Five Fantastic Ice Cream Sundaes in Chicago

These local restaurants are whipping up homemade gourmet desserts that put your standard soft serve to shame.

You could wait in line at the neighborhood custard stand for a sundae when a sugar craving strikes. But this season, ice-cream sundaes have migrated from windows and parlors to restaurant menus. The scoops (or swirls) are housemade, the toppings are totally gourmet, and sometimes there’s even a (liqueur-cured) cherry on top. Consider one of these next time anyone asks if you want to split dessert.

Bottlefork’s Brandy Alexander
Booziest

Brandy Alexander

Bottlefork ($8)
Photos: Anna Knott

Raise a parfait glass at this newbie, which has three sundae options on its dessert menu. The Brandy Alexander’s custardy vanilla soft serve comes swirled with brandy from the local Rhine Hall Distillery. Apple chunks and white chocolate keep things sweet, not sotted. 441 N. Clark St., 312-955-1900

 

Little Goat Diner’s Cheez-It
Cheesiest

Cheez-It

Little Goat Diner ($8)

If you left a teenage stoner home alone for a long weekend, this might be a meal he’d concoct: two scoops of strawberry Nesquik ice cream and one scoop of ice cream mixed with peanut butter and Cheez-Its, a drizzle of strawberry sauce and peanut butter caramel, a sprinkle of chocolate-covered Cheez-Its, and a straight-from-the-jar maraschino cherry for good measure. 820 W. Randolph St., 312-888-3455

 

Yusho’s Seasonal Soft Serve
Coolest

Seasonal Soft Serve

Yusho ($6.25)

The small plates here are never boring, and the same goes for the rotating Japanese-inspired desserts. Right now, you can dig into a tower of black sesame soft serve dappled with mochi, black sesame seeds, and a coconut caramel sauce. 2853 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-904-8558

 

Pump Room’s Salted Caramel
Fanciest

Salted Caramel

Pump Room, Public Chicago ($9)

This practically begs to be ordered as a room-service indulgence, but you can get it at the hotel’s bar: three dainty scoops of salted caramel ice cream swim in a pond of hot chocolate sauce. The whole affair is flecked with caramel corn and candied peanuts for a little crunch and crowned with a quenelle of whipped cream to add to the sophistication. 1301 N. State Pkwy., 312-229-6740

 

The Bristol’s Malt
Richest

Malt

The Bristol ($9)

For the indecisive, this one’s like getting a whole bunch of desserts at the same time, all in one dainty cup: impeccably smooth milk chocolate malt ice cream, fluffy cubes of hazelnut cake, mascarpone cream, and a chicory anglaise sauce, plus pops of sugary sweetness from preserved cherries. 2152 N. Damen Ave., 773-862-5555

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