Photo by Dermot Connolly
Customers lined up all weekend outside Cupid Candies, 4709 W. 95th St., in Oak Lawn, looking for their last ice cream or candy treat before it closed Sunday after 64 years at the same location. Many people also recalled family trips to get ice cream from the business owned by John Stefanos and founded by his father, Paul in 1936, when it was located at 3143 W. 63rd St., beside the Marquette Theater in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
By Dermot Connolly
People were lining up all weekend to get their last chocolate malt, box of candy, or caramel apple at the Cupid Candies store at 4709 W. 95 th St. in Oak Lawn, which closed on Sunday after 64 years.
Cupid Candies, a family-owned business founded in 1936 by Polyhronis “Paul” Stefanos in Chicago in 1936 had been run by his son, John, for many years. He sold the business in June to Stephanie Hart, allowing her to expand her popular Brown Sugar Bakery based at 328 E. 75 th St. in Chicago.
Brown Sugar Bakery, known for cakes and pastries, has locations at Navy Pier and elsewhere in Chicago. Hart plans to move her baking operation to the Cupid Candies factory at 7637 S. Western Ave. in Chicago, where Turks and other popular Cupid Candies chocolates will continue to also be made.
The Cupid Candies location at 9420 W. 143 rd St. in Orland Park will remain open, where it has been since 1973. The chocolates will also be available for purchase online.
But Janice Price, of Oak Lawn, finished her last shift in Oak Lawn about 5 p.m. Sunday, closing the door on 23 years of work at the popular ice cream and candy shop.
“ There are more people here than on Valentine’s Day,” she said, looking back at the long lines. “I wish it had been like this all the time.”
“ The people,” she quickly said, when asked what she will miss the most. “It’s going to be hard not coming here. John (Stefanos) was great to work with as a boss and I met a lot of really nice people. I get a kick out of it when they recognize me when I am out at different places.”
“ We just stocked up on chocolate malts,” said Eileen Wierzgac, of Alsip, as she and her husband, Doug, held up their bags of ice cream treats.
“ We grew up in Oak Lawn, and have been coming here our whole lives,” said Doug.
The seemingly never-ending line outside split into two inside the store, with half going to the old-fashioned soda counter to get shakes, malts and sundaes, while the others went to the candy counter or the cooler to pick up already packed ice cream.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday, an employee came out to announce to the waiting customers that “we’re all out of vanilla ice cream. We have a little chocolate left.” They also ran out of boxes of candy on Sunday afternoon, and were running low on caramel apples with nuts — leaving customers who waited too long to pick from the loose chocolates rapidly disappearing from behind the counter.
A few disappointed people got out of line upon hearing that news. But Chris Butler and his daughter, Nora, of Evergreen Park, who had their hearts set on sundaes, decided to stay and pick up some already packed ice cream to make their own desserts at home.
“ We’ll definitely miss it. We’ve been coming here for a long time,” said Margaret Glowacki, who came on Saturday night with her husband, Dennis.
“ It’s another of those neighborhood businesses that have gone by the wayside,” said the Oak Lawn resident, listing Veli’s Koffee Kup, Entenmann’s Bakery and Freshline Foods among those she misses most.
Dennis Glowacki grew up in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood, and the couple first started going to Cupid Candies when it was located at 3143 W. 63rd St., beside the Marquette Theater in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, where Margaret lived. But they said that after that closed, even driving from Brighton Park to Oak Lawn was worth the trip to get their favorite ice cream.
Longtime Oak Lawn resident Mary Lou Harker also stood in line on Saturday night for a last chocolate shake, and some caramel apples. Her husband, Elmore, was the village fire chief for many years.
“My husband and I used to come here for candied apples all the time. I think their ice cream is the best around too,” she said. “They focus on the quality of the cream more than the different flavors (other places have).”