Iconic Mitchell’s Ice Cream turns 65

Linda Mitchell gets a little choked up upon thinking about her family’s ice cream store’s 65th anniversary celebration on July 15, National Ice Cream Day.

“It’ll be a great tribute to my dad, and all his hard work. He died two years ago; it’ll make me think of him,” says Mitchell, who runs Mitchell’s Ice Cream with her brother Brian.

To commemorate the event (“Not many businesses reach this milestone,” she says), the shop is offering special activities (a photo booth, balloons, mariachi band) and reduced prices at the store, which has been at 688 San Jose Ave. in San Francisco’s Mission/Bernal since it opened in 1953.

On Sunday, Mitchell’s — perhaps best known for mango ice cream and other tropical flavors and its rich 16 percent butterfat base — is offering $2 discounts off single and double scoops, and a special sundae The 65 (with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, Nutella, brownies and pecans) created just for the occasion.

Part of the reason for Mitchell’s success is its aversion to whimsical trends and over-expansion.

“We’ve always wanted to stay small, we’ve always had our same shop; we like it the way it is,” Mitchell says, adding, “We know our employees, we know our customers.”

Among the old-timers are Mitchell’s assistant managers Marlon and Wanda Payumo, who have worked there 30 and 27 years, respectively.

While lots of things haven’t changed over the decades, the menu does offer a few new flavors on an annual basis; Mitchell says the horchata has been a recent popular flavor; and the Big Cheese, which has a mascarpone base and cheesecake pieces, is brand new. (When pressed, she says her favorite flavors are rocky road and mocha fudge.)

Another thing that has changed, Mitchell admits, is the price of a cone. When the store opened, a single cost 5 cents (it was before her time) and a half-gallon was 50 cents.

Today a single is $4.15, a double is $6.15 and a half-gallon is $10.99. And though Mitchell laments the fact that rising costs have forced the shop to raise its prices over the years, she says, “We have to pay our employees fairly. We couldn’t stay around without them.”

IF YOU GO
Mitchell’s Ice Cream 65th Anniversary
Where: 688 San Jose Ave., S.F.
When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 15
Contact: (415) 648-2300, mitchellsicecream.com

Leslie Katz
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Leslie Katz

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