Chocolate Moose aims to keep local feeling at new store


The new Chocolate Moose storefront glows bright during the grand reopening Sunday night. Although the 401 S Walnut St. location remains the same, the original stand was torn down in November for a new apartment complex to be built overhead. Lydia Gerike Buy Photos

After waiting almost a year, Bloomington residents were able to walk up to a window and order their favorite ice cream from the Chocolate Moose again. 

“It wasn’t our decision to tear down the old stand, but we’ve been going along with it as best as we can,” General Manager Jordan Davis said. “We’re really happy with the opening so far and hoping for good things to come.”

The iconic ice cream shop celebrated its grand reopening Sept. 24, and more than 100 people waited in line for ice cream and $5 gift certificates the shop was handing out.

Davis said he and his staff had been planning the reopening of the Chocolate Moose since it was demolished in November to make room for a new four-story building.

The famous ice cream stand was torn down from where it stood since 1955. Although it is now inside the new building, the new Chocolate Moose location is almost exactly where the original standalone shop once greeted customers.

Bloomington resident Sadie Minnigan was one of the first people in line for the reopening and waited for more than an hour. She said she was excited for the reopening but does not think it will be as good as the old location.

“I was really upset with the demolition because we liked the aesthetic of the old stand,” Minnigan said. “We used to go at least once a week when it was dark and it was warm and you could sit outside and see the stars. It just seemed like a ritual for a lot of people.”

Minnigan said the Chocolate Moose was a Bloomington landmark that made the community feel close.

“You would wait outside with the same people every time and you knew all the workers,” Minnigan said. “The old place used to be more like a family.”

Although Minnigan said she prefers the old Chocolate Moose, she said she believes that the Chocolate Moose still serves the best ice cream in Bloomington and will still be a Bloomington tradition.

The new location features a walk-up window like the original's, but it also includes an indoor area for people to sit and enjoy their ice cream.

The business has since opened locations in the IMU, two IU dining halls and Nashville, Indiana.

Davis said he believes that a large part of what made the Chocolate Moose iconic was the tradition of standing in line with others but that the new building has the chance to be just as big of a tradition.

It is still something ingrained in IU culture,” Davis said, “You think of IU, you think of the Chocolate Moose. It’s a place that alumni always come back to, but making this place as iconic as the last is something that comes with time."

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