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in Bucktown or Damen on the Blue line

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Miko's Italian Ice (Wicker Park)

View Map1846 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 645-9664
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Editorial Review of Miko's Italian Ice (Wicker Park)

Don't get me wrong. Push Pops are great, ice cream's a classic and I'm positive that heaven tastes like chocolate gelato. But when it's 102 degrees outside, you want something refreshing. What you want is Italian ice. Whipping up fresh fruit, sugar and water, Miko's offers a smooth, sweet blend that's more than the sum of its parts.

For eight years Miko's has sold its homemade ice from an unassuming garden apartment on Damen. If you're not paying attention, you might miss the hand painted sign half-hidden behind a shrub. The mint green walls and bright yellow sills echo the colorful choices on the no-frills dry erase menu: lemon, lime, raspberry, watermelon, kiwi, black raspberry and coconut to name a few. Prices range from $2 for a dainty baby cup to the $7 quart in case your head's on fire. The bold may want to mix and match flavors or dip into banana chocolate chip. In the mood for something solid? Try the banana nut bread or maple walnut fudge.

Flavors come and go depending on the seasons. Blink and you'll miss black cherry completely. Lately crowds are hot for passion fruit at the Logan Square location, and co-owners Rick and Mike Roombos have already churned out five batches of their newest concoction, green tea. Rick's seen the crowd change over the years but still chuckles, he says, when folks try to waltz in through the front door. Don't be that guy; place your order at the window. Then laze in the shade of the mulberry tree and try not to shovel it in so fast your brain cramps, champ. Good luck with that.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Foreman

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1-10 p.m. Sunday-Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday-

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