LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square’s summer favorite The Freeze opened for the season Thursday for pickup and online ordering.
The beloved soft-serve spot at 2815 W. Armitage Ave. is having customers call the shop directly to place their pickup orders or use GrubHub to place their delivery orders. Business hours are 1-7 p.m. during the week and 1-8 p.m. on the weekends.
Owner Tony Zarcone is marking the sidewalk and putting up signs so customers know to stay six feet apart from one another. Customers won’t be able to go inside — they’ll only be able to pick up orders from the side window.
Employees are required to get their temperatures taken before reporting to work. They’re also required to wear masks and other protective gear, Zarcone said.
Zarcone said this is the first time in The Freeze’s decades-long history that it’s offering delivery. After some test runs, Zarcone said he feels confident it’ll work out; Freezees were “firm and fresh” upon delivery, he said.
“I think that everyone knows this is serious business and everyone wants to stay healthy. … but they still want their ice cream,” he said.
Founded in 1950, The Freeze, formally known as Tastee Freeze, is the neighborhood’s go-to spot for soft-serve ice cream and no-frills fast food. During warm months, it’s crawling with families, young folks and everyone in between.
The Reader eloquently described The Freeze as a “precious reminder of what neighborhoods are really for,” especially “as Logan Square gentrifies and condos blossom around the restaurant.”
The Freeze typically opens March 1, depending on the weather. This year’s opening is a month behind schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zarcone said he’s optimistic he’ll get enough sales to weather the coronavirus storm and he’s even willing to stay open 24 hours a day to make that happen.
“I might just get a cot here and sleep here and wait for a GrubHub to go off,” he said with a laugh. “You gotta do what you gotta do. I got my blood, sweat and tears here. Business owners, the good ones, do what they gotta do.”
Like so many business owners across Chicago, he said this year feels different, in more ways than one.
“Today when I was peeling off the plywood, I got a couple honks, but I didn’t get the big honks and the big yells that I’ve been getting in the past,” he said. “But I’m happy to say we’re getting call-in orders.”
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