"We love Taste. We are just not doing it this year," said Lynn Sapp, owner of the ice cream shop at 9233 S. Western Ave. that famously serves up cones made with chocolate, strawberry, pistachio and Palmer House (New York vanilla with cherries and walnuts) ice cream and orange sherbet.
Original Rainbow Cone has been serving its sliced ice cream cones at Taste of Chicago for 28 years, Sapp said.
She said personal issues along with a planned expansion of the ice cream shop are the root of her decision to drop out of Taste of Chicago.
Indeed, Original Rainbow Cone has consistently placed among the most profitable vendors at the Taste. But Sapp said participation in the festival extends beyond the five days when her business sets up shop in Grant Park.
Rather than focus on the prep work for Taste of Chicago, Sapp said she'll pursue opening two more Original Rainbow Cone locations, though she wouldn't say where she's focusing her efforts.
The decision not to take part in the Taste left some neighborhood residents speculating that the Original Rainbow Cone was considering pulling out of the city, as only restaurants with a Chicago presence can participate in the summer food festival.
Sapp had testified against the city's minimum wage ordinance on Dec. 1. And after her testimony, Ald. Matt O'Shea said Sapp and others in the 19th Ward could avoid city-mandated wage hikes by moving across the street to suburban Evergreen Park.
But Sapp was adamant on Wednesday that she has no plans to leave the iconic pink building in Beverly with the large Rainbow Cone perched atop.
"We are not going anywhere," Sapp said. "We are going to be 90 years old, and we are not moving."
Sapp said she'd consider returning to Taste of Chicago after the dust settles on Original Rainbow Cone's planned expansion. But she'd do so knowing full well preparation required of a vendor.
"People think it's only five days. It's not," Sapp said.
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