Ample Hills Creamery
My friend Evan and I had been planning on making a trip to Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights, for weeks. Every time we tried to make plans to go, we got rained out, until yesterday when we finally made it down there on a nice sunny day with Evan’s friend Chris. We found Ample Hills and were already in for a pleasant surprise. The storefront is placed on the street corner with a modest sign and fences around little spreads of fake grass, which is funny and cutely reminiscent of a little country store. The inside of the ice cream shop was even better. It was a very kid-friendly atmosphere with a kid’s toy corner in the back and colors all around. They also had a “Swap-o-matic” machine where you can leave items and take items out. I thought it was a neat idea!
We spent forever looking at all of their unique ice cream flavors and deciding what we wanted to get. All of Ample Hills’ ice cream is made with local, organic cream and other ingredients, and produced in small batches right in the shop! There’s a small ice cream production room at the back of the store, where you can watch the ice cream being handmade throughout the day. Ice cream flavors range from Vanilla Malted to Sunset in the Keys (Key lime ice cream with a chocolate swirl), all handmade and uniquely tasty. You can sample every flavor of ice cream so you know what you’re getting into. They also have a cold case full of vintage and unique sodas, which you can have them use in custom made ice cream floats with your choice of ice cream flavor.
We decided that we couldn’t decide on any one flavor, so we all got a variety of flavors to share. I got a single size ($3.90) of the Sweet As Honey, made with homemade honeycomb candy in sweet cream ice cream. Evan got a double size ($5.25) with one scoop of the Salted Crack Caramel (salted butter ice cream with pieces of Deb’s famous crack cookies, made with saltines, butter, sugar, and chocolate… mmm) and one scoop of the Mexican Hot Chocolate (dark chocolate ice cream with Saigon cinnamon and chili flakes). Chris also got a double size with one scoop of the Nanatella (banana ice cream with swirls of Nutella) and one scoop of the Maple Bacon (maple syrup ice cream with pieces of candied bacon). After feasting on all of that ice cream, I had to try one more that I had been tempted to choose, which was the Stout n’ Pretzels (chocolate Guinness stout ice cream with milk chocolate covered pretzels), so I got a Kiddie size of that ($2.30). They were all amazingly delicious.
The sizes don’t seem too big for their price at first, but this is real heavy ice cream, and it’s really filling! Each flavor was true to its description and went above and beyond our expectations. My favorite was the Nanatella, because I’m a huge fan of banana ice cream and theirs was creamy and delicious. The Sweet As Honey was also amazing, and really sweet. The honeycomb gave it a great crunch and flavor. The Salted Crack Caramel, which we had come to try, was unexpectedly a little bit bitter, but really tasty. The crack cookies were delicious and we discovered that they’re sold separately as well!
Overall, we were all very pleased with our visit to Ample Hills Creamery and I’ll definitely be back! I’ll have to go back and try the rest of the flavors that we didn’t get, because they all sounded awesome. It’s a very family-friendly environment and the employees were friendly and helpful!
Ample Hills Creamery: http://www.amplehills.com/
632 Vanderbilt Avenue (on the corner of St. Mark’s Avenue)