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Signs of Summer: Italian Ice the Greek Way

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collageMiko's2

There’s a sure way to know if it’s not cold in my neighborhood: just check out if Miko’s is open. In a world filled with frozen yogurt chains, the family-owned Italian ice store is an invitation to less standardized times, with personable service and quirky décor. One of their unique features is a bunch of tough-love signs placed on their walls, such as “Eat It and Beat It,” “Free Samples Only 50 cents,” and the popular “No Cry Babies.” Run by Greek-American brothers Mike and Rick Roombos and in business since 1997, they also have a third shop in Mobile, Alabama, where they migrate in the winter. There they taught the local population how to appreciate the more subtle flavors of their refreshing treat, always stating that “It takes a good Greek to make Italian ice.” Here in Chicago they keep both their Bucktown and Logan Square locations open from April 15 until the end of September, serving seasonal fruit flavors and accepting “cash or money only.” If you have a problem with that, stay tuned for their next sign: “Save the Whine for the Glass.”

—Text and photographs by Isa Giallorenzo

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