It's been a long wait, but come April 21, it will all be worth it. That's when the new Mitchell's Ice Cream on West 25th Street will open its doors and start slinging scoops of their famous ice cream in the heart of Ohio City.
The highly anticipated opening has been over two years in the making since bothers Mike and Pete Mitchell announced they would plant their flag in the neighborhood to create an ice cream palace and production facility in the building most infamously known as the former home of Moda, which closed in 2006.
"When we first walked into the building it was kinda nasty," explains Mike Mitchell. "There were still drinks on the bar since 2006."
The brothers' vision from the start was a fully sustainable property. Mitchell's construction and architectural teams did just that. They added 32-foot-tall ceilings, solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system. All wood, including the table tops, are compliments of A Piece of Cleveland (APOC).
"We wanted a complete green space," says Mike. "We started this project knowing a little about being green and we are leaving experts."
The design is classic Mitchell's. Starting with a complete transformation of the movie marquee adorning the building, the classic theater entrance leads into the scoop shop. 50 seats await in the main room while 20 more are available in a private room. Upstairs, there's a 2000-square-foot addition that can handle overflow or be booked for special functions.
And this isn't simply about enjoying the ice cream; it's about seeing how it's made. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide guests an unrestricted view into the process, which includes three 700-gallon milk vats and a couple of freezers larger than most Ohio City apartments.
"Our guests will see us baking, preparing fruits, juicing, grinding nuts and, of course, making ice cream," says Mike Mitchell. The kitchen will supply all eight Mitchell's locations, along with area grocers and restaurant orders.
Because production is on-site, the scoop shop menu will also have that boutique feel. "Having the production right here allows us to experiment with test batches of flavors," says Mike. "We are going to have a lot of fun with this."
On the horizon, a perfectly positioned patio nestled between Mitchell's and SOHO will be open just in time for summer. A water sculpture created by a local artist and powered using reclaimed rain water will be the centerpiece of the outdoor space.
And with the grand opening only days away, both brothers have only one expectation in mind.
"Pete and I will only be satisfied if Mitchell's is a place where the full diversity of Ohio City residents feels welcome," says Mike. "We want to add to the family life of the community."
Mitchell's will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.