Editor's Note: Ice cream and summer are the perfect pairing. This summer, Southwest Michigan Second Wave invites you to explore the array of ice cream shops that Kalamazoo County has to offer in our series, Ice Cream Summer. In our last segment of this series, we're sitting down with owners of Monarca's Ice Cream and Mexican Food in Schoolcraft. Get the scoop!
An extraordinary stop for indulging a taco craving or sweet tooth, offering homemade Mexican ice cream treats and tasty food, Monarca’s Ice Cream
is a must-visit. Sitting down with the owner, Matilde Ramirez, along with her husband Pedro Tellez, and daughter Leslie, Second Wave learns more about this family-run establishment.
What’s their history?
Monarca's provides a multitude of items that are authentic Mexican cuisine.
The family first started selling ice cream in 2019 to the Hispanic community out of coolers at Kalamazoo soccer games, bringing “the flavors of Mexico to them,” says Matilde. Because of their success at these games, they decided to set up shop in Schoolcraft, opening in their current location at 321 North Grand St. a year ago.
Why ice cream?
Homemade mango and guava ice cream
For over two decades, Pedro’s family has been making ice cream in his hometown of Michoacan, Mexico. With a deeply rooted tradition of ice cream making in the family, the couple's path was clear when it came to what sort of product they wanted to develop.
What makes their ice cream the best?
Mangonada; a mango sorbet topped with chamoy, a savory sauce made from pickled fruit like apricots, and Tajin, a seasoning made with chili peppers, lime, and salt.
All of the ice cream is made in-house at the restaurant in Schoolcraft. Ice cream flavors include traditional Mexican flavors like lime, mango, guava, tamarind, coconut, and many more. In addition to ice cream, Monarca's also serves popsicles and other treats, including mangonada; a mango sorbet topped with chamoy, a savory sauce made from pickled fruit like apricots, and Tajin, a seasoning made with chili peppers, lime, and salt.
How does the business engage with the community?
Mexican-style tacos are also available at Monarca's.
Enriching the Hispanic community with familiar tastes, Monarca’s provides comfort and a nostalgic embrace for those who are far from home. Matilde says that patrons have shared that the flavors at Monarca's “reminds them of when they were kids.” To celebrate with the community, Monarca's was open for the July 4th of July festivities in Schoolcraft, as well as during the Schoolcraft Christmas Walk. The business is also involved with a reading program at the local library. In Kalamazoo, they’ve collaborated with El Concillio and have participated in the Latinx Festival, bringing along their ice cream truck to share their delicious treats.
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