Algonquin’s newest ice cream shop may look like another small local ice cream option from the outside, but owner Mariangela Bolognini said its focus on community makes it stand out.
Cherry on Top Ice Cream Shoppe, located at 4071 W. Algonquin Road, opened last week and already has seen crowds. The location saw more than 100 customers on opening day. Team leader and Huntley High School graduate Macy Barham said evenings can get busy.
Fundraising is one of Bolognini’s passions, and she already has one planned for Saturday, June 10. Twelve teams from the Algonquin Area Youth Organization Baseball and Softball teams will receive 10% of all sales made by the shop that day.
“I try to give back, that’s one of the big things for me,” Bolognini said. “The community will help you when you help the community.”
Bolognini, 29, opened her second location in Algonquin because that is where she wants to move to in the future. She chose her location off Algonquin Road to be closer to the families and neighborhoods in town.
“I didn’t want to be on Randall Road. I wanted to be closer to where teenagers or kids can ride their bike,” Bolognini said.
Bolognini, who said she has a “sweet tooth,” is a Bartlett native. She opened her shop there in 2019 at 144 Bartlett Plaza.
Opening in the dead of winter already was a risk, and then three months later the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown happened.
Carryout orders and strong support from her community is what helped the store thrive during that time, she said.
“Social media was really big during COVID, especially in Bartlett,” Bolognini said. “People were really advertising the local businesses, so I feel like a lot of people heard about us that normally might not have.”
The Bartlett location has almost 2,500 Facebook followers, and the Algonquin location already has more than 300 in its first week after opening.
There are 18 staple flavors that have names such as Exhausted Parent (a bourbon and espresso ice cream with chocolate chunks) and This $&@! Just Got Serious (an award-winning flavor with caramel, fudge and cashews). Rotating flavors keep the menu fresh, and Bolognini always has at least one option of dairy-free and sugar-free flavors.
“I have a lot of customers who do have kids with dairy restrictions, so it’s always sad if they don’t have something but the brothers and sisters can get something,” Bolognini said.
Ice cream is served in generous scoops in either a cup, cone or a sundae and can even be made into milkshakes and malts.
Bolognini said she hopes to serve coffee and baked goods such as tiramisu and cannolis soon. Some possible additions to the menu could be caffeinated juice “refreshers” or doughnuts, which are highly requested by customers, she said.
The ice cream is provided by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, a company that manufactures ice cream in Madison, Wisconsin, and nationally supplies independent shops such as Cary’s Cary Dairy Ice Cream Café and Crystal Lake’s Mellie’s Chocolate & Co.
A third location could be a possibility for the future, but Bolognini said she wants to see how No. 2 goes first.
“Maybe three. We’ll see,” Bolognini said. “That could be nice.”