West Kendall is officially the coolest neighborhood in Miami now that Sweet Melody's ice-cream ventanita has opened.
Sweet Melody's Mike Romeu decided to open this newly minted Miami treasure when trying to figure out a way to sell ice cream from his West Kendall ice-cream factory and dairy plant. The downside, however, is that because the state has stringent restrictions on dairy plants — including a strict no-customer rule — he couldn't open a scoop shop or retail outlet onsite.
Then he got an idea: Why not make a window where he could serve customers without their having to set foot inside the shop? "The window was borne out of necessity," Romeu says. "Life gave us lemons, and we made lemonade."
The ice-cream maker says the window, which took months to arrive, was a hit when it opened this past weekend. Customers were able to purchase only take-away pints of ice cream.
Beginning this weekend, the window will sell scoops ($4) and take-home pints ($10 each or buy three, get one free). In the next week or so, the window will serve milkshakes, cafecito, ice-cream sandwiches, and pastelitos from Pastelito Papi. Flavors at the ventanita rotate frequently, and current flavors are updated on Instagram.
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The dairy plant that houses the ventanita also came out of necessity. Romeu says that for him to make ice cream from scratch, his facility would have to be designated a full dairy plant. The facility, which opened about two and a half months ago, allows Romeu to control every aspect of the ice-cream-making process, from pasteurizing the milk to creating unique flavors on demand for many Miami restaurants. "We make everything 100 percent start to finish from scratch. That allows us to have flexibility in our flavors."
Romeu also plans to open a full-service ice-cream shop, bakery, and production facility in Palmetto Bay.
For now, however, Miamians can walk up to the coolest ventanita in town to get their ice-cream fix.
Sweet Melody Crafted Ice Cream Ventanita. 15224 Sunset Dr., Miami; 786-376-2814; facebook.com/sweetmelodyicecream. Monday through Thursday noon to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday 1 to 7 p.m.