A taste of classic San Francisco ice cream

Mitchell's Ice Cream in Bernal Heights by Simon J. Lau
Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Bernal Heights by Simon J. Lau
By Crystal Corbelli

On days where we held it together with no meltdowns on the way to Sunday school, my mother would reward my brother and me with Mitchell’s Ice Cream. This was always a great motivator and strong incentive to keep the wheels from coming loose each Sunday morning.

Since then, that sentiment has continued to live on. Although now I generally reward myself with fried chicken or pupusas, I occasionally treat myself to a job well done with a creamy Mitchell’s ice cream cone. My favorite flavors are Ube and Red Bean ice cream. Ironically, the first time I was introduced to these flavors was not at the Mitchell’s store, but rather Ranch 99 Market. They came in bars then and were generally victims of extensive freezer burn, but I loved them anyway. It is simply made better now that they come fresh from the Mitchell’s freezer. My other standbys include the Grasshopper, followed by Cookies n’ Cream.

Mitchell’s has truly made a name for itself by cultivating a powerful relationship with its customers. It has occupied the same Bernal Heights location for over 60 years and besides providing high quality ice cream, it also provides exotic flavors that remain largely untapped by mainstream ice cream producers. Also, rather than focus on traditional advertisements, Mitchell’s depends on its loyal customer base and word of mouth to keep its lights on. In many ways, Mitchell’s is the Sriracha of the ice cream world. It is Ben & Jerry’s before Unilever. It is the classic ice cream shop made famous by virtue of great recipes and an unwavering commitment to customers.

Mitchell’s has also done an excellent job distributing their fresh ice cream to many independent shops throughout the city. If the hike to Mitchell’s in Bernal Heights is too much of a struggle, there are other spots closer to the city center that can satiate a Mitchell’s craving. This includes Miyako on Fillmore and Norman’s in Fisherman’s Wharf, to name only a few local establishments. All things considered, there truly is no better ice cream to enjoy in San Francisco than a homegrown cone of Mitchell’s.

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