Before there was Bi-Rite or Humphry Slocumbe, there was Mitchell’s – a family-owned business making small-batch ice cream on site for more than 60 years.

A San Francisco classic, families come to Mitchell’s on the southern edge of the city’s Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, crowding the front benches and licking up flavors that can range from avocado to ube. With only one store, it was always out of the way for me so I never got the Mitchell’s experience.

Until I got wheels.

So during the holidays while exploring the city, I stopped in for the first time at Mitchell’s. Even though we had unusually warm weather that made it perfect for ice cream tasting, the crowds were smaller. I wasn’t complaining since it made it easier for me to find parking in the lot behind the store.

The flavor choices can be overwhelming, but I settled for a scoop of avocado (just because I wondered what it would be like and I do like avocados) and dulce de leche, which is one of my favorite sweet tastes.

The texture of the ice cream was thick, almost too thick. The rich avocado flavor was enjoyable at first, but then I got a bit of the herbal twist that reminded me of vegetables. After awhile it was more the color that reminded me of  avocado. Dulce de leche, of course, was a sweet caramel winner.

While I thought it was worth trying Mitchell’s, I do think it’s on par with the next generation of artisan ice cream makers. So while I will probably visit places closer to home, Mitchell’s will probably continue as a beacon for ice cream lovers.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream, 688 San Jose Ave. (at 29th), San Francisco. PH: 415.648.2300. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. www.mitchellsicecream.com

The Mitchell's team is pretty efficient with the numbers and quick scooping. It was quiet when I went so the express line wasn't needed.

The Mitchell’s team is pretty efficient with the numbers and quick scooping. It was quiet when I went so the express line wasn’t needed.

One can get overwhelmed by all the ice cream flavors

One can get overwhelmed by all the ice cream flavors

My two scoops of avocado and dulce de leche

My two scoops of avocado and dulce de leche

Items sold at Mitchell's has a real nostalgic feel of an old-time ice cream shop.

Items sold at Mitchell’s has a real nostalgic feel of an old-time ice cream shop.

Customers enjoying their ice cream in front of the store

Customers enjoying their ice cream in front of the store

Mitchell's is a classic

Mitchell’s is a classic

 

7 Responses to Pilgrimage to San Francisco’s Ice Cream Institution Mitchell’s

  1. Even though I have a sour throat, I crave for a little ice cream.

  2. hungry dog says:

    We used to live around the corner from Mitchell’s for a few years and there was almost always a crazy line. I think their ice cream is good but not better than a lot of other ice creams out there. And I was never a fan of the tropical flavors…I’m a traditional ice cream eater!

  3. Tara says:

    I live a few blocks away, so every time I drive home, I have to look and see how the line is before considering stopping in. I always get a coffee and ube two scooper. Such classic ice cream!

  4. Carolyn Jung says:

    An oldie but a goodie. I haven’t been there in ages, either. But loved it as a kid so much.