If you think a chilly night in early spring is too early or too cold for ice cream, you’re not frequenting the right ice cream shop. Where I like to go in any season is The Original Walt’s Ice Cream in Joliet.
Because when I recently met several friends one evening for some socially distant ice cream, the place was packed. Nearly everyone in line stood at least 6 feet apart and wore face masks.
As one in our party said, “I love Walt’s. Everything is perfect about it. The long lines, the friendly workers, and the old school ice cream feeling. It truly is a treasure, and Joliet should treat it as such.”
Walt’s was established in 1926. Mention it to any longtime Jolietan, and you’ll most likely hear, “I used to work there when I was in high school” or “It was my kid’s first job.”
I didn’t work there in high school. But one of my kids definitely did.
It was cold enough for coats and hats along with those face masks. But that’s a good thing. I got to slowly savor my ice cream cone since it wasn’t melting faster than I could eat it.
I always get the waffle cone when I go to Walt’s. Now, from time to time, someone might bring me a Wizard (a Walt’s version of a national chain’s item) with Oreos and M&M’S.
But when I go to Walt’s, I order a waffle cone with soft-serve vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate.
Every time I order one, I’m a child again, enjoying the same treat for the first time when my dad took our family for ice cream. Walt’s version isn’t too sweet, and the coating always has just the right crunch.
When it’s cold outside like it was the night we went, the ice cream and the coating and the waffle fuse together to form a very satisfying last few bites when you reach the bottom.
Another in our party also got a waffle cone, vanilla dipped in cherry, this person’s standard order. This person has a similar experience to mine and said, “The waffle cones are nice and crunchy the whole time you’re eating your ice cream. The ice cream is not overly sweet. The cherry shell adds flavor and a bit of texture to your ice cream cone. My earliest ice cream memory is getting one of these cones.”
Not a fan of chocolate or cherry? Walt’s offers seven different “dip” flavors.
Another ordered a Wizard with M&M’S and cookie dough pieces. This person said, “If you are getting a Wizard, always get two kinds of candy. You get the chocolate crunch from the M&M’S, and then you get the softer chunks of cookie dough. It’s a great combination!”
And someone trying their first Wizard noted, “I ordered a Wizard. The first time I had ever ordered one – I always get a dipped waffle cone. I added Heath pieces to mine and was pleasantly surprised that there were crunchy candy pieces in every bite!”
Another also went with something new: a cone with French silk ice cream. This person loves French silk pie, and wanted to try the flavor as ice cream. Comments: “Smooth. Hit the spot.”
Walt’s also has sundaes, shakes, malts, floats and slushes.
The slushes come in 14 different flavors: cherry, blue raspberry, strawberry, grape, lime, orange, bubble gum, watermelon, pomegranate, piña colada, blue Hawaiian, apricot mango, sour apple, lemonade.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Walt’s also offers “flavor of the day” choices.
Not a soft serve fan? Try any combination of Walt’s 25 hard-serve ice creams: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, cookies and cream, rocky road, chocolate chip, mint chip, butter pecan, French silk, peppermint, salty Jack, bubble gum, New York cherry, birthday cake, chocolate peanut butter, black walnut, chocolate chip cookie dough, Superman, orange sherbet, watermelon sherbet, lemon, mango Italian ice, lemon Italian ice and cotton candy.
Not sure if Walt’s is for you? Here’s some reassurance.
Last year, Herald-News readers declared Walt’s had the “best ice cream” in Will County. And one of us said the other night, “Walt’s ice cream is always consistently great. Always the perfect temperature. As always, I hope to grace this establishment for years to come.”
One bite and you just might think so, too.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Original Walt’s Ice Cream
WHERE: 1314 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
WHEN: Noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week
INFO: 815-302-4628, www.facebook.com/waltsicecream