.”
Ava’s sets itself apart with charming Italian ice flights.
 Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Johnnie's Beef

Though this decades-old Elmwood Park mainstay is known for perhaps Chicagoland’s best beef sandwiches, it also serves lemon-flavored ice year round. Additionally, Johnnie’s sells lemon and watermelon Italian ice at its Arlington Heights location.


There’s something for nearly everyone at VinnyD’s, which features tons of cold treats like Italian ice, gelato, shaved ice, milkshakes, and more. The large walkup window and patio make it an especially good spot for big families and groups

Carm’s Beef & Italian Ice

Every day, third-generation-owner Steve DeVivo whips up Italian ice with fresh fruit the same way the staff did when the shop first opened in 1929: A little pinch of this, a big handful of that. “I don’t measure stuff no more,” DeVivo says. “It’s like tying my shoes.” One unusual item on Carm’s menu is a chocolate Italian ice that he says tastes “like a Fudgesicle.”

A cooler filled with tubs of Italian ice.
Carm’s has served Italian ice for nearly a century.
 Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Mario's Italian Lemonade

Considered by most to be Chicago’s best-known Italian ice stand, Mario’s serves summertime treats that locals are willing to wait in line for. For those who like pulp, this is the ideal spot as it’s not uncommon to find chunks of fruit in the ice here.

A group of customers outside Mario’s Italian Lemonade.
Chicagoans swear that Mario’s is worth the wait.
 Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Carlo’s Italian Ice

Colorful streetside pushcart Carlo’s pops up seasonally in Pilsen with fun flavor combos like mango lemon, coconut cherry, and mango with chamoy and tajin.


Ferro's Italian Sandwiches

Italian beef sandwiches are the focal point of this family-owned South Side spot. But the store’s employees also sling popular Italian ice flavors: pineapple, lemon, mango, and more.

A hand holds up a cup of lemon Italian ice.
Ferro’s specializes in more than Italian beef.
 Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

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