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Beloved Ice Cream Truck Parked in Hyde Park

By JoshMogerman in Food on May 23, 2010 7:00PM

Brother William and the Shawn Michelle's Homemade Ice Cream Truck. Photo by Jmogs.
Despite the recent excitement over food trucks, the mobile ice cream scene has been thriving for years on the South Side. A fleet of ramshackle trucks glide through the neighborhoods playing nursery rhyme-sounding Christmas songs to engage kids while selling hard frozen popsicles and Good Humor Products.

For foodies with a sweet-tooth, there is something better in the Kimbark Square Shopping Mall. An ice cream truck that doesn’t move. Shawn Michelle’s is well-known in Blue Island (11925 S. Western) for intensely flavored homemade ice cream. And their small batches are getting to be just as well-known in Hyde Park, where Brother William sells an array of flavors out of the big, blue, impossible-to-miss truck emblazoned with a massive ice cream sundae.

Brother William runs the show in the parking lot for Shawn Michelle’s. When asked about the truck’s popularity, he says, “Most people have never tasted homemade ice cream.” He sees what they do as a public service in upholding America’s culinary heritage, reminding the public what ice cream used to taste like before it became mass-produced. “You can buy that other stuff anywhere, but you can really taste the love in our product.”

And there is an amazing freshness to their quirky flavors that include Melanin Magic (chocolate, with a hint of mint), Jamaican rum raisin, banana pudding, burst of strawberry, honey cinnamon graham cracker supreme, and our new favorite, “A Taste of Heaven” (made from bean pie---it sounds nasty, but trust us, this is THE stuff!). Despite the printed menu, stock changes regularly, so it is always best to find out what is locked away in the truck’s massive freezer at the moment before getting your heart set on a specific flavor.

The truck used to drive the Hyde Park to Blue Island circuit daily. But business has been good, so it seems that Shawn Michelle will be a semi-permanent fixture in the strip mall, much to the delight of its growing community of Hyde Park devotees. Brother William sees the truck as great marketing and a way to give a unique product to a new audience. We are hooked on the stuff, so we see it as a great way to avoid driving all the way to 119th and Western.

The Shawn Michelle Homemade Ice CreamTruck is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Kimbark Plaza on 53rd Street between Kimbark and Woodlawn Avenues.