Way down East Carson Street, past the South Side Flats, there’s a little roadside ice cream shop that always seems to be packed. Day or night, a line curls around the parking area, edging up against traffic. The name of this literal beacon of light in the middle of nowhere?
The Page Dairy Mart.
We’d come by this place before, seen the line, and split — but on one sultry summer’s night, we were so hungry for some great soft-serve that we didn’t care how long we’d have to wait. So into the line we climbed.
In a way, the long line turned out to be a blessing, because it gave us plenty of time to weigh the many ice cream options. Would we go for a towering swirl in a cone? Or would we opt for one of Page’s signature sundaes, such as that crazy-delicious-looking Yinzer?
Well, if you’ve read any of our other food chronicles, you’ve probably already guessed: we chose not to choose and went in both directions.
I opted for simplicity and got a vanilla soft-serve in a cake cone. And upon my first taste, I realized that this stuff was worth every second of that line wait. It was perhaps the best soft-serve I’ve ever had, perfectly creamy and fresh, while being surprisingly resilient in the humidity. And even if it had begun to melt faster than I could eat, you’ll notice that the cone came with a little plastic sheath to catch drippings and keep my hand clean. A nifty idea — though, of course, it proved unnecessary.
Fox, on the other hand, went royal-court-fancy and ordered the hot fudge chocolate chip cookie sundae. Decadent doesn’t even begin to capture its magnificence. The base was a moist and tender cookie from Nancy B’s in West Homestead, topped with that delicious above-mentioned vanilla ice cream, plus fluffy whipped cream and super-thick, sticky hot fudge. In hindsight, we probably could have skipped dinner and gone straight for the sundae. It was astonishingly good.
So the next time you’re driving down East Carson, in the largely desolate stretch around Hays, look for the line and make a stop. Any time between 11am and 10pm, the Page Dairy Mart would be happy to have you as a guest.