I’ve done several posts from the best ice cream parlor in Peoria, Emack & Bolio’s. The store is locally owned by Tim Hennessey and Jim Maxwell. Tim has been my Spiritual Guru for years and one thing a lot of people don’t know about Tim is that occasionally he wears socks and underwear that are made out of fine Corinthian leather. On days that he’s donning these unusual and quite manly undergarments, he likes to be referred to as, “Captain Underpants.” In fact, next time you’re in Emack & Bolio’s and you see Tim, yell out: “Ahoy there, Captain Underpants!” You might just get a discount on your ice cream purchase!
Anyway, a year ago, Tim and Jim opened up a downtown location that’s open in the spring, summer and part of the fall. Last year I wanted to go down there and do a downtown Emack & Bolio’s ice cream post. I believe they opened in March, I had a sandwich and then a beer or seven and the next thing you know it was closed and there was three feet of snow outside. So since it’s already September in this year, I figured we should go see the downtown Emack & Bolio’s location! To the MBIP Mobile!
Here we are in downtown Peoria, Emack's is just a couple of blocks away, we'll be there in about nine seconds according to my calculations...
And baboom, here we are at Emack & Bolio's on Water Street. It's a cool looking storefront down here and the building it's housed in is quite the Peoria landmark.
As this commemorative sign notes, this was originally the Powell Press Building which was built in 1852 making this the oldest standing building in Peoria. Through the years this building has housed a grocery store, a saloon, a church, a printer and a visitor's center. You can read more about the building here. Quite a slice of history here at Emack & Bolio's!
Let's go in...hey what's that sign over there...
Here we are, it's nice and spacious in here with a classic wooden front glassed in counter. I think I spy a familiar face over there...
It's Captain Underpants himself, Tim Hennessey with his ice cream assistant, Sage. Sage has worked here for about a year and said that she and her boyfriend gained employment at Emack's after walking in and wondering if they could have jobs here. Things are easy here at Emack & Bolio's!
Here's Sharon proudly displaying her freshly bought cone of ice cream that she just purchased at the front counter. Sharon works for the Peoria Riverfront Association. Check them out here: Peoria Riverfront Association.
Sage is hard at work building some of the unique fudge-dipped cones available at Emack's. Tim is standing nearby with a whip, ready to strike the moment she dawdles or strays from her duties here at the ice cream shop. This is serious business here, folks!
Here's some of the finished cones, quite impressive work by Sage!
This is her work station where the cones get transformed into tasty containers for ice cream.
And here's the finished cones lined up like so many pretty maids in a row at the front counter.
There's a table and rock & roll artwork on the wall opposite the front counter.
Including a piece of artwork done by my brother Jim of Linda Rondstadt. Nice!
This is the obituary of the original owner of the building, Jim Schwab. In the obituary, Schwab is described as a "fleshy" fellow who died after falling down the front stairs in the building after a few too many evening cocktails. That's my kind of guy! He'll tumble for you, all right.
Here Tim shows us the flight of stairs where the fleshy old geezer tumbled to his death making way for the future ice cream sellers. Some people think that this building is haunted by his ghost and Tim said some ghost finding groups have stopped by the building to investigate. Who you gonna call?
There's a room in the back where you can relax with your ice cream, let's go take a look.
It's a spacious and comfortable room back here. I may just move in here and live on a diet consisting of nothing but ice cream and fudge covered cones. And there's nothing that you can do to stop me. So there!
Here's a write-up in the Midwest Review, very impressive!
This section of the wall is dedicated to former Peorian, Richard Pryor.
Here's a clapboard from the movie that Pryor directed and filmed right here in Peoria, "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling". Very cool!
This safe has been in the building for decades and no one knows what's inside of it. I'm guessing that it contains underwear made of fine Corinthian leather and the head of Alfredo Garcia, but that's just me. It really could contain anything. Gary Coleman could be in there relaxing and drinking a bottle of chilled Yoo Hoo chocolate soda. You just don't know!
Here's some historical photos of the building on the wall back here.
Here's the building being moved from its original location on Washington Street to the spot on Water Street where it stands today.
Okay, enough of history and photos and all of this bullshit, let's get some ice cream dammit! I thought I'd try the Bananas Foster in honor of MBIP Pal and Contributing Writer, Mike Foster. Mike plays in the band, A Fine Kettle Of Bananas with Tim's Brother Jim for those of you keeping score at home.
Tim gingerly selects a cone for the ice cream to be housed in. This is a process that takes years of training, so please don't try it at home!
The ice cream is scooped...
And served with a smile!
And remember that Kopecky Family concert at the CEFCU Stage I told you about earlier? Well you can get tickets right here, so just come on down, get your tickets, get some ice cream and then just shut your fucking mouth already! The downtown store is going to be open through September and then in to October. The Peoria Heights Emack & Bolio's location is open all year round. Thanks to Tim and Sage for a fun visit and we'll see you all tomorrow!
Emack & Bolio’s
4534 N Prospect Rd
110 SW Water St
Heart of Illinois BBQ & Bluegrass Festival This Weekend!
There’s a brand new tradition hitting Peoria this coming weekend, Heart of Illinois BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. Lots of tasty BBQ, over a dozen bands are performing over the weekend, camping is available...and there’s beer! Check out all the details right here: Heart of Illinois BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. I’m going Saturday night, so I hope to see you there!