The Igloo Ice Cream Shop Whips Up Cool Creations

Photographer / Jubilee Edgell

The IglooMarilyn McDonald, owner of The Igloo Ice Cream Shop in Silver Lake, knows ice cream. Running an ice cream shop has been somewhat of a family business. Before she opened her shop in 2015 with her stepfather, McDonald learned that his parents owned the original Igloo Ice Cream Shop from 1959 to 1979. Reopening the shop with the same name sparked memories for people all across the area.

When we first opened and were advertising with the story about my step-grandparents, people remembered going there with their grandparents for a treat on Sunday afternoons,” McDonald says.

Her grandparents are living on through her business today: the Eskimo in the shops logo is named Toby, after her grandfather. McDonald says that his sweet personality seemed to be the perfect name for such a sweet character.

That memory is something that McDonald and her team want to bring back for past visitors, and it is a memory they want to create for the younger generations. Serving kids is one of McDonalds favorite parts of her job. Her other favorite part is creating new, cool creations, menu items, specials and more.

I like the innovative part of it, creating something new. Every year I try to come up with something new; I try to do something new to [our menu],” McDonald says.

This year is no exception. The Igloo will now be offering a variety of smoothies, frosted coffees, and bubble tea, in addition to all of its regular menu items. Its tried-and-true super-premium ice cream will be back, waiting to be made into brand new flavor combinations. 

Super-premium ice cream is considered to be the highest quality ice cream. It is popular because it has very low air content. The less air in the ice cream, the creamier, smoother and heavier it becomes. McDonald is proud to get her super-premium ice cream out of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in Madison, Wis.

Beyond the traditional super-premium hand-dipped ice cream, there is also a selection of soft-serve ice cream. The Igloo offers vanilla, twist and lemon ice cream. The lemon flavor is a rare find, and it has become quite popular. The toppings are even more numerous than the 32 ice cream flavors. The Igloo offers all sorts of fruit, nuts, candy and more. You can get your ice cream in a waffle cone, a sugar cone, a wafer cone or a dish.

The IglooTheres sure to be something that satisfies your sweet tooth. From a lemon blueberry crunch sundae to an apple pie sundae to a strawberry shortcake sundae, complete with a Twinkie, any dessert lover will find something to try. One of their newer, more popular items is the banana pudding avalanche. It comes with banana, vanilla wafer cookies and whipped cream.

Between the creative ice cream concoctions and the family-friendly atmosphere, The Igloo Ice Cream Shop has served as a beacon of light in Silver Lake.

It was a town that was dying. We put a great subway in on the corner, and thats what let me do it right,” McDonald says. So we put the ice cream shop in, and people come in and drive half an hour to 45 minutes to come get ice cream. Its a destination spot. You can really see some growth in our town.”

She credits the growth of the shop to their community involvement. They do collaborative fundraisers with many local schools and groups. 

We have an ice cream cart that we pre-dip half pints. We take them to events, and then high school groups or social groups make a portion, and we make a portion,” she explains. People try our ice cream and they realize were different. That way, were giving back to the schools, too, and its a goodwill tool.”

Their fundraisers are about more than money, though. Its about bringing people together, McDonald says. That is their main goal in everything they do. They look to serve people right down to their decorations. This year, they plan on having a Toby the Eskimo cutout for people to take pictures with. Her stepfather made ice cream cone decorations for the outside. 

I think [the shop has] created a sense of community,” McDonald says. Thats been the biggest benefit I didnt realize was going to happen.”

The Igloo Ice Cream Shop is located at 108 W Main Street in Silver Lake. The shop is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. They are planning to be open all summer, through mid-October. You can also call ahead to order your ice cream and pick it up. For more information, give them a call at  260-352-0999 or visit them online at

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