Four Corners: Triangle Ice Cream Store
An entire generation of East Peoria grade schoolers stopped in Freds for ice cream after school. The Triangle Ice Cream Store, as it was officially known, was opened in 1946 by Freddie Pfanders and his wife Lucille. It was just referred to as Freds or Velvet Freeze because that was the brand of ice cream Fred served. The kids loved his ice cream but it was Fred’s hot dogs and root beer that attracted the adults. He made his own root beer and his chili dogs were to die for. Triangle Ice Cream was located on 102 Junction St. (U.S. Hwy 150) about half way between Washington and Central Grade Schools. You really had to want to go there because there was no place to park. The establishment was a second vocation for Fred as he was employed in the laboratory of National Distillery; A job that he kept for several years.
Fred was severely beaten in a robbery attempt in September of 1973 and planned to retire but died of a heart attack within the year. His wife Lucille sold the business to Paul Martin, who added it to his Velvet Freeze holdings in the Peoria area. Martin hired Ron Craig, a former McDonald’s manager to operate the East Peoria location and, when Paul Martin retired, Ron Craig purchased all of the Peoria Taste Freezes. The Junction Street location was closed in the late 1990s because of the widening of Route 8 and reopened in Fondulac Shopping Center. Fred’s root beer barrel, though no longer functional was moved to the new location and sat in the corner. Kevin Thomas, Ron Craig’s son-in-law, later took control of the Peoria area Taste Freeze operation and closed the stores on Jan. 26, 2010. Thomas owed money to Ron Terlesky, owner of Winkler Meats (Winkler had supplied meat and made the hot dog sauce for Velvet Freeze). Terlesky assumed rights to the sauce and equipment in Fondulac Shopping Center location and reopened the business as Wonderdog.
The taste of Fred’s hot dogs also lingers in Morton at Susie’s Hot Dogs on West Bradley Street. Owner Susie Perdue had worked for Fred Pfanders for eight years and Ron Craig for an additional four. She left the East Peoria operation in November 1978, but opened her own establishment in Morton on July 8, 1987. She and friend Ruth Crist, who also worked for Fred, are in their 31st year of operation. If you want one of her chili dogs you better want it for lunch because she only serves from eleven to one Monday through Saturday.
Compiled September 2018 by Frank Borror
The East Peoria Historical Society is located at 324-326 Pekin Avenue. It is dedicated to the collection and preservation of local history. If anyone has information or pictures regarding East Peoria they would share please contact Frank Borror at 696-9227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.