PEORIA — For the past 25 years, The Spotted Cow has made and served over 1,000 different flavors of ice cream to its customers.
The popular restaurant, 718 W. Glen Ave., Peoria, recently opened a viewing room where customers can watch ice cream being made.
“We converted part of the deck area, which is an outdoor seating area,” said The Spotted Cow Owner Frank Abdnour. “I took half of it and enclosed it. Now its glass and windows, and now you can watch ice cream being made. It’s a nice room with two big windows, a big door and a lot of glass.”
According to Abdnour, many of his customers were curious about how the ice cream served at The Spotted Cow was made.
“Everyone was real curious — do you really make your own ice cream?” said Abdnour. “And now they get to watch. It’s kind of like beer brewing — people find that very interesting.”
The Spotted Cow also has an open kitchen that allows people to watch their food being made.
“We have an open kitchen, so people can kind of watch their food being made,” said Abdnour. “But it’s not as open as the ice cream viewing area.”
The open kitchen and ice cream viewing room help The Spotted Cow compete with chain restaurants, said Abdnour.
“It’s a good draw and one of the ways we can compete with some of the bigger chain operations,” said Abdnour. “They don’t make anything at those chain restaurants. Generally everything is just brought in and we give them the value of knowing how fresh everything being made is at our restaurant.”
During the winter season, The Spotted Cow makes ice cream at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Although customers will only be able to watch The Spotted Cow ice cream being made two days a week during the winter, they will have the opportunity to watch the ice cream being made nearly every day in the summer.
“We usually make ice cream about every day in the summer,” said Abdnour.
Abdnour has been making and selling ice cream at The Spotted Cow since 1987. Because of federal regulations, Abdnour recently stopped making the milk and cream base that is used for the ice cream, at his store.
“I did an upgrade on my ice cream making machine, but I no longer make my raw base mix,” said Abdnour. “We farm that now. I have a company up in Yorkville that does that for me.”
The restaurant currently offers 32 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. Abdnour periodically creates new flavors of ice cream. He recently created a blue-and-gold concoction to commemorate the basketball competition between the University of Michigan and Bradley University that was held Dec. 1 at Carver Area in Peoria.
“The Bielfeldts are good customers of mine and their son, Max, is on the Michigan team, so we thought it would be fun to treat the teams to some special ice cream,” said Abdnour. “The ESPN announcers even talked about it before the game.”
To learn more about The Spotted Cow, visit www.thespottedcow.net.