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Ice Cream Ninja? 'American Ninja Warrior' Hopeful Opens Chicago Sweet Shop

By Stephanie Lulay | April 11, 2016 5:39am
 Christie's Dairy Delights is now serving up 16 flavors of ice cream daily on Taylor Street. 
Christie's Dairy Delights is now serving up 16 flavors of ice cream daily on Taylor Street. 
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dnainfo/Stephanie Lulay

LITTLE ITALY — A new Little Italy ice cream shop is now serving up 16 flavors of ice cream, shakes and other treats on Taylor Street — when it's owner is not training to be on "America's Ninja Warrior."

Owner Christie Hovorka opened Christie's Dairy Delights at 1151 W. Taylor St. in the former Yogen Früz spot in March.

After successfully opening a coffee shop and ice cream parlor in Palatine two years ago, Hovorka, of suburban Gurnee, set her sights on opening a second shop in the suburbs. But she soon found that a location in Little Italy was perfect for her next shop. 

"It's funny, I'm Italian. When my broker said it was in Little Italy, I thought, maybe that is a sign," she said with a laugh. 

Inspired by her own family memories made at ice cream parlors, the former dealer at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines said she has always wanted to own ice cream shops. 

"It was always a dream of mine. [Opening my first shop] I emptied my bank account and crossed my fingers," she said. "It's a happy thing for me to see families and kids and dates — you can't go wrong with ice cream." 

Christie's Dairy Delights serves up 16 flavors of award-winning Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream, made in Shelby Township, Mich. Customers can choose from the Big City Scoop in a waffle cone ($5.50), Tiny Town Scoop ($4), milkshakes ($7), malts ($7.50), and a variety of toppings and cones, including cookie and pretzel cones. 

Hovorka counts the Carrot Cake and Salty "Cow-amel" flavors among her favorites 

"It's the best ice cream I've ever had," she said. 

Christie's Dairy Delights is now serving up 16 flavors of ice cream daily on Taylor Street. [dnainfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Ice cream ninja

When she's not busy serving up ice cream at the two shops, Hovorka is training seven days a week to compete on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," a TV show that pits fit competitors against each other as they try to complete a challenging obstacle course. 

Hovorka started training three years ago, and has lost almost 80 pounds in the process. She was scheduled to appear on the program this year, but recently tore her ACL, making her unable to compete. 

"I did qualify, but tore up my knee," the 5'1" Hovorka said. "I have completed every obstacle and can do everything they show on the show." For now, she's focused on getting healthy and showing her skills on the next Ninja season. 

Christie's Dairy Delights is open 2-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 2-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Starting May 1, the shop will be open until 10 p.m on weekdays and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 

Christie's Dairy Delights, 1151 W. Taylor St. in Little Italy. [dnainfo/Stephanie Lulay]

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