Specialty Ice Types for Chicago Businesses

Reading Time: 4 minutes Ice Machines 101

Specialty Ice

A traditional square cube is what most people envision when they think about ice. However, ice comes in many shapes and sizes because businesses use ice beyond just drinks. Specialty ice helps Chicago hospitals, markets, restaurants, and bars operate.

Let’s look at some specialty ice types and the many ice machine models that produce them.

Nugget/Cubelet Specialty Ice

This type of ice cube has many names like cubelet ice, chewblet ice, or pellet ice. Nugget ice is soft and chewable because it was originally designed for hospitals.

Healthcare clinics use nugget ice to help hydrate patients who have a hard time swallowing liquid. Instead of serving them a glass of water, patients chew on these ice cubes throughout the day. Nugget ice has the texture of a snowball and is easy on patients’ teeth.

Nugget ice is also used in Chicago physical therapy clinics. Since nugget ice is soft and moldable, it provides a better cooling area when applied to injuries. Since its soft, it makes it much easier to treat difficult to reach areas, like knees and elbows.

Nugget ice is also soft enough that it won’t rip through plastic bags and leak water over patients. This is a problem for solidly frozen ice, like crescent ice, which can melt into sharp points that can cut holes into plastic bags.

Specialty bars and restaurants also use small nugget ice makers for certain drinks. Since nugget ice is porous, it absorbs the flavor sugary drinks. After Chicago customers are finished with their drinks, they are left with a sweet, icy treat.

Find the Perfect Ice Machine for Your Bar or Restaurant

We have a wide range of specialty ice cube makers available in our all-inclusive ice machine subscription program.

Flake Specialty Ice

Flake ice is designed with food displays in mind, but other non-food industries use it as well.

Flake ice machines produce ice that is light and airy, like fallen snow. It’s used in food displays because it can stick together to create a variety of shapes. Chicago seafood restaurants, fish markets, and produce shops can display their products while keeping them cold. Flake ice is also great for beer tubs where you need to keep bottles and cans in place.

Recently, oyster bars have been choosing flake ice over chilled rock salt. Just like rock salt, flake ice keeps shellfish in place on a plate. With flake ice, the oysters stay at a safe temperature. Best yet, flake ice is cheaper than buying bag-after-bag of rock salt.

Just as with nugget ice, Chicago physical therapy clinics use flake ice to treat injuries. The texture of flake ice provides the best possible cooling surface for difficult-to-reach areas.

Sphere Specialty Ice

Quality cocktail bars are always looking for new ways to elevate their drink menu. Aside from using the best ingredients to create dazzling cocktails, ice is becoming another way from creative bartenders to make a statement.

Sphere ice is becoming popular because it looks great in drinks and fits most any glass. These cubes are larger than other ice cubes, they won’t water down drinks.
Hoshizaki’s upcoming sphere ice machine delivers 50 lbs. of perfectly round sphere ice a day.

Square Specialty Ice

Since most high volume ice machines make either crescent ice or rhomboid-shaped cubes, the traditional square ice cube has become a specialty ice type for many high-end cocktail and whiskey bars.

These are large square ice cubes that keep quality cocktails and top-shelf spirits cold without watering them down, which can dull their flavor.

For more information on ice machines for bars and restaurants, check out our Restaurant and Bar Ice Machine Guide.

Specialty Ice Machines are Here for All Your Business Needs

If you run a Chicago business that’s looking for a specialty ice type, we have a large selection of Hoshizaki and Manitowoc ice machines. Both manufacturers make some of the best commercial ice machines on the market.

Our all-inclusive ice maker leases come with top-of-the-line flake, nugget, or square ice makers. We also include cleaning, maintenance, and repairs, all for a low, monthly cost.

If you’re for the perfect specialty ice machine for your business, contact us and one of our helpful Ice Machine Experts will point you in the right direction.

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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