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Polar Vortex Can't Keep Ice Cream Lovers From Indulging in Frozen Treats

By Patty Wetli | February 28, 2014 8:15am | Updated on February 28, 2014 9:28am
 At least some of us still scream for ice cream, even when its bitterly cold outside.
We All Scream for Ice Cream
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Apparently there are some Chicagoans who aren't content unless they're freezing cold inside as well as out.

On Thursday, as temperatures struggled to reach double digits, plenty of folks around Lincoln Square could be found chilling out with ice cream.

At Margie's Candies Montrose outpost, Niki Hoidahl and Nicole Elseng had made a significant dent in their four-scoop jumbo turtle split.

"I'm full, but I'm happy I got it," said Hoidahl.

"I've eaten ice cream outside in a blizzard," said Elseng, who noted that she had also ordered a bowl of Margie's chili "to compensate" for the frozen treat.

Hoidahl theorized that ice cream doesn't seem as cold when the weather outside is frightful. Regardless, "What woman doesn't like chocolate, no matter what time of year?"

Business has been steady all winter, said Margie's employee Bonnie, who opted not to divulge her last name ("Just call me 'Bonnie from Margie's.' ")

"We're Margie's. We've been around since 1921, so there's been a lot of winters," she said.

Of the all-weather appeal of ice cream, she said, "It's still comfort food."

When other businesses conceded defeat against the polar vortex, Margie's could be counted on to remain open. CPS snow days, when the mercury dipped below zero, were some of the shop's busiest, said Bonnie.

"It was miserable out. I thought, 'They should be at home,' " she said. "I was amazed."

By contrast, Yogurt Square, 4701 N. Lincoln Ave., skipped out on the worst of the weather, having closed for the season in late December and reopening just 10 ago, according to a staff member.

But absence clearly made Brenda Banh's heart grow fonder.

"I've been waiting to come back in," she said.

"Out of craving," Banh dragged pal Ariana Blumenberg to the shop for a self-serve fro-yo fix, piling fruit on top of a mound of chocolate cookies and cream.

Just up the street at Paciugo, 2324 W. Giddings St., the siren song of gelato had lured a large meet-up group of neighborhood moms and their toddlers.

"It warms you up," said Monica Larys. "It's reminding us spring is around the corner. One day soon, we'll shed our layers."

As she took a bite out of her cone, Megan Van Order added, "This is yearning for summer. We're willing it to happen."