Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Cora Shaw got the idea for iCream while pursuing her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At the beginning stage of a group project in her New Venture Strategy class, she proffered a unique - and improbable - concept. The idea? Combining liquid nitrogen with various base liquids to make on-the-spot ice cream, yogurt, or sorbet.

The path wasn't easy; in fact in the beginning, iCream could only open for three days before closing for the next eight months to repair and re-engineer the intricate electrical and cryogenic equipment. But, ultimately, Cora Shaw and her business partner Jason McKinney have made it work. For more of the story's details, go here.

iCream is the next step as far as frozen treats are concerned. It's entertaining, fresh, and can be tailored to satisfy any of your sweet tooth cravings. There's non-fat and low-fat frozen yogurt, low-fat and soy and regular ice cream, hot pudding for the cold months, and even made-to-order Italian sodas. Oh, one last thing: any item can be made sugar-free.

For your personalized creation, there are four steps. You pick your treat, choose a flavor (29 options), select up to three add-ins and toppings (29 options), and then color your creation (eight options). I ordered a "cinnamon something or other" regular ice cream as per Cora's suggestion. The texture was excellent - it wasn't icy at all and the oreo + graham cracker crust were well blended into the cinnamon and coffee ice cream. I could've chosen a color for this creation, but I left it chaste.

As much as I enjoyed my visit to iCream (and chatting with Cora), it isn't quite perfect. The aforementioned creation that I got was kind of expensive for a small. It cost me $5.27, but in Cora's defense, it's an 8oz small while other ice cream places only give you 6oz. I guess you're paying for the novelty, the quality of the ingredients (many of which are organic), and the fact that it's a small business. But still - pret-ty pret-ty pricey.

That said, I still think that the interior design could be improved. To start, it's cold and plain and kind of dirty. I noticed some stains on the walls and leftover dirty napkins near the entrance. The florescent lighting doesn't help either, though it may have been chosen to reflect the scientific (or futuristic) side of iCream because it does evoke a sterilized lab (or a minimalistic ice cream store in 2050)...

I will be going back and I suggest you check it out before iCreams are as common as Cold Stone Creameries. That way, you'll secure yourself some bragging rights.

iCream - Wicker Park- (773)276-2100 - 1537 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 - Public transportation: bus 50 or 56 or the Damen stop of the Blue Line.

small ice cream w/ two flavors and two add-ins - $5.27

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