New ice cream parlor dishes Hyde Park flavor

By Jennifer Standish

Hyde Park entrepreneurs Jackie Jackson and Kenneth Faulkner have sealed a sweet deal to open a second branch of Kilwins ice cream and candy shop on East 53rd Street and South Harper Avenue this fall.

The cherry on top? The neighborhood will finally be immortalized, in sugar and heavy cream, with its own flavor: “Hyde Park Mud.”

The business duo, both South Side natives who have been running a branch of the shop in the Old Town neighborhood since 2008, decided it was time to treat Hyde Parkers to the store’s offerings, including its not-yet-famous local variety. According to Jackson, Hyde Park’s eponymous flavor will consist of “creamy vanilla ice cream with explosions of chocolate chips and swirls of caramel.”

She expects it to be a best-seller.

“First of all, we’re residents in the area, so we wanted to bring the fabulous taste to our own neighborhood,” Jackson said. “Secondly, Hyde Park is lacking ice cream.”

Oprah Winfrey helped to provide the impetus to open a second Kilwins location, when she spoke with Jackson and Faulkner via Skype at their Old Town location during an episode of her show last October.

“She said you have to go for your dream, go for your business,” Jackson said. “Oprah gave us that last push to say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do it.’”

Both Faulkner and Jackson were drawn to Hyde Park because of efforts to stimulate the area with projects such as the redevelopment of Harper Court, where the store will be located.

“We just really want it to be a hangout, a fun place,” Jackson said.

Once it opens in early September, the Hyde Park location will be about twice the size of the Old Town store, Falkner said, allowing for a larger seating area in which customers can enjoy their ice cream and award-winning fudge.

The owners also expect to host special events at the store, such as birthday parties, bridal showers, and business meetings. The store will also add an educational aspect to its operation by hosting field trips where students can see how chocolate is made, learn about the history of Kilwins, and become apprentice chocolatiers, themselves.

This summer, Jackson and Faulkner will host a “taste of Kilwins” event targeted towards Hyde Park residents at the store’s Old Town location. They will serve samples of the chocolate, fudge, and ice cream and dish out coupons for the grand opening of the store this fall.