Three months ago, I had never been to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams before. Now I have been to four different locations, sampled every single flavor I have seen in their case, and have eaten sundaes and floats in addition to plain old scoops of delicious ice cream. Jeni’s Ice Cream is a very big perk to living in the Midwest.
As an aspiring ice cream maker, Jeni’s is the prime example of a modern successful ice cream business with a stellar brand and loyal fan base. You can spot their clean design from a mile away with the hand-lettered “Jeni’s” logo and bold orange, white, and black features that jump out at you from dreary winter streets in only the best neighborhoods of the midwest (and now beyond!).
Without fail, you can walk into any location of Jeni’s and find a young and happy staff ready to hand you samples for any and every flavor with no hint of judgement behind their bright eyes. They understand the urge to try it all and make the decision even harder by forcing more samples on you (“Oh I shouldn’t! Well, if you insist…”), teasing you with vivid descriptions of every flavor. These kids know what they’re doing.
And once you try a single sample on the edge of a tiny plastic spoon, you’ll get the hype. Each kind of ice cream is masterfully crafted to give you the most oomph from their creative flavors in the form of soft and nearly chewy texture.
As the cute branded napkins state, their ice creams are made with carefully selected natural (and often local!) ingredients, giving you clean scoops of handmade ice cream. Jeni herself is constantly coming up with fun new flavors that rotate throughout the menu, but you can always count on finding delicious classics like Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream and Salty Caramel, a flavor they claim to be their original idea! Other fun favorites you might find are Berry Lavender and Honey Milk Chocolate as well as Josh’s favorite Churro.
You can choose to have scoops in a cup or a cone or in a creative sundae with their own handmade toppings like salted caramel and hot fudge topped with thick honey whipped cream and juicy amarena cherries. Not fun enough for you? Go for an ice cream float where you can choose 3 scoops of any ice cream and your choice of Boylan sodas. Might I recommend a cream soda float with vanilla and salted caramel ice creams? It’s quite the treat!
Right now until March 31st, Jeni’s is showing (and sampling) an “exhibit” of classic American ice creams. Flavors include black & white cookies, candied ginger, cherries jubilee, green mint chip, and pralines & cream. They have artwork for you to study, an audio tour from Jeni herself, her incredible takes on these American flavors, and cute merch to remember the experience by. You can even snag their free postcards and write to a friend and they’ll mail it off for you! I’ve taken home a few postcards and two cute enamel pins that I can’t wait to show off.
Jeni really knows how to create a fantastic experience with amazing flavors, fun experiences, happy staff, and cute shops in great neighborhoods. Each visit will leave you happy, full, and itching to go back as soon as possible.