When I am in Chicago and have a taste for authentic Italian ice, I know to head to Mario’s Italian Lemonade in Chicago’s Little Italy. They make some of the best Italian ice in the city of Chicago for over 65 years.
Located in the University Village Area (UIC) / Little Italy, you'll find Mario's Lemonade. Mario actually started this stand in the exact same spot as an elementary school kid and has been going ever since. Sixty-five years later, people wait until May 1st for this Chicago treasure to open. On any given day between May 1st - Labor Day weekend, (roughly open 130 days a year), you'll see a line of people on West Taylor.
Mario’s Italian Lemonade was established in 1954 by Mario DiPaolo and his son, Mario G. DiPaolo, also known as “Skip.” At the age of six, Skip DiPaolo was a very rambunctious child with endless energy. His father gave him a hand-crank lemonade machine to channel this energy by making and selling lemonade. Skip DiPaolo churned the hand-crank machine and sold lemonade for two cents on Taylor Street. Within the next few years, Skip’s father built what is now known as “Mario’s Italian Lemonade.” During the early years, the lemonade stand was run by Skip, his sister (Donna), his mother (Dorothy), and his father, Mario. Today, the lemonade stand is run by Skip, his wife (Maria), and their three children
Their prices are not that bad for what you get, considering all fresh ingredients are used. Prices range from $3 for a small and $6 for an X-large.
The menu includes 18 flavors at any given time. My go-to is the classic Lemonade. It's delicious. When you walk up, there will be one long line that breaks into three windows.
Here is some useful info about Mario's from their website.
When do you open for the season?
We open on 4/30/21 and close for the season in mid-September.
What are your hours?10:00 AM – 11:00 PM.
What days are you open? We are open 7 days a week.
Are you open 4th of July/Memorial Day?
Yes, we are open during ALL summer holidays.
Do you accept credit cards?
How many flavors can I mix?
Two Flavors in a size medium and up.
Is there a sugar-free lemonade?
Not yet, but it’s in the works!
This last visit, I ordered a medium size, which was $4, tax included. I chose their watermelon and the classic lemonade flavors. Included in the flavors are real bits of fresh fruit. The only drawback for some is that, because fresh fruit is used, there are seeds and fruit skin throughout the ice.
They now accept credit cards, which is great, because they used to be cash-only as of a few years ago. The weekends are the busiest for Mario’s, so plan accordingly. Also, the only parking is right in front of the lemonade stand, so it is difficult to find parking and it can be a big hassle.
I give Mario’s Italian Lemonade a rating of 8 out of 10. I highly recommend trying them out.
© Frank S ChicagoFoodKing , 2021. All Rights Reserved.