Custard Corner first caught our eye as a participant of Yelp's “Ice Cream Adventure” to benefit Mercy Flight.
How did this hot dog/ice cream stand elude us? Being nosy, we had to investigate.
Set on the corner of Porter Avenue and 7th Street (which crosses over Porter to become Columbus Parkway), the stand is darling, and super clean. Someone really takes pride in keeping things looking good with lots of garbage cans, clean picnic tables, chairs and lovely potted plants.
Metal fencing around the table area has a cute ice cream cone detail. (We want this for our garden fence.)
Items from the grill are the basics. Hot dogs are Sahlens ($4.29 footlong, $2.95 regular). Quarter-pound burgers ($3.89) can come with cheese ($4.59) or as a bacon cheeseburger ($5.59). Other options are veggie burger or chicken breast sandwich ($5.29) and Italian and Polish sausage with kraut ($4.59).
There are fried items from French fries ($2.99), onion rings ($3.25) and mozzarella sticks or pizza logs ($6.50) to chicken fingers ($8.29). Salads include a small side salad ($2.99), garden chicken ($7.29) or chicken finger ($7.69).
Look at the posted signs for combo meals like hot dog, fries and 24-ounce drink ($6.70). A burger ($8.34) and haddock sandwich ($8.94) also come with fries and a drink.
We ordered a hot dog combo (because we are in hot dog season) and then ventured into sandwich board sign territory: the intriguing “Two pastelillos with a medium drink $6.89" and “Try Our Delicious Roast Beef” ($5.99).
The charbroiled dog came dressed as ordered with ketchup, mustard and pickle. (We like this, versus a messy condiment station.) Our combo could have used a few more rings, and a little salt on them, but they were hot and fresh.
The roast beef with cheddar was interesting. The meat was a good quality deli, topped with melted cheese and gravy. We should have gotten gravy on the side (as offered), because it was a messy sandwich. Nonetheless it was tasty, if a little hard to eat. Other hot sandwiches choices include fried bologna and onions ($5.59) and pulled pork ($5.99).
The pastelillos were the star of the show. For those who aren't familiar, the Puerto Rican dish is a deep-fried meat (or meat and cheese) turnover type item. We had one of each: ground beef and ground beef with cheese. After one bite, we thought “these would be awesome for a party.”
We are guessing they were homemade. The perfectly seasoned beef filling was enclosed by light flaky dough that was crisp. Served hot from the fryer, use caution when biting. It truly was an unexpected treat.
A young scooter-riding lad simultaneously licking a heavily sprinkled cone reminded us we needed to have ice cream. Custard Corner serves soft custard and 21 flavors of Perry’s Ice Cream along with all the usual sundaes, shakes, etc.
We are boring, so it was our usual hot fudge sundae ($4.75). The whipped cream and nuts cost us $1.50 extra (we thought this a little steep). Nevertheless, the custard was super creamy and rich.
Afterward, we took a lazy drive through nearby LaSalle Park to see the water and watch kids playing soccer and others defying death at the skateboard area.
Custard Corner just gave us one more reason to savor the fleeting summer season.
Custard Corner & Grill
211 Porter Ave., 881-9936)
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 pm.
Price range: $2.99-$7.69; kids’ meal hot dog or burger $3.99.
Gluten-free options: No gluten-free menu.
Story topics: Cheap Eats