Chaps reveals new design change

For 22 years, Chaps Ice Cream has stood like time's sentry on the Downtown Mall, guarding its adopted 50's motif and familiar facade since owner Tony LaBua opened the shop in 1985. Ah, but change is inevitable, even for Chaps.

As LaBua revealed to the Hook recently, he's planning a makeover for the shop's facade and entrance. In fact, just yesterday LaBua received Board of Architectural Review approval to do exploratory work on the building, which he expects to begin this weekend. He says he'll remove the awning and see what's behind the existing facade, a step the BAR recommended before moving on to a more detailed design review. As you can see (photo left), LaBua has already come up with a preliminary design.

And it's not just the facade that will change, says LaBua. He plans to redesign the entire entrance to include louvered glass doors and a take-out window. He'll also extend the counter inside to the entrance and incorporate the Java Hut's coffee station into the design. Windows in the upper wall will also be installed to let more light in.

LaBua dares not put a timetable on the change, as he expects the various approval processes to take months. But if the notoriously fussy members of the BAR– especially when it comes to approving Downtown Mall facades–like LaBua's design concept, expect to see Chaps' new face by the end of the year.


So long as he doesn't go changing the pistachio ice cream, all will be well on the Downtown Mall, city bureaucrats notwithstanding.

From that photo it's easy to see why Tony was voted "Most Likely to Recede" by his high school class.