As someone who came up with a feature called “The Ice Cream Diaries,” you’re probably not surprised that I get excited when I find an ice cream shop that’s open year round. The focus of the latest entry has something even better going for it: It’s located less than a mile from one of the best parks for toddlers and preschoolers in Chicagoland.
Name: The Huntley Dairy Mart
Address: 10706 North Illinois Route 47 in Huntley. Phone: 847-669-5737.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Good for: Anyone who appreciates Americana, the 1950s, ice cream or a good deal.
The Experience: My family spent a recent sunny Sunday at the spot that kicked off the “Great Parks!” series: Discovery Zone at Huntley’s Deicke Park. The pretend play area in the Discovery Zone has a barber shop, a police station and a red plastic shack called the Huntley Dairy Mart. A quick consult of my smartphone revealed the play shack's inspiration was just up the street, so we after we were done at the park, we set out to check out the real thing.
The Huntley Dairy Mart has been around since 1955, and it doesn’t look like much about it has changed since then. You walk up to an outdoor window to place your order and there are hexagon-shaped picnic tables under an outdoor awning where you can sit down and eat.
I was impressed by the all choices for dipped cones, which included cotton candy sprinkles. (Yes, I get impressed by these things.) There were also lots of varieties of sundaes, floats, sodas, shakes, malts, etc.