In 1921, Greek immigrant Peter George Poulos founded Margie’s Candies. Over 80 years later, this classic ice cream parlor is still serving Chicago sweet toothes from their shop in the Bucktown community. Al Capone was reportedly one of their more famous patrons, as were the Beatles in 1964 after they finished their concert at Comiskey Park. Margie’s makes their own 18% butterfat ice cream, hot fudge, real butterscotch, and caramel. Current owner, Peter Poulos Jr., the third generation to own Margie’s, also hand-dips homemade candy – just like his mother, Margie, used to do.
Inside, Margie’s Candies is reminiscent of your grandmother’s kitschy digs. Frozen in time, the little shop is crammed with old-fashioned composition dolls, knickknacks, old newspaper clippings, and other mementos. One newspaper clipping describes how Margie got permission to block off the street the day her husband returned from World War II. He stepped off of the El tracks and was greeted by a packed street party, the family business, a swinging big band, and his wife with open arms. Margie, who unfortunately has passed on, worked the register until the very last months of her life.
Although Margie’s Candies serves regular food like sandwiches, soups, and a retro-classic Hawaiian Plate, 4 of the 5 pages of the menu are devoted to ice-cream specialties. Fans who have been frequenting the place for decades recommend:
- Milshakes so thick you need a spoon,
- Rootbeer floats that overflow tall glasses,
- The Eiffel Tower, with “four scoops of fresh flavors and paradise”,
- Margie’s Melody, combining ice cream and marshmallow, and
- The World’s Largest Sundae, which dares you to finish a half-gallon.
Margie’s homemade scoops of ice cream are heaped into a signature clam-shaped bowl and are always topped with vanilla wafer cookies. If you get your order “to go” you still get the wafers, but instead of the clamshell you get styrofoam. A hand-dipped candy favorite is the pecan, caramel, and chocolate terrapin.
In these modern days of chain store mania, Margie’s Candies is a perfect concept of an authentic old-fashioned candy store. We’ve heard a rumor that developers have tried to snag Margie’s land to build condos. We hope this is not true and that it never happens. Margie’s truly is a Chicago legend. Peter Poulos follows his mother’s motto: “Highest quality, best possible service, and be proud of your product.” And they are! You can taste the quality, freshness, and care put into every piece of candy and every scoop of ice cream they make.
To visit for yourself, take the Blue Line to the Western stop. Margie’s is located at 1960 N. Western. The store is busy, especially on hot summer weekend nights so you may find yourself waiting in line. After your first gorge, you’ll understand why there’s a wait and you won’t mind it so much. The average tab per person, whether you are getting food or dessert is about $5 – 6. It’s unconfirmed but we’ve heard that first-time customers get 10% off and also that if you get an A on your report card that you get a free waffle cone.
» Margie’s Candies Official Site
» Metromix Review
» CenterStage Listing
» CitySearch Listing
» ABC 7 Chicago Review
» A Mirror Project Submission
» Liz Phair likes Margie’s
» A Closer Look at Margie’s Candiess, at chicagoist.com
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