Customers of Gina’s Italian Ice bid farewell to beloved community staple

The Berwyn institution provided a community experience for generations of families and helped other businesses in the area, patrons say.

SHARE Customers of Gina’s Italian Ice bid farewell to beloved community staple
Gina Tremonte at her Italian ice stand on July 15, 1998.

Gina Tremonte is shown here in July 1998, when her Italian ice stand already had been open for about 21 years. She was open for another 25 years before closing this past weekend.

Robert A. Davis/Sun-Times file

Marking the end of the summer and the end of an era, Gina’s Italian Ice served its final scoop Sunday, permanently closing its doors to the public after 46 years in Berwyn.

“It has been a pleasure serving you,” Gina Tremonte, the shop’s owner, posted on Instagram. “I hope memories of GINA’S make you smile as much as they do for me.”

Tremonte was not available for comment.

On its final day, the bustling shop at 6737 Roosevelt Road, typically teeming with locals and visitors, saw a long line stretching down the block, as patrons patiently waited to bid the establishment farewell.

“Gina’s will be missed, I mean, there was people lined up all the way down Roosevelt Avenue,” said Jeffrey Schrieber, 70, an Oak Park resident who has lived near the Italian ice shop for 35 years. “I just hope that whatever happens next with the property, [it] will offer as much as Gina’s did to the community over the years.”

Schrieber said Gina’s was always full of customers and that his daughter, a fan of Gina’s cherry Italian ice, had frequently visited the establishment with her friends as a young girl. She was saddened to hear of the shop’s closing, he said.

“She just moved back to Oak Park from Chicago and was sad to hear the news because, you know, she was hoping to eventually have kids and bring them there,” Schrieber said.

Elena Doyle, 53, who has lived down the street from Gina’s for 18 years, said the shop is “just part of the summer here.”

“It’s really sad to most of us who live here because it’s one of the last few stores that’s owned by a family and run by a family,” Doyle said.

“You can go to Dunkin’ Donuts and get ice cream, but it’s not the same as standing in line with all your neighbors outside and getting your favorite flavor,” she added.

Gina’s provided a community experience and even helped other businesses in the area, Doyle said.

Gina’s Italian Ice at 6737 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, Illinois,

After 46 years at Roosevelt Road and Oak Park Avenue, Gina’s Italian Ice in Berwyn has closed its doors. Sunday was its last day.

Allison Novelo/Sun-Times

On Wednesday nights, customers could ask for a “Friendly Gina’s” at the Italian ice shop, then walk over to Friendly Tap, a bar next door, where you could ask the bartender to “spike” your ice for you, she said.

“It’s a neat experience for parents, and you’re supporting two awesome, local establishments. We’re really going to miss Gina’s,” Doyle said.

Mia Moore, 38, who moved to Oak Park three years ago, said her 14-year-old daughter quickly developed a fondness for the Italian ice spot.

“When we heard that they were selling Gina’s, we wondered if someone was going to keep the legacy going and keep it alive, but who knows at this point,” Moore said. “We’re definitely just sad to see it leave because we definitely loved going whenever the summer hit.”

Tremonte is asking for $850,000 for Gina’s Italian ice, according to an online property listing. The price includes the building and ownership of the business.

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