Living that Lakeview Life- Scooter’s Frozen Custard and FRÍO Gelato

If you asked Jon to choose my favorite treat for a summer night, I promise you it would be chocolate and frozen. I can not get enough! Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Gelato, Custard, Sorbet, I love it all!

July is ‘National Ice Cream Month‘! For this month’s Living that Lakeview Life feature, Angela Garbot and I chose two of our favorite spots for a frozen treat! One has been a neighborhood staple for well over a decade, the other is brand new to Lakeview! Both have a unique menu, with distinct flavors. Neither serve actual Ice Cream!


First up, Scooter’s Frozen Custard, on Belmont and Paulina. We sat down with Mardi and Denny for some Custard treats and great conversation. These two had us cracking up in between bites of some of their most popular creations. Mardi started us on a Boston Shake, which was rightfully voted one of the Best Shakes in Chicago by Time Out Magazine last year! This can be made in any flavor and is served with a small Chocolate Syrup Sundae on top!


We tried the Blackhawk Concrete, a twist on their Signature Strawberry Concrete, full of Oreo cookies! Of course, you can’t go wrong with the simplicity of a Vanilla Custard Cone, one of Denny’s favorites. Denny lost his sight back in 2005. He and Mardi shared this experience with us. It is truly inspiring how much they’ve given back to the community in so many ways. Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind is an Non-Profit they’re actively involved with, making a difference in the lives of others who are visually impaired.


How long have you and your business been in the Lakeview area, and what made you decide to open it?

Scooter’s first opened on June 19th, 2003. Mardi and I were leaving the tech world and decided to become our own bosses. After months of exploring opportunities and months of planning, we opened in our present location. When we first opened, we lived within walking distance. About four years ago we moved our residence to Edgewater. 

What’s your favorite “secret” thing that makes your business unique? What do only locals know about your business?

Our secret thing might just be the ‘mini’s” we make for ourselves. Mini-shakes, mini sundaes, mini-concretes. We have one of these most days to sample the quality of the product we are offering to our customers and to satisfy our own cravings for frozen custard.  We think that one of the things that makes us unique from many businesses is how well we know our customers and our passion for making the best possible product every single day. What the locals know about Scooter’s is that our lines move quickly and if the line inside is long and you know what you want, the window line will often be shorter. 

Who’s your favorite Cubs player?

Hm, favorite Cubs player? Last year we loved them all! This year, we’ll have to get back to you! Our favorite Chicago Athlete, though, would have to be Duncan Keith, playing for the Blackhawks.

What’s your favorite local spot to eat, drink or shop in Lakeview and what do you love about it?

We love all of our complimentary neighbors. We are a dessert stop for many dining in the neighborhood. Pizzeria Serio is the closest and we do “treat” each other from time to time. We really do love their pizza. We have enjoyed getting to know them and watching them develop from a brand new Pizzeria to an established and very successful operation.  

Give us a personal favorite item you carry and would like to talk about: whatever you love!

We carry a special frozen treat for our neighborhood four legged friends, a Pup Cone! We love our dog, Sheffield, and his sisters, Clark and Addison, our sister cats. Denny lost most of his vision in 2005. We acquired Sheffield to become a service dog for Denny. Instead, we have become Sheffield’s service people.  Sheffield came to us from deep in the north woods of northern Wisconsin. He’s never quite adapted to the sounds, smells and sights of the city. We love them all to bits! 


Because of our love for all things sweet and frozen, Angie and I couldn’t pick just one spot to feature this month! Our second pick is brand new to the Lakeview neighborhood, FRÍO Gelato, on Southport and Waveland. FRÍO opened earlier this year, two years after their Evanston location opened.



Angie and I sampled some flavors of Argentina with a Flight of Gelato, four classic flavors we each loved! The two that really jumped out? Yerba Matte and Malbec with Berries, such distinctive flavors!


I also loved the Key Lime and Bourbon Sorbet, a great dairy free option! The kick of the FEW Spirits Bourbon, Evanston’s first distiller post-prohibition, perfectly balances the tart Key Lime! I took some favorites home, Jon loved them too!




How long have you and your business been in the Lakeview area, and what made you decide to open it?

Our store on Southport opened on April 14th of this year. We opened it because we had been open in Evanston 2 years and felt it was time to bring our product to the city. When we saw that this space was available, we thought it would be a great opportunity because of its proximity to other Argentine culinary destinations– Tango Sur, Bodega Sur, El Mercado, and 5411 Empanadas. Now, this block of Southport has all the staples of the Argentine cuisine– beef asado, empanadas and gelato! It’s almost like an “Argentine alley!”

What’s your favorite “secret” thing that makes your business unique? What do only locals know about your business?

There are two things that make our business particularly unique that some customers do not know.

First, FRÍO Gelato is family owned and run! My two older cousins are the owners, one of their wives heads Marketing, my other cousin runs the production of the gelato, and I manage the operation of the stores. Although none of us had experience in the retail food industry, we come from a long line of entrepreneurs and decided to try something new a few years back. We all also serve gelato in the stores and interface with our customers to make sure we understand the business from all angles. Many customers comment on their “experience” at our stores, which is something we work hard at. It’s important to us that the customers have an Argentine Experience when they walk into the store– from the flavors we serve, to the way we serve it, and our specialty products. Our team members who serve gelato all love to share their knowledge about how gelato became popular in Argentina and what makes FRÍO Gelato “Argentine” with customers.

Second, FRÍO Gelato is locally produced in Evanston and new batches are delivered every day to the store. You can really taste the freshness in each flavor. Different from other gelato producers, we pasteurize our own base at our kitchen– and we do not use any powders, artificial flavorings, or preservatives in our flavoring of each gelato. 

Who’s your favorite Cubs player?

Jake Arrieta whom I was happy to serve gelato to the other day!

What’s your favorite local spot to eat, drink or shop in Lakeview and what do you love about it?

The Southport Corridor is my favorite part of Lakeview because of everything is has to offer and its lively community of small businesses.

Give us a personal favorite item you carry and would like to talk about: whatever you love!

The Cucurucho Dipped in Chocolate (Bañado). All of our cones have been made with love by our small team. These cones are not only special because they are handmade in the store but because they are “double-walled,” which is how they come in Argentina. Also traditional in Argentina, ours are served in such a way that the gelato makes a peak at the top. Customers have the option of dipping this into chocolate to create a hard shell on top of the gelato– in Argentina we call this a “cucurucho bañado en chocolate” (or “A cone bathed in chocolate”). Ordering a cucurucho with chocolate dip is the most Argentine you can go. 

Angie and I couldn’t leave without trying this Cucurucho, and it does not disappoint! It was so perfectly balanced, not too sweet or too heavy, but absolute chocolate heaven! We finished with a Gelato Sundae, perfect for sharing, and a kid-friendly favorite!


However you celebrate this month, be sure to stop in to these two Lakeview gems! Both are very different, but when it comes to frozen treats these two top the charts!



Disclaimer- I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for presenting these businesses on my blog. The decision to write about them was my own and all views and opinions are my own. 
Photography provided by Angela Garbot Photography 
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