Someone Took a Frozen Dump (Sorry) on Mill Avenue, and It's Chilling

Categories: Hahnefeld

Thumbnail image for meltingcone5.jpg
Currently, there are about 10 ice cream shops on Mill Avenue. Brrr.
If you've felt an icy wind coming from Tempe's Mill Avenue lately, it's not from the glare of that coed you just totally checked out (c'mon, man, look at her face) -- it's ice cream. More specifically, ice cream shops. And lots of 'em -- everywhere.

Look to the left: ice cream shop. Look to the right: ice cream shop. Behind you: ice cream shop. Excuse-me-but-you're-standing-on-my...: ice cream shop.

In just the past few years, the amount of ice cream and ice cream-like shops gathering on Mill has been no less than chilling. At my last count, there were: Slickables, Mojo Yogurt, Cookiez on Mill, Red Mango, Paleta's Betty, Yogurtini, Sparky's Old Town Creamery, Cold Stone Creamery, and the recently announced Rita's Italian Ice.

So what the frozen hell's happening here?

Sure, I could lament the fact that ice cream shops have taken the place of Mill Avenue's long forgotten rock clubs or that they're just one more example of how lame this college town's main drag is, but those ships have looong sailed and we've already come up with a wish list of businesses we wish would move there anyway.

Instead, based on conversations I've had with a few restaurant owners, I can tell you although many would love a Mill Avenue address, most can't pay what its landlords are asking for in rent. Which may be why small, single-focused, low entry-cost eateries (e.g., ice cream shops) are so prevalent. That, or perhaps the frozen treat-eries are actually all individual parts of a massive, Voltron-like ice cream robot that will one day rule us all in mint chocolate chip awesomeness. (Hey, one can dream.)

At any rate, as happy as ice cream makes us, it's probably safe to say that the amount of shops offering it on Mill has reached its saturation point and won't be able to sustain itself at the current pace. Which ones will triumph? Which ones will fail? As with anything, time will tell. But for now, folks looking for a cool treat on Mill Avenue should choose their favorite wisely -- and often.

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10 comments
Concerned Food Fan
Concerned Food Fan

Why are you so stupidly negative all of the time?  Your headline was terrible before you even apologized for the joke.  This is the criticism that you are apparently so much better at than everybody else (per your editor's favorite article)?

David Bickford
David Bickford

I can tell you're going to go negative in a post when you use the word "dump" in a headline (just as with your commentary on 7th Ave & McDowell.) Mill does have a lot of places for frozen dessert, but the list here seems inflated. Yogurtini is a mile away at University & Rural, and Cold Stone Creamery was replaced by Sparky's.

I enjoy having a multitude of choices in one of the metro area's most walkable areas, but there are two problems with the ice cream surplus on Mill: 1) With so many competing shops, it's not always guaranteed that the best will survive. Paletas Betty is arguably the best, but the store is empty during most of my visits. 2) With so many places clustered on Mill, other nearby locations that should have good ice cream instead lack it. There are plenty of good places to eat on Apache, but no ice cream shops since Chill closed.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

How come you're not including the food court in the Memorial Union - IT IS TECHNICALLY ON MILL AVENUE

Deathtojack
Deathtojack

I would argue that at least some of these places provide enough variety that it is ok for multiples. Paletas Betty stands alone, then we have 2 ice cream sandwich shops, 1 straight Ice cream shop in sparky's and 2 fro yo places. I think more than 1 within a block is dumb (mojo and Red mango I am looking at you two) but south mill and north mill often have two different crowds, allowing for 2 ice cream sandwich places. Besides, how many people walk past La Bocca anyway?

Chris Cardinal
Chris Cardinal

We've been over this with Mill Avenue: it's a place of abundant redundancy:

5 pizza places (Slices, La Bocca, Magic Mushroom, Italian Place at Comerica, and Corleone's has pizza now)
6 mexican places (Restaurant Mexico, Hippie's Cove, Fuzzy Tacos, Chronic Tacos, Canteen, Chipotle, sort of)
7 ice cream/froyo places (Slickables, Sparky's, Cookiez, Paletas Betty, Mojo, Red Mango, and apparently new italian ice place)
5 burger places (Fat Burger, Jack in the Box, Five Guys and close enough: Chuckbox, Smashburger)
2 Irish pubs (Rula Bula, Robbie Fox's)
2 sports bars (Antar's, whatever's on the corner)
3 sandwich places (Jimmy John's, Silver Mine, Capriotti's)
3 mediterranean places (Big Fat Greek's when it's open, Munchies, and that other place)

I'm just sayin'. It's "variety", I suppose, but it's still a lot of similarity.

i heart
i heart

Paleta's Betty! By far the best one there on the drag.

brettski
brettski

We do live in a desert, thus delicious cold treats tend to sell....

Carrie Morgan
Carrie Morgan

Tired of the unending wave of frozen yogurt shop clones, too!! Yuck.

Steph
Steph

 When does PNT ever have a positive post about anything in AZ (unless it's a visiting band playing locally)?

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