Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Secrets of Sweetness: The Inside Scoop on Uncle Bob’s

Madison Farney

Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream has been a business local in Eureka since 1980. Established by Bob Bally, the shop first opened at the Heart of Illinois fair in July of that year. Their current location in Eureka hand scoops high-quality ice cream from April to November annually

Additionally, the business sells ice cream to other businesses in Central Illinois year-round. With delicious flavors unique to the store, Uncle Bob’s partners with local dairies, bakeries, and suppliers to ensure their product is fresh and homemade.

Katie, a 5-year employee at Uncle Bob’s, plays a key role at the shop. She not only gets to serve customers and work on the day-to-day tasks, but she also takes part in creating the frozen treat. She explained the secret to how their delicious ice cream is made. 

“To make the ice cream we have this huge machine where we pour two bags of milk, which I believe is 7 gallons, and then we add whatever base of ice cream we’re wanting in there,” Katie said.

The shop chooses to stay local in more ways than one. “We get all our milk supplies, like our cream, from Prairie Farms, and a lot of our ingredients from there,” she continued.

The company has standard flavors, which are the more popular choices among customers, along with nut, seasonal, limited-edition, and specialty flavors. 

“Let’s say we are making a cheesecake ice cream; we pour a cheesecake base in, and whatever add-ins are in cheesecake ice cream. For that, we would add graham cracker pieces, or a strawberry or raspberry swirl, all in measured amounts. We will add that as it is coming out of the machine,” Katie said.

A huge perk to visiting this shop is their unique flavors. Employees get to experiment with ingredients to create a one-of-a-kind taste. In the storefront, Uncle Bob’s offers 18 different flavors of ice cream to choose from at a time, with over 30 options in rotation. The flavors change hourly based on what customers order that day.

Katie’s favorite flavor is one she created 2 years ago, originally named Katie’s Cake. The flavor, now known as Birthday Bash, is a peanut butter-based ice cream with brownie pieces, sprinkles, and a fudge swirl.

“Bob and Ben Bally have come up with a lot of flavors over the years, and employees have given their opinion to make a couple more,” Katie said.

One flavor was created after the devastation of the 2013 tornadoes in Washington, Illinois. At the time, some of the proceeds went to help those affected.

Washington Strong, that’s one that Bob came up with himself,” Katie said.

Madison, who has worked at Uncle Bob’s for almost 3 years, mentioned the popularity of their Washington Strong flavor. The flavor comes with pecans, brownie bites, Oreo pieces, cookie dough bites, and a caramel swirl. All the add-ins are mixed together in a vanilla base.

“Washington Strong is super popular when we do events,” Madison said. “If someone has never heard of it, and asks what’s in it, I’ll start listing the ingredients. The typical response is ‘Oh, there’s a lot in there!’ But that’s what they get. It is one of the most popular flavors when we have it, and definitely one of the first flavors to sell out.”

Madison’s favorite part of working there is serving the customers who come inside to visit the shop.

“Obviously I love helping out by making ice cream and seeing the process of everything, but when you see a customer come and they are just so excited to get their ice cream, it is fun. Sometimes you make people’s day just because they have been looking forward to getting their ice cream,” Madison said. 

Newcomers and locals alike come from all over Illinois to get a scoop, or two.

“If they haven’t been there in a while, or if they’re with their friends, I just like seeing people and how excited they get over the ice cream, especially the kids,” Madison said.

Uncle Bob’s ice cream can also be found at the Burgoo. There are several pints of different flavors of freshly sourced ice cream. The local shop can be found at 409 E Center Street in Eureka. 

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About the Contributor
Emily Virgil
Emily Virgil, Staff Contributor
Emily Virgil (Morton, Illinois) is a transfer student from Illinois Central College, majoring in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies at Eureka Collee. In her spare time, she likes to create art. Whether that be through graphic design, canvas painting, or working with clay, Emily feels best being in a headspace for pure creation.