Little Italy Ice
Mario's Italian Lemonade is a throwback. It's a small Italian ice shop with nothing fancy. There is no neon signage or electronics involved in the menu. They don't even have a website! The prices are cheap and the concept is simple. Yet, on a beautiful night in the summer, the line can go around the block for people wanting to get a cup of Italian ice.
We went after having dinner at Al's Beef, which is on the other side of Taylor Street from Mario's. What better place to go after having a Big Beef Sandwich from Al's than to get some ice for dessert!
The ice had a nice, smooth consistency but the thing that made this particularly different was the small bits of lemon and cherry that were mixed into the ice. I think they both helped give it an extra tart flavor. I usually prefer strawberry lemonade when it comes to ice drinks but the cherry was a nice change of pace and I don't think it was as sweet as most strawberry lemonade is.
Part of what made the experience at Mario's Italian Lemonade fun was standing on the sidewalk and eating our ice and listening to the people around us. Some were friendly locals who were welcoming visitors into the city, some were students from the nearby college, and some (like us) were visiting from out of town. You can tell it's a sidewalk where many stories have been shared over the years.
And in that way, Mario's Italian Lemonade is a great representation of the city of Chicago. A unique place full of rich stories.
Mario's Italian Lemonade
1068 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607