Cubs fans will have to wait until next year for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to open at The Park at Wrigley, the plaza next to Wrigley Field. Jeni Britton Bauer’s latest Chicago location should debut by Opening Day 2018. Bauer, the Beard-winning cookbook author and founder of the popular Ohio-based gourmet ice cream chain, even has a special flavor that will debut outside the baseball stadium.
The unnamed baseball-themed flavor will feature popcorn from Iowa, honey-roasted peanuts, and caramel. They’ll unveil it at the 2,100-square-foot Wrigley location and may serve it at other Chicago locations. Jeni’s opened its last Chicago location in July in Old Town. There are four locations in Chicago and one planned for West Loop next year.
"When we had the opportunity to open at Wrigley, we jumped on it in a huge way — we love the Cubs," Bauer said.
The Park at Wrigley opened earlier this year giving Cubs’ management new office space and customers new dining options. Jeni’s will neighbor the Starbucks at Clark and Waveland. Brickhouse, a two-floor bar/restaurant, and Lucky Dorr, a craft beer bar, opened earlier this year. Plans haven’t solidified, but Bauer will try to talk with Cubs management about allowing fans to bring their ice creams into the Wrigley Field.
Jeni’s CEO John Lowe is also a Cubs fan. The Cubs hold a special place in Bauer’s heart, as she grew up in Peoria. She may not be the biggest sports fan, but her grandfather grew up in Wrigleyville. He outfitted her son, Dash, with plenty of Cubs’ gear. Bauer and her 8 year old knew before the team’s World Series run that they were opening near Wrigley. Jeni’s represents Americana to Bauer, and so does baseball. The location is in the design process right now, but the decor will be influenced by the sport.
“Baseball was the sport that we grew up with more than anything else,” Bauer said.
The shop will be open year round. That means bundled-up customers can eat ice cream during the frigid winter months when the plaza’s ice rink comes out. Bauer said she’ll make sure they’ll have outdoor seating available, as there’s something magical about eating ice cream outdoors for her during winter months. They’ll even serve special wintry flavors.