Friday, July 22, 2011

[EID Feature] Mootown Creamery: Making History at Historic Eastern Market

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg)

Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the country, has been in its current location for 120 years. And in 120 years, it has never has an ice cream shop.

Jaw>>>>floor. Sounds absurd, right?

That was, of course, until Mootown Creamery opened on May 13, 2011.

Located in a primo spot on the same little strip as the über-popular Supino Pizzeria and Russell St. Deli, Mootown Creamery is a perfect post-pizza destination for a summertime snack (and baby, it’s hot outside).

Mootown Creamery is a family-owned and -operated business. Sisters and first-time partners Chris Kelley and Leslie Hayden opened the place, and Chris’s daughter Brittney Mabry is the smiling face you’ll usually find behind the counter. Even Grandma’s involved – in the back you’ll find a selection of her pretty hand-made greeting cards, T-shirts, flip-flops, and other gifts. If they don’t have your size in stock, she’ll make it for you.

If I didn’t already know that it was a group of females behind the place, I’d assume it: the inside looks like every young girl’s fantasy dollhouse. Pastel greens, purples, wrought iron café tables painted white, candy-colored plaster ice cream displays (even the logo features a “sexy” cartoon cow) – the look is definitively “girly” and cheerily charming, giving it that old-fashioned soda shoppe appeal. The staff is also unflappably friendly, which makes this simply a nice place to go to put a smile on your face.

And ice cream in your belly, no doubt. Mootown Creamery carries Michigan-made Hudsonville Ice Cream, which is trying to expand more into the Detroit market: this is one of the only places in the area that you’ll find them. They make such Michigan-themed flavors as Sleeping Bear Dunes Bear Hug (chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered cashews swirled with thick caramel), Michigan Deer Trax (peanut butter cups and thick chocolate fudge with vanilla ice cream), and, of course, Mackinaw Island Fudge. (And also classic flavors like strawberry, chocolate and butter pecan too, natch.) You can get your ice cream on a cake cone, sugar cone or waffle cone; in kiddie scoops all the way to triple scoops. They’ll make you extra-thick milkshakes, ice cream floats, gooey sundaes and loaded banana splits, or you can also try their Moo…Zerts (their version of a Blizzard).

They want to keep things local inside Mootown, so you’ll also find Better Made chips, Vernors, Faygo pop (POP!), even Ice Mountain bottled water (which is bottled in Michigan).

Originally the sisters were planning on opening a garden supply store, but after walking around the market and seeing that there was no ice cream there they decided to open an ice cream shop. And so it is that the 120-year ice cream embargo in Eastern Market has been lifted, and those 40,000+ people who descend upon the market every Saturday can now enjoy a cold, creamy treat on a blistering hot day. July…National Ice Cream Month…record-high temperatures….coincidence? Well, no, it’s always hot as Hades in July, which just means no time like the present to go check out Mootown Creamery! (They have air conditioning and lots of seating, too.)

Note from the Powers That Be: Our Eastern Market tours will be starting soon and we'll be hitting Mootown during the summer months; stay tuned!

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Mootown Creamery & More on Urbanspoon