When it hits 70 degrees in March in Chicago, like it did yesterday, the whole city comes out. When it happens during the week of ISAT testing in the public schools, even better. Kids can play outside for hours with impunity because teachers don’t assign homework during high-stakes testing. After school, my girls and I took the dog on a walk together, and the neighborhood was filled with that warm-weather energy. I saw a mom friend of mine sitting on her front steps adjusting her son’s bike helmet—kids were getting their gear out!
I was thinking it would be a great day to get an ice cream cone.
One of the first people we met upon buying our house 14 years ago was the 8-year-old daughter of our next-door neighbors. We asked her if there were any good places to eat close by.
“Toots!” she shouted down to us from her perch high in a tree.
A fast food establishment was not what our DINK sensibility was hunting, but who could resist her salesmanship? We walked on over to try it out.
I always think of that little girl (who is now a woman graduating from college) whenever I think of Toots. Over the years our family has eaten countless Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and milkshakes at this popular out-door establishment, and my daughters have been working their way through its surprising number of flavors of soft-serve ice cream. (The one that turns their mouths a neon blue seems to be the favorite.)
But Toots closed-up shop last October.
I think condos are going in on that corner.