Homer’s Ice Cream in Wilmette has been a North Shore favorite since it first opened its doors in 1935. Since then, this family-owned business has undergone a series of changes — they began serving food in 1972, and now ship their products across the Chicagoland area and the country— but they’ve never stopped making their famous homemade ice cream.
“Homer’s was started here in 1935 by my father [Gus Poulos],” said current owner Dean Poulos. “At that point, it was a little two-table ice cream parlor.”
Even in the beginning, Homer’s was a fast hit, with Al Capone — who owned a lakefront house nearby — rumored to be a huge fan of the chocolate ice cream.
Homer’s remains in its original location (although it has since been added on to). Most of the ice cream is still handmade in the back, with flavors ranging from vanilla and cappuccino chip to seasonal favorites such as pumpkin and apple cinnamon.
The ice cream parlor now serves over 35 flavors of homemade ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and sherbets in it’s Wilmette location. It also sells quarts of ice cream to go, and transports the frozen treats all around the country, including to the top 10 restaurants in Chicago.
Poulos said that he, along with his two older brothers, began helping their dad in the family business since they were “tall enough to reach the ice cream.” Poulos left town and graduated college in 1975, when he returned to Homer’s and joined his two brothers in the family business. (One brother left in the 1980s, and the second one is in the process of retiring.)
Poulos’ son, Andrew is already working hard with the family business and plans to one day take over the reins.
“With so many places, nothing lasts,” Andrew said. “It’d be a shame to see [Homer’s] sold off. … I’m so fortunate to be a part of something like this, and [the family-owned aspect] is part of our niche, it’s part of why people come back.”
And people have been coming back for years. Dean said that they regularly have people in their 80s and 90s come in, who remember going to Homer’s when they were teenagers.
“It’s so rewarding to be a part of an establishment that’s been home to so many generations on the North Shore,” Dean said. “To see families getting together here and using our place to have quality time together is rewarding. … To be entrenched in a neighborhood and town for as long as we have, it’s a very enriching experience.”
For more information on Homer’s, or to order ice cream to be shipped to your house, visit them online here.