Walking into Mimi’s, it smells like a county fair in the summertime with freshly made funnel cakes. Homemade red, green, yellow and purple gelato is lined up in a display case. Neon signs advertising gelato and lemonade decorate the Chicago restaurant.
Mimi’s Churros is located in the neighborhood of Bridgeport and is unique to its block, where Italian and Asian restaurants surround it.
It has been open since 2006 and has a large menu. Open all year round, Mimi’s serves foods and drinks associated with summertime such as homemade funnel cakes, fresh squeezed lemonade, Italian ice and smoothies made in-house.
Working next door to the restaurant at the currency exchange, Andrea Martinez said her favorites are the Italian ice and churros. “It’s good,” She said. “I like it and it’s open really late. It’s very convenient.”
Martinez first heard about the place from her co-worker, but likes the people that work at Mimi’s as much as the Italian ice. It’s friendly, she said. “Once you try it you’ll like it.” Martinez added.
Although the owner, Ulises Martin, is Cuban, he incorporates other cultures in his food. “Churros are originally from Spain,” Martin said.
Mimi’s Italian ice and gelatos are all homemade on the spot with fresh ingredients.
Employee Xochitl Barron said she likes the Italian ice bets because of whats in it: “We actually make everything with real fruit.” Barron said. “ I think that’s what makes it really good.”
Martin has a name for the type of food he sells: “Those are called fun snacks,” Martin said. The churros are made from scratch in the back of the restaurant and draw people in from all different areas.
People travel to Mimi’s just for a funnel cake or a churro year round, even in the winter, Barron said.
“We have a lot of people from Bridgeport, but I’ve had people from Aurora come in just for a funnel cake,” Barron said.
People can see the sign lit up from the freeway and smell the churros being made, which draws them in, she added.
Mimi’s makes the churros at night, and the smell is so strong that people look up Mimi’s online to come get some the next day, Barron said.
Owner Martin is always looking for more ways to expand his menu and the business. The menu at Mimi’s is all snack food, but customers have been asking for more than that, he said.
“I wanna create a menu with real food,” Martin said. Martin is aware of the competition he has with other restaurants in the neighborhood.
He does different things than other neighborhood eateries, which sets his food apart, he said. Martin gave some advice for those looking to one day run their own business: “You gotta like what you do.”