Capannari: Ice Cream We Can All Scream About

Mt. Prospect isn’t only home to one of American Idol’s top five, but one of Chicago’s local summer treasures, family owned Capannari Ice Cream.

Jim Capannari, chef and partner, has made a name for himself within the national and international culinary scene, by not only perfecting well-known flavors of ice cream, but also by experimenting with new ones such as olive oil, avocado and bacon.

Capannari Ice Cream is owned by two local couples and with tons of local teenage staff and summertime events, the ice cream shop really has become a staple of the community.

The building is 130 years old and has been everything from a pharmacy to a record shop. Co-owner Katie Dolan Dix tells of the location’s interesting history as part of tours she gives during the summers.

She says, “Ironically it opened as an ice cream store on June 20, 1931, and when we opened it a second time around, we opened our doors on June 30, 2001, ten days shy of being exactly 70 days from the original opening. We were quite surprised by the full circle of the history.”

Perennial flavors include Black Raspberry Chip, Java Chip, Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch and “Lick the Bowl” Cake Batter.

When asked about new flavors Capannari says, “I think about something for a long time, so when I finally make it, it’s going to be pretty good and you’re not going to be messing around with 50 different ways of trying to do it.”

Dolan-Dix says, “Jim’s notorious for thinking outside of the box with flavors. He’s got more of a culinary chef sort of mind. He will think what are the hottest flavors or spices out there and then he will integrate them into ice cream.”

Besides the product being well crafted and unique, Dolan Dix says, “I think for the North Shore, a lot of people come for a Sunday drive. People come and make it a destination; it’s kind of like a throwback to the past.”

Capannari Ice Cream hosts over 30 events during the year, with local and regional sponsors to help throw some great summer bashes. A list of events can be found on their website and you can subscribe to a newsletter to get a heads up on what’s going on at the shop.

We’ve got the goods on the best places for ice cream on the North Shore—try these hot spots, too!