Five Unexpected Summer Treat Spots in Champaign-Urbana

By Maddie Sievers 


Summer is approaching, and that means hot and muggy weather is, too. One of the best ways to survive the heat is to treat yourself to a delicious cold dessert: ice cream, popsicles, gelato, frozen yogurt… the list goes on and on!

If you’re living on campus this summer, there are plenty of expected spots in to find these sweets (we’re looking at you, Cold Stone and Cocomero). However, it’s often more exciting (and tastier!) to indulge in local favorites. Here are five local spots that should be on your summer dessert radar.


1. Sidney Dairy Barn


Credit: Visit Champaign


While not technically located in Champaign or Urbana, this local favorite is worth the twenty minute drive to its charming shop. More conveniently, you can find their cow-spotted “Moo Mobile” truck located at the Urbana Farmers Market. The ice cream that the Dairy Barn has been serving up for over 50 years isn’t like any you’ve had before, though. It’s old-fashioned and hand-cranked.


2. Prairie Fruits Farm


Credit: You’re Welcome CU


There’s only one place in all of C-U where you can admire baby goats while enjoying a delicious, homemade, locally-sourced summer treat: Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. Located on the outskirts of Champaign on Lincoln Avenue, this farm is known for farm-to-table meals, farm tours, and dairy products such as gelato and cheese made from their very own goats! PFF plays an integral role in Chambana’s growing locally-sourced initiative, so be sure to add this to your summer bucket list if you’ll be living on campus!


3. The Pop Stop


Credit: Daily Illini


If you find yourself craving a popsicle this summer, make sure to locate the portable Pop Stop cart! You’ll be sure to find it at plenty of local festivals and celebrations and at the Urbana Farmers Market. The Pop Stop’s handmade, small-batch artisan popsicles are the perfect treat if you want something a little more refined than a red, white and blue Rocket P

op. There are lots of popsicle flavors like you’ve never seen before, including gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt options. Cool off with gourmet flavors like blackberry ginger lemonade, bacon cookie dough, white chocolate raspberry, and watermelon mint. You can also feel good about buying popsicles from the Pop Stop. The local business has a philanthropic mission to donate to charities fighting malnutrition and water scarcity.



4. Paris Super Crepes


Credit: YouTube


The Illinois campus was first introduced to rolled ice cream by 8ºF Ice Cream & Crepe, which unfortunately closed within a few months of opening. Luckily, Paris Super Crepes, one of Campustown’s newest additions, opened shortly afterwards with similar menu offerings to satisfy students’ rolled ice cream cravings.

If you’ve never had Thai rolled ice cream, just know it’s an entirely different concept than the ice cream you’re used to. The ice cream liquid is poured out onto a pan, frozen, and scraped off to form tubular rolls, which are filled with yummy toppings. You can also go all-out and get an ice cream-filled crepe! Try Paris Super Crepes if you’re an adventurous spirit looking to try a new and innovative summer dessert.



5. Jarling’s Custard Cup


Credit: RoadArch


This is without a doubt an unexpected place to find summer treats, but Custard Cup is a C-U classic that just couldn’t be left off this list! Located very close to campus on Kirby Avenue, their giant ice cream sign marks the spot. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be greeted with the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked waffle cones and the smell of delicious, homemade custard made from a secret recipe that’s been passed down for generations. It also has significant ties to the University of Illinois: after the Jarlings retired, they sold their business to a group of Illinois coaches, athletes, and alumni. Try out one of their flavors of the week; a Snow Storm blended with lots of toppings; or a sundae topped with their signature cold fudge!




Featured image is from Smile Politely.

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