Once upon a time, in order to savor the quintipartite joys of an Original Rainbow Cone, you had to somehow get yourself to Beverly. Not too difficult if you were already in Beverly, or near it, or at least on the South Side. But an insurmountable hurdle to guys like me, far, far away from the Pepto Bismol-pink ice cream shop at 9233 S. Western Ave.
Then Rainbow began popping up at Taste of Chicago, where I first tried the five-layer frozen delight, perhaps the pinnacle of the Chicago ice cream world. (Which is a small planet. There’s Margie’s hot fudge. And Lezza’s Spumoni & Desserts. And ... that’s about it, right?)
For the unenlightened, a Rainbow Cone’s fivefold path is, from top to bottom: orange sherbet, followed by four ice creams: pistachio, Palmer House (New York vanilla with walnuts and cherries), strawberry, chocolate. As with actual rainbows, the wonder was hard to find, but that’s changing.
The past half-dozen years, Rainbow Cone has run a summertime kiosk on Navy Pier. Last year, another opened in Lombard.
Beginning Wednesday, deprived North Siders can partake, as Rainbow Cone opens at 3754 W. Touhy Ave. in Skokie in a symbiotic relationship with Buona Beef.
I swung by Monday with one goal: to enjoy a Rainbow Cone — whoops, I mean, to talk to Lynn Sapp, granddaughter of founders Joe and Katherine Sapp, who opened Rainbow Cone in 1926.
“I grew up right behind it, and my grandparents lived above it,” she said.
Has a lifetime of proximity muted the allure?
“No. I’ve always loved Rainbow,” she said. “It’s kinda like a drug for me.”
But scarcity drives value. Is she concerned the proliferation of Rainbow Cones — there’s also one in Darien — will dilute the magic?
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