There’s few indicators for the first sign of spring; warmer weather, longer days and the OPEN sign in the Original Rainbow Cone’s window. Located at 9233 S. Western in the Beverly neighborhood, Rainbow Cone is celebrating their 90th year serving the famous ice cream treat.
On a hot summer day, you’re bound to wait a few minutes in line before you snag a cone to cool down. But the photos lined around the shop tell the story of how cone creator and owner, Joe Sapp and his wife Katherine founded a Chicago staple in 1926. I was lucky enough to hear the tale by third-generation owner and granddaughter, Lynn Sapp.
Lynn explained her grandfather wanted to create a fresh fruit and nut cone. Back then, ice cream was considered a meal and Joe thought it should be eaten daily. In order to make a substantial cone for customers, he knew he needed to add some nutrition into the mix. Oh yeah, and he loved rainbows. So, with a slab of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (New York cherry with walnuts), pistachio and Orange sherbet, the strategically placed flavors blended together well and filled customer’s tummies for 12 cents a cone.
Ice cream parlors were the place to be during Joe’s time, and Rainbow Cone offered patrons more than just a delicious meal. During World War II, it became an information center for families to come together to learn updates on the war and gather together for support. Loyal customers from all over the Chicagoland area made the stop to 92nd and Western an important part of their lives even when it was just prairies and farmland.
Community involvement has always been part of the Rainbow Cone mission and throughout the years, Lynn has hired high schoolers from across the city to build a strong foundation of first-job skills during the summer months. These skills and memories from workers and customers alike stretch across the nation, as Lynn explained eaters are always excited to talk about their admiration for the cones, even at a Hawks game in Arizona!
Looking back at all the memories photographed and heard from past customers, the Rainbow Cone crew is interested in everyone’s memories of the summer treat, and hopes to hear from you all throughout the 90th anniversary.
My own Rainbow Cone memories involve Aimee and I finishing up a round of golf as caddies from Beverly CC and heading over for a bite. (We knew from a young age our love for food would turn into something 😉 ).
Rainbow Cone is open for service until the fall and whether you’re a first timer or veteran, there’s nothing better than Joe Sapp’s creation of the fresh-fruit and nut cone.