Ice cream gets a makeover in downtown Kankakee in the new Rebel Ice Cream Co., from local business owner Terrance Hooper, well known in the community for his Grapes & Hops operation.
The ice cream shop opened over Memorial Day weekend and is located on the first floor of Burfield + Remington at 150 N. Schuyler Ave. The building is also the condominium of Hooper, who attributes the inspiration to a long-standing love for ice cream. the new business.
While they serve the usual ice cream cones and cups, their unique menu item comes in the form of a flight. Here, customers can select four different flavors and enjoy a scoop of each. Customers receive a sticker and a plastic take-out box divided into four sections. On the sticker – which is designed to line up with the four sections – they write the four flavors they want to order and attach it to the box before sending it back to the server for pickup. These can be eaten on the spot or taken home to put in the freezer for later.
This format was inspired by something Grapes & Hops started during the pandemic as a way to continue serving its fudge and cheese platters to customers. With this format, the trays could be delivered.
âThe customer is really involved in this process,â Hooper said. “We give them the pen to fill in the sticker so that it becomes their steal and they make it their own.”
Hooper says this process, due to its interaction and personalization, worked even better than they initially imagined. And when it comes to the four flavors, the choice is vast.
Arranged in the style of traditional ice cream parlors, there is a large freezer which allows the customer to view the various ice cream jars, all of which have corresponding labels on the glass. At the right end of the ice cream freezer, there are four options available for people with dietary restrictions, including vanilla and dairy-free chocolate.
To the left are the eight most popular flavors, including: Superman, Buttery Pecan, Chocolate, Oreo, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cake Dough, Old Fashioned Vanilla, and Cookie Dough. Due to the popularity and demand for these eight flavors – and the four non-dairy options – these jars continue to hold their place in the freezer.
Unlike most ice cream parlors, they are not beholden to a single brand. At Rebel Ice Cream, the brand in question will be the company that produces âthe bestâ of each flavor. Although the supplier may change from time to time, the chosen flavor will remain. Much like the local wines available at Grapes, Hooper has partnered with a handful of Midwestern ice cream producers.
To the left of the most popular flavors are six seasonal options. Similar to the seasonal wine flights at Grapes & Hops, these six flavors are swapped out at the start of each new season. The boutique is preparing to showcase the flavors of fall. Their recent summer flavors have included: lime pie, cotton candy, root beer float, coconut and almond fudge, foster bananas and caramel. Hooper shared that kids love Superman colorful ice cream, which is a blend of flavors.
Finally, at the start of the freezer are six bins dedicated to “series of ice creams“. Currently, he offers a “loaded series” with flavors ranging from bourbon pecan pie to a more loaded version of Oreo (called ZOREO) with gooey marshmallow.
While the ice cream is brought in, Rebel is still busy making large waffle cones by hand. The cones – which are sugar coated on the inside – often feature seasonal options, like a rainbow cone for the pride month of June and a red, white and blue cone for July. With each seasonal cone sold, a percentage of the profit is donated to a corresponding charity selected by Hooper.
âWe will give back where we can,â he said, adding that the design of the store should appeal to children and adults. âWhen you’re more adult-oriented, you can advocate for social issues. “
In its first two weeks, Rebel Ice Cream Co. hosted over 3,000 patrons at the 524 square foot facility which features a vintage red sofa with an “Ice Ice Baby” neon sign above it. To the left of the register is a hanging work of art made up of over 100 cones.
âWe do a lot in a small space,â Hooper said.
For more information, visit Rebel Ice Cream Co. on Facebook.
This article originally appeared in Lifestyles of Kankakee County.