Put a spin on your taco Tuesday with this dessert option at the Milkhouse.
The Milkhouse Cafe in Fort Gratiot might be one of the area’s best-kept secrets. The shop currently offers 40 flavors of ice cream along with soft serve custard. The owners make it a point to offer delicious ice cream at an affordable price while also being involved in the community.
First opening in 2007, the Milkhouse quietly served up delicious, hand-dipped ice cream to those customers who happened t
o stumble upon their establishment. It wasn’t until a few short years ago that the name began to spread, after a couple of customers posted photos of their large ice cream sundaes on social media. The photos went viral, and from that summer on business has been booming.
One of their priorities is to make their ice cream very affordable to the public. In fact, for the most part, they've kept their pricing the same since 2007.
Jeff Pemberton, one of the managers, recalls a father of five coming in with his children one day and expressed heartfelt appreciation at their affordable prices. The reasonable prices allowed the family to visit the ice cream shop every week.
"We're trying to create a place where people can come and afford to bring their families," says Pemberton. "At the end of the day, we want it to be affordable, something where we're not charging crazy amounts of money for the amount of ice cream you're getting. We want people to be able to bring their families all the time."
In addition to the ice cream, the Milkhouse also offers a visually interesting interior. They made it a point to include historical décor with a respectful nod to the past, including chandeliers from the Thomas Edison Inn and knick-knacks from the old London’s Ice Cream parlor, which had quite a long history in the area. They even had some members of the London family attend their grand opening. In fact, one of the original goals was to help fill the gap created when London’s Ice Cream left.
Taco Tuesdays: a unique idea and a local hit
Don't be surprised if several people use the words "life-changing" when you inquire about the Milkhouse's well-known Taco Tuesdays. Currently one of the most popular offerings, every Tuesday patrons can order a signature ice cream taco creation served up in a homemade waffle cone shaped like a taco shell. With flavors like Coffee Toffee Crunch to the Cookie Monster, to the Tutti Frutti, or even a custom taco creation, folks rave about this unique offering.
Originally, Taco Tuesday started as a simple idea. About a year ago, Pemberton was talking to a friend who noticed an online ice cream taco recipe. He decided to create his own taco recipes for the Milkhouse Cafe and then proceeded to post photos of his new creations online in order to gauge general interest. The immediate response from the public was enthusiastic. The rest is history.
"That first week, we served about 250-280 tacos. People were lined up out the door and wrapped around the parking lot. From then on, it's never stopped," says Pemberton. "Tuesdays have become our busiest day of the week. It's become our signature thing. It's what we're known for."
Involvement in the Community
The Milkhouse is also becoming known for their work in the community. They do a number of fundraisers throughout the year, including collaborating with the local schools. This includes their Positive Behavior Support Program at Thomas Edison Elementary School, for example, where each student who is recognized for good citizenship receives a certificate for the Milkhouse. In addition, last year Milkhouse raised $10,000 for the sheriff’s dive team, and are planning to have another fundraiser for them on July 30.
"We try to do a lot of community service as the Milkhouse. It gives us a chance to be a part of the community," says Pemberton. “Anytime we can go do ice cream at any sort of community event, we're there."
While future plans are still in the works, the Milkhouse plans on adding brick oven pizza to their offerings, and are currently in
the process of installing a full kitchen. They are also considering converting part of their building into a flea market, with the goal being for people to be able to hang out all day.
They're all about providing a positive experience. Starting with ice cream has proven to be a great decision.
"People love getting ice cream. No one's ever unhappy. It's the best place to work because people love ice cream and they're happy to be there." says Pemberton.
Visit the Milkhouse at 4189 Keewahdin Road, Fort Gratiot Twp. They are open Tuesday through Sunday.