LOGAN SQUARE — It’s officially spring in Logan Square.
The neighborhood institution The Freeze — formerly known as Tastee Freez — at 2815 W. Armitage Ave. opened for the season Wednesday.
When owner Tony Zarcone took down the wooden boards covering the old-school ice cream/fast food joint on Tuesday, passing cars beeped and pedestrians gave him high-fives.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Zarcone, 52, who has owned the restaurant for 20 years.
Founded in 1950, Tastee Freez has become the neighborhood’s go-to spot for soft-serve ice cream and no-frills fast food. During warm months, it’s crawling with families, young folks and everyone in between.
The Reader eloquently described Taste Freez as a “precious reminder of what neighborhoods are really for,” especially “as Logan Square gentrifies and condos blossom around the restaurant.”
When Tastee Freez changed its name to The Freeze last year, some die-hard fans expressed disappointment. Turns out, Zarcone isn’t a fan of the new name either. He said it wasn’t his idea. All of the locations were forced to change their names because the company’s original owner passed away and decided to retire the name.
“It hurt me to change the name and it still does, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Just go forward and go on,” said Zarcone, who grew up on Richmond Street in Logan Square.
He emphasized that everything about the restaurant is the same despite the name: “It’s all the same products, all the same formula,” he said.
And fans who don’t mind a slight chill with their ice cream are in luck: Zarcone said he’s considering staying open until Dec. 1 instead of Oct. 31, which is when the ice cream joint typically closes.