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The Ice Cream Diaries: Hinckley's Dairy Joy Drive-In

I have an assignment for you, and it’s a tasty one. Next time you have a couple of hours free, and are looking to enjoy not only a good ice cream cone but a taste of vintage Americana, get on Route 30 and head west. When you reach the Dairy Joy Drive-In, order yourself some soft serve ice cream, maybe a sandwich and fries, too. And then ask to speak to the owners, and tell them you are glad places like theirs still exist in the world.

Photos by Tara Burghart.My family and I drove out to the small farming town of Hinckley last weekend for the latest installment of the Ice Cream Diaries. As soon as I had heard the name Dairy Joy – in an Aurora-area visitor’s guide, I believe – I knew it had to be on the list.
Hinckley is about 15 miles west of Aurora, so it took us a bit of time to get there from Geneva, but it did not disappoint. Dairy Joy has been around since 1957, but the current owners Wyn and Jan Wahlgren have owned it for 19 years.
The building does indeed look like it was pulled straight out of a 1950s Coca-Cola magazine advertisement. You can order at the walk-up window, or you can head inside and order at a window there.

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The Ice Cream Diaries: A Trip to Ollie's Frozen Custard

I knew that I had arrived at just the kind of quirky ice cream shack that I love when I walked up to the window where you place your order at Ollie’s Frozen Custard in Sycamore. There, behind yellow tape usually reserved for a construction scene, the face of Ollie’s mustachioed founder was being re-created in brickwork on a new patio in front of the store. Priceless!
Ollie's is located in Sycamore, but just a few blocks from DeKalb. Photos by Tara Burghart.Why did I drive 30 minutes west to check out a frozen custard shop?
The giveaway for an Oberweis gift card, in which readers named their favorite ice cream flavor, inspired such a great response that I decided to start a new, occasional feature this summer: The Ice Cream Diaries.
To create this hard-hitting piece of journalism, I’ll drive around the suburbs and northern Illinois checking out ice cream places, taking my toddler and husband along as taste testers. It’s a tough assignment, but one I’ll take on for my dear readers.

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