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Iconic Ice Cream Parlor Margie’s Candies Mourns Owner’s Death

Dr. Peter Poulos owned the Bucktown institution named for his mother

The exterior of an ice cream parlor at night with red neon letters reading “Margie’s Candies” in script.
Margie’s Candies is a Chicago institution.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The owner of Margie’s Candies, a summertime rite of passage for Chicagoans for more than a century, has died.

Dr. Peter Poulos died on Wednesday, April 26 in Evanston. He was 86.

The classic ice cream parlor has withstood trends to give patrons a glimpse of what it was like when the store opened in 1921. In the summer, long lines wrap around Western Avenue to Armitage with families waiting for banana splits and other specialities.

Poulos’s grandfather, Peter George Poulos, founded the store in Bucktown, then called Security Sweet Shop. Mobster Al Capone was a customer. In 1933, Peter George Poulos’s son, George Poulos, bought the store from his father and renamed it after his wife. Margie Poulos died in 1995, at which point her son officially took over the business.

The former bank building where the parlor stands, at Western, Armitage, and Milwaukee, has seen an influx of renovations in recent years as real estate prices around Bucktown and Logan Square boomed. Margie’s serves as a gateway to those neighborhoods. It shares a building with Marz Community Brewing’s satellite taproom, Life On Marz. The brewery offered condolences via Instagram, writing Poulos was a “long-time supporter of small businesses in Chicago” and that “he will be missed by the many people he has helped and healed over the last half-century.”

In 1999, Poulos told the Tribune he received a million-dollar offer to sell the business, but declined the overture. Today, Margie’s remains more or less the same, an anchor at the borders of Logan Square, Bucktown, and Humboldt Park. Poulos, a podiatrist, and his wife opened a second location in 2005 in North Center. The Wall Street Journal reported that he’d moonlight ordering ingredients for Margie’s at night.

Beyond Capone, Margie’s most famous celebrity sighting may have been in 1965. After a show at the original Comiskey Park in Bridgeport, the Beatles stopped by for some refreshments. There’s a black and white photo capturing the Fab Four’s visit on display at the shop.

Funeral services took place over the weekend. Poulos — a Chicago native who enjoyed fishing and spending time outdoors — is survived by his son, George P. Poulos; his daughter-in-law, Maura K. Poulos; and grandson Kai Poulos.

Margie's Candies

1960 North Western Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 384-1035