Oh So Splendid!

October 17, 2013

I had heard the buzz about Columbus-based Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams from a few friends who'd tried their amazing frozen creations. Little did I know, they'd be setting up shop right here in Chicago. Jeni Britton Bauer, winner of a coveted James Beard Award, opened up the first Jeni's shop in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio. The brand has expanded with shops in Ohio, Tennessee, and now, Illinois. Jeni's products are also available at specialty grocers in more than 700 locations nationally, and ice cream lovers can also purchase products online.  

The Chicago location, situated in the Southport Corridor, just next to the Southport brown line, opened in mid-September to endless lines of ice cream fanatics. After the buzz had quieted down a bit, I made my way over with the BF to see what all of the hype was about!

Entrance to the Southport Store
The scoop shop is adorably outfitted with cutesy furniture and whimsical decorations. The flavor board is front and center, and is divided into signature flavors, perennial flavors (seasonal), and limited edition flavors (usually the result of experimentation). There is also the option to add gravel to your ice cream, their version of homemade ice cream toppings. Having never tried Jeni's before, I had no shame in asking to sample more than a few flavors!

So many flavors, so many scrumptious options
Thank goodness for the most patient ice cream scooper in history. I told him I was new, and I told him I would be taste testing quite a few flavors for "research". Bless his heart. He let me try about 10 different flavors. A sampling of flavors I tried included Salty Caramel, Cloverton, Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate (aka the most amazingly intense chocolate ice cream experience), Brambleberry Crisp, The Buckeye State (chocolate and peanut butter!), Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries and Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam (made with Loveless biscuits from my favorite Nashville eatery!)

Try one, try all!
I'm pretty sure the BF was embarrassed by my indecisiveness, but I finally decided on a pair of flavors: The Buckeye State with peanut butter and dark chocolate, and Brambleberry Crisp with oat streusel and blackberries, raspberries, and currants. The BF (who loves all things chocolate and peanut butter) opted for The Buckeye State and Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate.

The winning combos Buckeye State & Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate (L) and Buckeye State & Brambleberry Crisp (R)
We were both satisfied with our flavor selections and I tried to enjoy each and every bite. You could immediately taste the high quality of ingredients that went into making each unique flavor. This was gourmet ice cream at its finest.

 Buckeye State & Bramble Berry Crisp
Now that I know Jeni's is worth the hype, I will definitely be returning to try two or 12 of their ever-changing flavors. I'm giving Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams 4.5 ghosts for their high quality and inventive ice cream flavors, and their uber-patient ice cream scoopers!

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
3404 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Jeni's Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

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