Van’s Frozen Custard and Burgers began as a vision of owner Chad Van Acker after visiting the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Vermont on a family vacation when he was in 7th grade. Upon graduation from Tulane University with a degree in marketing, Chad decided to launch Van’s as his primary entrepreneurial venture. In 2007, with the assistance of his mother, Nancy, and father, Rick, Van’s opened in its original location on Huntley Road in Carpentersville. In 2012, Van’s moved to its present location at 16 E. Main Street, East Dundee, IL. The business continues to be operated by Chad and his family who look forward to serving families in the Fox Valley for generations to come.
Van’s Frozen Custard and Burgers is located at 16 E. Main Street (Route 72) along the Fox River Bike Trail in the historic Village of East Dundee, Illinois. On the site of one of the old hotels serving East Dundee during the era of the railroads, the existing structure was originally built in 1927 by Harold Haertel as a Firestone Store and Standard Oil Gas Station. Harold owned and operated Walter Haertel & Company Memorials, a monument company in East Dundee and built the station to be operated by his sons Walter and Harold, Jr. The building is constructed of stone and brick (from the nearby Haeger Brick kilns -now Haeger Pottery) and has a number of marble and granite features as the result of using accents manufactured at the monument company. It continued to function as a gas station until 1966, although it changed affiliations – becoming a DX and ultimately a SUNOCO oil station. The building became a liquor store and then a pet store (Pets and Pots). In the 1970’s, the building was transformed into Café de Louvre, a restaurant serving fine French cuisine. Retaining life as a restaurant, the building went through a number of different operators (Cha, Cha, Cha’s Mexican Restaurant, Puerto Caribe [Puerto Rican cuisine], and Fernando’s Steak and Seafood).
In 2012, the building was purchased by the Van Acker family and was totally renovated – with an eye to retaining the original character of the 1927 filling station. The renovation was completed using contractors and suppliers from the East Dundee area. During the renovation it was discovered that the piston used to lift cars in the original single bay is still located under the existing floor. When cutting the concrete for the new plumbing, a car chassis was found buried in the southwest corner of the building. The Van Acker family stopped looking after that – out of fear that they might find Jimmy Hoffa. The building hosts a written and pictorial history of the building as well as a history of ice cream.
We welcome anyone with further information or photographs of the building to contact us. We would love to feature additional content in our history of the building.