I can probably count on one hand the number of times in my life some place or experience has exceeded my expectations. I can now add Van’s Frozen Custard and Burgers to that list.
Housed in a remodeled Standard Oil gas station that dates back to 1927, Van’s is the creation of Tulane graduate Chad Van Acker – inspired he sez, by a visit to the Ben and Jerry’s factory when he was a toddler.
Located on Main Street in the quaint village of East Dundee, steps from the Fox River and across the street from a Dairy Queen, Chad has carved out a niche for himself as well as a popular following by serving fresh and refreshing flavors of custard and sorbet, as well as some pretty outrageous burgers and sandwiches.
My intention was just to stop in for a small cup o’ custard on a hot Chicago summer day, but when I saw some other patrons enjoying the burgers, my priority shifted.
I ordered the bacon/cheddar burger (all burgers come with fresh cut fries), and there is a healthy list of condiments you can add gratis. I went with my usual: mustard, pickle, raw onion.
Here’s an insider’s (me) tip: if you plan on eating the burger, don’t start munching the fries first. They are addictive. Hot, crisp, potato-y, lightly seasoned, amazing fries. Even In N Out would be jealous. Even the fat cats in Oak Brook.
The amply-sized beef patty had a nice char on it from the gas grill, with a very fresh sesame bun, lots of thick cut smokey bacon, and freshly prepared vegetable condiments. I’m glad I stopped with a short-list of add ons, if I had added lettuce and tomato, the burger wouldn’t have fit in my mouth – it’s a massive sandwich.
If you want to know just how good it is, peel off a section of the bun and condiments and take a bite of just the beef. Flavorful and tastes the way beef should taste.
Mr. Van Acker, congrats. Build a dozen or so more. I trust you saw that the 20 Portillo’s just sold for a billion bucks. Yes, with a “B.” But it’s just the kind of success I’d expect from a Tulane grad.
Signed, a proud father of another Tulane grad.
Vans Frozen Custard