4 ice cream shops opening for spring

"Snow ice" from Cloud 9.

"Snow ice" from Cloud 9. Photograph: Erica Gannett

Look outside. It's ice cream weather.

No, really—it's ice cream weather. At least, if you're a seasonal ice cream shop it is. Early March marks the time when seasonal ice cream spots open their doors and start making sundaes. Shops such as:

[node:149597 link=Capannari Ice Cream;]
Opens March 12
This premium ice cream shop kicks off its 10th season on March 12 by offering 25 percent off banana splits when you bring in your own banana. In addition to sundaes, Capannari offers more than 20 flavors of ice cream, with hard-to-find flavors such as Irish cream, ginger and pineapple rotating in and out of the freezers throughout the year. It also shakes things up with seasonal flavors such as sweet potato pie, eggnog and blue cheese with pear compote. 10 S Pine, Mt. Prospect (847-392-2277). Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat 1pm-10pm, Sun 1pm-9pm. Note: Open only on weekends until April 4.

[node:150383 link=Cloud 9;]
Opened March 1
This shaved-ice spot is like a Taiwanese Pinkberry. First, select a base of vanilla, mango or strawberry: Each flavor is subtle (vanilla tastes more like sweet milk), so you might want to also choose a drizzle of pureed fresh fruit such as strawberry or blueberry, then top the concoction off with chopped kiwi or mango. The result is a paper bowl overflowing with a shaved ice–ice cream hybrid (dubbed xue-hua-bing). In an industry overflowing with fro-yo and dense gelato, it pays to do something different. 604 W Belmont Ave (773-857-1255). Currently operating with "winter" hours: Sun noon-9pm, Mon-Thu 1pm-9pm, Fri 1pm-10pm, Sat noon-10pm (closed Tue).

[node:148807 link=Original Rainbow Cone;]
Opens today, March 4
For 85 years, the awning-covered picnic tables of this Far South Side ice-cream shop have been packed with locals feeding their sweet tooth. The signature five-flavor Rainbow Cone features scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio and orange sherbet stacked one on top of the other for an unbeatable classic. 9233 S Western Ave (773-238-7075). March hours: Wed, Thu 12pm-7pm; Fri, Sat 12pm-8pm; Sun 12pm-7pm (closed Mon, Tue).

[node:136755 link=Scooter’s Frozen Custard;]
Opens today, March 4
Walk into Scooter’s and disregard the hot dogs, Italian ice and anything else that doesn’t contain the words "frozen" and "custard." Order a Boston shake, and quiver in awe as the towering milkshake topped with hot fudge and whipped cream is handed over. As you taste how dense, thick, buttery and rich the custard is, you’ll soon be on your way to a full stomach and an ice-cream headache. And it’ll be worth it. 1658 W Belmont Ave (773-244-6415). Tue-Fri 2pm-10pm, Sat 1pm-10pm, Sun 1pm-9pm (closed Mon).

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)