Pleasant Ridge just got a little bit sweeter with the recent opening of ice cream and donut shop pop-up Milkman.
Located inside of Revolution Rotisserie, the weekend-only dessert destination was a longtime dream of restaurant owner Nick Pesola, who holds fond memories of visiting ice cream and donut shops as a child.
"Milkman is a passion project and my way of reliving the good times. That being said, Milkman is forward-thinking, a completely fresh take on what the modern ice cream parlor and neighborhood donut shop should be," Pesola says in an email interview.
"Milkman fit in with my overall strategy to give people something to look forward to, something worth leaving your house for even during a quarantine. And, to be honest, I really needed something fun and exciting to look forward to each day in order to find the strength to work through the rest of the challenges."
The pop-up operates as a donut and pastry bakery beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings until they run out, and offers ice cream/sorbet, shakes (both boozy or classic), smoothies and floats from 11 a.m-10 p.m. on Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays. Guests can either take their treats to go, enjoy them on the patio or they can be ordered alongside a meal at Revolution.
But this ain't your average neighborhood donut or ice cream shop — Pesola and his team went above and beyond to procure an unmatched experience when it comes to their sweets offering.
"Our approach to everything we do is to take inspiration from the old-fashioned donut shops and ice cream parlors, but then put our own fresh twist of these classics. We make all of our products with fresh, non-processed ingredients. We make our own ice cream bases as well as our donut dough completely from scratch," says Pesola.
Revolution Rotisserie's pastry chef Robert "Bob" Passero worked on Milkman's menu prior to retiring, leaving a "lasting legacy" with the new endeavor.
"Needless to say, working on the original menu and recipes with Bob was a lot of fun and the highlight of several months while there wasn't much to look forward to. The end result was truly something special and the long lines prove that," Pesola says.
Since Passero's retirement, Danielle Victor has taken over as Revolution Rotisserie's new pastry chef, in addition to working with Milkman.
The donut selection ranges from classic flavors to more sophisticated options like crème brûlée, blueberry cinnamon roll or the pop-up's signature, The Milkman donut, with blue glazed brioche stuffed with vanilla mousse.
Pesola relates Milkman to a brewery's beer-making process in terms of their approach to fresh, seasonal flavors as well as menu staples.
"Our philosophy is simple: let the great ingredients speak for themselves, skip the gimmicks, don't take shortcuts," he says. "Although it may seem counterintuitive that something frozen can be incredibly fresh, our ice cream is literally being churned and then served/consumed each week."
Currently, the shop offers ice cream and sorbet flavors that include brown sugar peach sorbet, bourbon vanilla bean, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and cookies and cream.
When it comes to shakes, they go heavy on the ice cream, so anticipate a thick and decadent treat — one that Pesola has no problem saying is the best in the city, and is willing to host a milkshake throw-down to prove it.
And while the concept was bred from Pesola's fond childhood memories, he has crafted a special recipe and menu of adult-friendly offerings with Milkman's selection of boozy-infused treats which are inspired by classic cocktail recipes like the White Russian, Manhattan and Mudslide.
While opening up a new business during a pandemic wasn't exactly what Pesola had planned for the year, he felt like it was the right time to make his dream into a reality, despite the challenging circumstances.
"In general, I firmly believe the best ideas and businesses come to fruition during the most difficult times. The stakes are very high. You have to be innovative, you have to be the best, you have to solve real problems," Pesola says.
"Revolution Rotisserie started under a 10-foot-by-10-foot tent at Findlay Market. Today I'm just as scrappy and resourceful as I was back in 2014, but this time around I have one hell of a good team behind me with Milkman. In closing, I'll share the Milkman mantra: 'When life spills your milk, make milkshakes.'"
Milkman is located at 6063 Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge. More info: facebook.com/milkmancincy.