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July 28, 2022

An untraditional museum has created hot dog-flavored ice cream, but only for its visitors in Chicago.

“Museum of Ice Cream is an experiential place,” said Maryellis Bunn, co-founder of the attraction, which opened July 16 at Tribune Tower. “Our mission is to make everyone feel like they’re a child again.”

A new flagship in the city, with six locations worldwide, features the brand’s sole speak-easy-style cafe.

“We’ve built out an entire speak-easy cafe that’s open day and night for all of our visitors to enjoy, that has an ice cream-focused menu with something for both adults and children,” Bunn said. “Five exclusive treats come with your ticket purchase.”

Cocktails cost extra, but the hot dog ice cream is included.

“It’s hot dog-flavored soft serve in a pink bun,” Bunn said. “We worked with Sarah Masoni, who’s a food scientist based out of Oregon, to build our ode to the Chicago dog.”

| just opened: a museum speakeasy with hot dog-flavored ice cream among 9 new restaurants and bars in chicago | 2

A Chicago Hotdog Treat ice cream is shown at the Museum of Ice Cream on July 14, 2022, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Milano Bakery, founded in 1915 in Joliet, makes the pink buns. The museum will offer varying hot dog toppings for the vegetarian ice cream, but never ketchup.

“We took our Chicago dog creation very, very seriously,” Bunn said. “When we started working on this project four years ago, one of the first things we did was a deep dive, and one day we had like every Chicago dog put in front of us.”

There are no savory items currently on the menu.

“We’re a place of sweet treats,” Bunn said.

Visitors enter through a replica “L” train — on the imaginary pink Sprink-L line.

“It’s going to take you from the outside, in the Chicago Tribune Tower, then transport you into our ice cream world,” Bunn said.

From the “L,” you’ll walk into the speak-easy, where you can grab a milkshake or Pinktini. Adults can order cocktails and kids might like drinks designed with play in mind.

| just opened: a museum speakeasy with hot dog-flavored ice cream among 9 new restaurants and bars in chicago | 4

Sang Aparadh, head of operations, left, and April Cordsen, director of food and beverage, at the speak-easy cafe in the Museum of Ice Cream on July 14, 2022, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

An optional ice cream-making class in the ice cream lab teaches the history and science behind ice cream, with hands-on instruction to create your own ice cream flavor.

Twelve exhibitions culminate in a sprinkle pool and gift shop.

Visitors typically stay 45 to 90 minutes.

“But once you’re in the doors, you’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like,” Bunn said.

It’s the only place to experience the Chicago hot dog ice cream.

“Maybe if you love it so much, one day we’ll make it a cart and put it somewhere else,” Bunn said, laughing. “But right now it’s included with the ticket.”

435 N. Michigan Ave.,

A self-described “speak eatery” quietly opened in the Goose Island neighborhood, near the old Morton Salt warehouse. Owner Kimberly Moore, founder and president of KDM Engineering, brought in chef Brooks Hart, last at Little Goat Diner, to open 1308 Elston on June 7. The Black woman-owned, Prohibition-themed, vegetarian-friendly restaurant offers corn ribs, carrots and grits, plus a 13 “Old” 8 Fashioned cocktail finished with maple smoke.

1308 N. Elston Ave., 872-829-3335,

Jeff & Judes deli closed in Humboldt Park, but became a diner in record time. Chef Hanna Coleman, previously with J & J, and beverage director Sam Yar, revealed Do-Over Diner on June 17. You’ll find the classic two-egg breakfast platter, a seasonal farm veggie omelet, and a patty melt, all available late into the night on weekends.

1024 N. Western Ave., 773-661-1227,

Piccolo Sogno co-owner Ciro Longobardo has opened not one, but two new Italian bakeries in Chicago. Dolci Amori in Wicker Park began baking June 7, and a second location in Lakeview East followed July 16. The pasticcerie specialize in pastries, with a unique baba rum in a cup, plus pizzas and panini to come.

2010 W. Pierce Ave. (Wicker Park); 3025 N. Clark St. (Lakeview East); 312-285-2732;

A husband-and-wife team has turned their sweet pop-up into a beautiful shop in Little Village. Aldo Rios and Ana Maciel debuted El Churro Shop on June 29. You’ll find their signature Mexican churros, the traditional fried dough available by the dozen, or creative flavors such as cajeta with Galletas Marias cookies, plus milkshakes and a few sandwiches, including avocado toast.

3536 W. 26th St., 773-801-1818,

A former Lettuce Entertain You chef, and persistent pandemic entrepreneur, has opened her own bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Rogers Park. Mona Sang celebrated the grand opening of Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining on June 19. She offers traditional Khmer dishes, in a weekly changing menu, recently with kuy teav tuk (beef and shrimp noodle soup), nom ansom chek (banana sticky rice) plus fan-favorite egg rolls filled with chicken and cellophane noodles.

2043 W. Howard St., 312-626-7710,

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Footman Hospitality, the group behind Emporium Arcade Bar and other high-concept establishments, has transformed a long-dark corner in Logan Square. Quality Time, what they describe as a neighborhood bar, started pouring June 24. Look for the vintage exterior awnings, and you’ll find house cocktails including a Slumericano mixing sweet vermouth and Old Style beer, and a patio on which to sip a Spagghett, the summer drink involving an aperitif poured in the neck of a Miller High Life beer bottle.

2934 W. Diversey Ave.,

Art Smith, perhaps best known as Oprah Winfrey’s previous personal chef, just opened his long-awaited Southern restaurant at Navy Pier. Reunion started serving July 19. The menu stars chef Art’s famous fried chicken and the traditional banana-pineapple hummingbird cake, both fan favorites at his dearly departed Table 52.

600 E. Grand Ave., 312-224-1415,

Know of a Chicago-area restaurant or bar that’s new and notable? Email food critic Louisa Chu at

More in recent restaurant and bar news:

  • Just opened: Nine Bar, hidden behind a takeout counter in Chinatown, among 9 restaurant openings and closings
  • Parachute relaunches, Publican Quality Bread rises, plus more new Chicago restaurants
  • Bronzeville Winery draws crowds with watermelon steak, Wagyu burger, plus 8 more new and notable restaurants around Chicago

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