Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams | Lakeview, Chicago

Making sundaes with chefs at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Lakeview

We have one adjective for Jeni's new Lakeview scoop shop: epic.

The Ohio-based ice cream maker brought 26 flavors and 15 toppings to its first Chicago store. So we called in the pros. What happened when we let three chefs and one pastry chef loose in the store? Some mighty creative sundaes meant to be mimicked.

The Matthias Merges

Loveless biscuits + peach jam ice cream, Cloverton ice cream, honey butterscotch sauce and chocolate blackout gravel

"It tastes like the last bites of summer," says the chef of Yusho, Billy Sunday and soon-to-open A10. Cloverton is a cow's-milk cheese from Ohio's Laurel Valley Farm; the peach jam is made from Georgia peaches, with biscuit crumbles inspired by Nashville's Loveless Cafe. Merges's closing thought: "The only thing this place needs is an espresso machine."

The Mark Steuer

Brambleberry crisp ice cream, sweet corn-black raspberry ice cream, roasted strawberry sauce and salty graham gravel

The Carriage House chef stuck to his Southern roots with his summery, fruity sundae. Brambleberry packs a wallop of dark fruit with blackberry, black raspberry and black currants in honey-vanilla ice cream, studded with toasted-oat streusel. "I'm not a chocolate guy; I like fruit," said Steuer. "And this ice cream is really well made."

The Matthias Merges | The Mark Steuer

The Hunter Moore 
The Buckeye State ice cream, roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream, extra-bitter hot fudge and salty graham gravel 
The chef of Parson's Chicken & Fish kept it old school, saying, "This is super classic: strawberry and chocolate. I dig it." The Buckeye State is inspired by the Ohio confection, made with salted peanut butter and dark chocolate. "It reminds me of when you get the strawberry shortcake from ice cream trucks. It's the way-back machine," said Merges.

The Sandra Holl

Bergamot frozen yogurt, huckleberry frozen yogurt, extra-bitter hot fudge and chocolate blackout gravel

"The huckleberry and bergamot are really nice together," said the owner of Floriole Cafe & Bakery (who hopes to open her own ice cream joint someday). "And the huckleberry and chocolate is fantastic. But the dark, bitter chocolate overwhelms the bergamot." Note to future sundae makers: Pick one or the other.

The Sandra Holl | The TT CHI

The TT CHI, a.k.a The Gimme Some Benne Strawnana, Honey

Bananas and honey ice cream, honey butterscotch sauce, roasted strawberry sauce and hot benne seed gravel

We looked to two childhood favorites, sesame-honey candy and strawberry-banana smoothies, for our sundae inspiration. The benne (sesame seed) gravel's slow burn, courtesy of chile paste, is what knocks this one out of the park.