About a year ago, Laurence McMillon's 19-year-old son, Kelton, toyed with the idea of joining the Air Force. But McMillon, who works at the Adrienne Arsht Center, said, "Let's start a business instead."
"I basically said, 'Let's look at things we can do here to start something together,'" McMillon remembers. "I thought it would give him an opportunity to stay."
The father-son team is behind Wynwood Parlor, a purple graffiti-painted food truck stocked with custom ice-cream sandwiches ($4.50-$5). The concept officially launched May 22 at Miami Flea, and a brick-and-mortar location is in the works. McMillon says he hopes to open by December 2017. In July, Wynwood Parlor will also begin delivering its ice-cream sandwiches to South Beach.
"We're looking at opening a small space somewhere in Wynwood near the edge of North Miami Avenue," McMillon says. "But the mobile truck gives us an opportunity to be closer to where the activity is."
In the meantime, find the McMillons' mural-clad shop on wheels rolling throughout Wynwood on weekends, brimming with homemade cookies, brownies, and waffles waiting to be kicked up with a variety of ice-cream flavors and toppings.
The truck, which was hand-painted by street artist Nicole Salgar, holds eight cookies ($1.50-$2), such as chocolate chip, red velvet,
McMillon rents a commercial kitchen, where most of the ice-cream sandwich ingredients, from cookies, waffles, and salty caramel cream, are made.
"The Cookie Monster is one of our five signature sandwiches," he says. "It takes
The truck also sells Panther Coffee, and coffee float tops Panther's signature brew with a scoop of ice cream. "I love Wynwood and the movement going on around it," McMillon says. "It has become such a different part of Miami in addition to the Beach. Miami is evolving into all of these different segments, and it's cool to watch the city grow."
Aside from working at Wynwood Parlor, McMillon spends most of his time at the Adrienne Arsht Center, where he is the general food and beverage manager. He doesn't do well with free time. "Staying busy is something I'm into," he says. "And the foodie movement here has been really encouraging and welcoming. It's really cool to be involved in something that's building momentum overall."
This past November, McMillon and his son won second place in A&Eats, a local competition searching for a new and innovative restaurant concept to open in Miami. Through the Arts & Entertainment District and the New Tropic, the two were given a year of rent-free restaurant space inside downtown's Filling Station Lofts.
Their winning concept is called Art & Craft, where a café meets a craft cocktail, wine bar, and visual art gallery. McMillon describes it as a place where street art meets street food, with a diverse list of cocktails and brews. The menu offers inventive takes on traditional comfort foods, including plates such as chipotle barbecue pork sliders with peach cornbread muffins.
"Things have been progressing, just slowly. But overall, this was all sort of a natural progression. Because
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"Though it may take a little longer than we all would have hoped, it gives us an opportunity to work on Wynwood Parlor. We can see what people like and personally touch people. There's something to be said about experiencing the food scene and being a part of it."
"It also gives my son an opportunity to be an entrepreneur," he adds. "I grew up in the business, and now so is he."
In Wynwood Friday through Sunday. For the weekend's operating schedule, visit wynwoodparlor.com or call 305-814-6457.