Why this 95-year-old rainbow ice cream is Chicago’s most legendary dessert

  • The Original Rainbow Cone opened in 1926 and became one of the most legendary dessert destinations in Chicago.
  • INSIDER’s Herrine Ro visits the store and meets the third-generation owner Lynn Sapps and learns about the history of the restaurant.
  • Herrine tries out the signature rainbow cone and talks to customers about why this place is so iconic.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Herrine Ro: For the past 95 years, The Original Rainbow Cone has been Chicago’s favourite ice cream.Customer: This is just a very famous neighbourhood place that we grew up coming to. For me, it just brings back childhood memories. I feel very fortunate now to bring my kids here.Herrine: Joseph Sapp opened the South Side ice creamery in 1926. Since then, dessert lovers of all ages have lined up out the door from the hottest to coldest of days. Now, third-generation owner Lynn Sapp operates the ice creamery. Lynn Sapp: So, Original Rainbow Cone is very unique because it’s a sherbet and ice cream combination. And back in 1926 you could buy a whole plate of food for a dime. He was asking that for an ice cream cone, so that’s where he came up with the five flavours. He had to give you some substance to the ice cream. Herrine: The cone is comprised of chocolate; strawberry; Palmer House, which is cherry-walnut; pistachio; and orange sherbet.Customer: I’ve been coming here for about 25-plus years. The best way to eat it is going all around and up and over and all around. [laughs]Lynn: Any way you wanna eat it, it’s all delicious.Herrine: This cone has been around for almost 100 years, and it hasn’t changed at all. So I’m expecting this to taste extremely old-timey and kind of, like, classic, like, just American classic. I wanna try all the flavours together first. It’s, like, creamy and fruity, and you still get chocolate. I thought, originally, that this wasn’t really gonna work because orange and chocolate and pistachio, like, kind of all together, I felt like it was just gonna be a weird medley of flavours, but, I mean, it’s been around for a century. And it’s famous. So of course these flavours work, and they do!Lynn: So, Original Rainbow Cone scoops about over 1,000 Rainbow Cones a day. The flavours have remained the same since 1926. Little things have changed, but the formula has stayed the same and the flavours are the same. Actually, there is a customer that’s 100 years old and has been here since the beginning.Herrine: It’s amazing to me that, like, this was created back in, like, 1926 and it still channels that inner childhood that I had back in, like, the early ’90s, if that makes sense. This is just like nostalgia in a cone! And it just so happens to be extremely pretty and Instagram-worthy. [laughs]

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