the best cone is served fresh and the result of years of know-how, strong local relationships, sustainable practices, and the best ingredients.

Our mission is to bring you innovative, handcrafted desserts and flavors that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. While we enjoy thinking up new flavors and ingredients, we also dedicate ourselves to supporting our community and local businesses. We work incredibly hard to create delicious, new frozen treats by partnering with local farmers and producers. Whether it’s our bold espresso from Dogwood Coffee or our chocolate from downtown Chicago, we promise to offer the best, the freshest, and the most creative local flavors around.  Stop on by and let us serve you some truly outstanding frozen custard.


As a small “Mom and Pop Shop”, we strive to treat our employees and customers with the utmost respect. We are committed to having a safe workplace for our energetic and diverse staff. Our custard is made fresh daily, our bars hand-dipped, and pints packed to perfection. We stand behind our high-quality product and won’t settle for anything less! We are out to prove that with enough hard work, local businesses can team up to create something truly special – while supporting the community they belong to at the same time.

Our employees are a tight knit group that work hard together to give our customers a superior product and experience.  We believe that fostering a positive work community is the key to happy employees and customers.


Julie Ann’s offers our dedicated scoopers, custard chefs, and marketing team flexible hours, employee discounts, and a great first job opportunity.


Many of our employees come to Julie Ann’s because they share our attention to detail, our curiosity for that next amazing flavor, and a love for creamy frozen custard. We want people to have an awesome experience when they visit our shops, and for that we need smart, hard-working, friendly people behind the counter.

Our unique story, set in the Chicago suburbs, begins in the 80’s with John, our fearless leader, and his wife, Mary. They opened a quaint frozen custard shop and named it after their first grandchild, Julie. Back then, Crystal Lake was a quieter place filled with summer homes, sailboats…and an abundance of cornfields. People moved here to settle down and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, as the northwest train line came right through the heart of town.


John and Mary, in their 60’s at the time, were very much “old-school”. They manned the shop 24/7, sleeping on cots in the back and making amazingly original custard everyday, years before “artisanal” and “local” were the trend.


Throughout the years, the kids came and went, as did the fads (tight-rolling jeans, big hair, Umbros, V-Neck Pullovers from the Gap, and so on). As our shop became busier and busier, John was ready to go fishing and passed on the torch to his son-in-law, Pete, and daughters, Mary and Linda. Together we had a great run and partied like it was 1999! The music we blasted (you remember the tunes… Dead, Smashing Pumpkins, and Wilco) was as varied as the flavors we churned out daily. Throughout summer romances, mind-blowing rushes, and hot festival nights, you, our customers, kept our spirits high.


Fast-forward to today and things have changed as much as they have remained the same. John is now 92 and together at our new location (where the old record shop, Disc-Go-Round used to be), we are making the same original custard, with a few twists thrown in.


Since moving into our new space, we’ve been trying crazy new flavors and have had some real hits (and flops).  From Black Licorice to Puppy Chow, Sriracha to Blackberry Basil, Fireball Whiskey to Maple Orange Manhattan, and Sprecher Soda Floats to Donut Custard Sandwiches, we work hard to give our old fashioned frozen custard a modern edge.


Our fabulous customers have helped us improve our flavors and specialty sundaes bit-by-bit, year-by-year, to what we have today. We love being a part of your weddings, parties, first dates, long summer nights, short winter days, and reunions. We strive to honor the past while embodying the present, local Chicago suburb spirit in our flavors and, ultimately, to find the soul in our custard.  Come by, say “hi”, and join us for a very unique, yet quintessential Chicago, hand-crafted custard experience.

Our Mom & Pop Frozen Custard Shop is surrounded by an incredible community of people: families, neighborhood businesses, teachers, students, and humanitarians. We have always loved our hometown of Crystal Lake and will never stop working to help it thrive.


Throughout Crystal Lake and the surrounding townships, we donate ice cream and funds to local public schools and organizations that want to make a difference. Every month we offer fundraising days where we give 10% of our daily revenue to help fund local teams, church groups, animal shelters, and medical research. We also strive to make business decisions that benefit our community. Every year, we purchase locally grown apples, freshly baked pies, sheets of brownies, hundreds of donuts, and countless other ingredients to make a wide variety of seasonal treats.