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About Us

A Charlottesville Staple

Chaps has been serving homemade gourmet ice cream to the Charlottesville community for over 35 years. Tony Labua first opened Chaps on the Downtown Mall in 1985, producing ice cream onsite based on recipes from his Grandpa Vaglio.

Tony built every detail of the store himself, down to the tiling. Having grown up in the 50s, Tony’s vision for Chaps was to replicate the cheerful feel of the luncheonettes and soda parlors of that time period. Decked out with Coca-Cola memorabilia, a waffle cone shelf resembling a giant jukebox, and other 50s decor, Chaps will transport you back in time!

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Tony Labua's Grandpa Vaglio

Store front

The Chaps Name

People often ask where the name “Chaps” originally came from. When first trying to brainstorm a store name, Tony and his business partners poured over hundreds of ideas, searching for a name that would have longevity. As often happens, the perfect name occurred to one of them in the middle of the night. As they saw it, the name “Chaps” had widespread appeal and conjured an image of a place where you could enjoy yourself with your pals. The name stuck, and continues to convey that Chaps is a place for making happy memories with friends and family.

Chaps Today

After running Chaps for over 35 years, Tony decided it was time to downshift, and in 2022, he passed Chaps on to new ownership. Chaps continues to produce our ice cream onsite using the original recipes from Grandpa Vaglio. Tony often stops by to provide advice, but even if he isn’t behind the counter, Chaps retains the sense of history and community that he fostered over the years. Whether it’s your first visit to Chaps or you remember the good ‘ol days from 30 years ago, stop on in for a taste of a local Charlottesville institution! Also check out our second location: opened in 2024 on the UVA Corner.

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Meet The Team

Employee outside the store
Store front counter
Smiling employees

The heart and soul of Chaps Ice Cream is our hardworking, vibrant team!

From Granny's warm laughter to the "Welcome to Chaps!" you're guaranteed to hear when you walk through our doors, every team member is dedicated to ensuring you have a great experience at Chaps!

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