Former ice cream parlor in Utica to be a parking lot – for now

Michelini family to huddle with village about parcel’s future

The former Country Cupboard ice cream parlor in Utica is gone now — acquired and razed by the neighboring business owner — and it’s going to be a parking lot. For now.

After that, the new owners have a notable plan for what do with the now-vacant parcel: They’re going to ask Utica village officials what to do with it.

Steve Michelini owns Country Kids, the farmers market on South Clark Street. He and his family purchased the ice cream parlor and promptly razed it. Michelini said the cleared parcel will, in the short-term, be used as a parking lot for village events, such as the forthcoming Burgoo Festival.

Michelini said it won’t be a parking lot forever. He said they’ll inquire about what new business the village needs and might well oblige the village’s wish.

“Plans will be presented to the village in the winter and we’ll proceed that way,” Michelini said.

Mayor David Stewart said he’s quite pleased the village will be involved in how best to use the property, though he’s confident whatever the family settles upon will be a success.

“We know they will do wonderful things with that newly-acquired property,” Stewart said. “We are planning on a meeting with them to get their thoughts on the property and are awaiting to see what their vision is for it.”

The Michelini family announced in spring 2021 they would bringing Country Kids Produce Market — there is a location in Peru — to Utica by opening a satellite market south of downtown.

Village officials welcomed the farmers market, which included a dining area for customers to sample sweet corn and other produce along with a grain bin gazebo.

The Michelini family had planned for some time to open a satellite business in Utica, but were thwarted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.