By Kevin Collison
Mildred’s, a cozy Crossroads culinary spot since 2004, is moving up in the world, relocating across the street to 1901 Wyandotte and quadrupling its space.
Co-owner Evan Ashby said the family-run operation outgrew its current location at 1821 Wyandotte a couple years ago with lines often stretching out the door for its breakfast and lunch offerings.
“We started getting busy in 2008 with the increased number of businesses and startups coming into the Crossroads,” he said. “We had so many more people and our breakfast sandwich was something people couldn’t say no to.
“About three years ago, we renovated and doubled the size of our kitchen to handle the demand. We doubled our sales the first week we opened and continued to grow.”
Now, the 1,250 square-foot operation is so squeezed its baked goods and other offerings have to be prepared at the larger kitchen at Mildred’s other downtown location at 10th and Main and brought to the Crossroads location for final baking.
It was last year the opportunity to expand arose across the street.
The 5,000 square-foot building was formerly an artist’s residence and gallery before attorney Zach Bickel purchased it. Bickel, a neighbor of Mildred’s, approach the Ashbys about relocating.
“We thought, how could we make this work?” Ashby recalled. “We’re a small place that’s popular and going to a place four times the size would make it look kind of slow.”
With the help of Hermanos Design, Ashby believes they’ve come up with a good answer.
The new Mildred’s will feature a full coffee bar and an open concept kitchen large enough to handle all its needs in-house. Wrap-around seating will allow customers to chat with the cooks, bakers and barristas in keeping with the neighborhood vibe.
On the east side of the building, about one-fifth of the new location will be opened up to become a sheltered patio with a fire pit. It will look out onto Sculpture Alley, a new public art endeavor in the Crossroads.
The new space also will allow Mildred’s to expand into catering with a second, dedicated kitchen. Plans call for delivering boxed lunches, fresh pastries and coffee to downtown businesses.
Mildred’s is hoping to complete its move to its new location in May.
Besides Evan, the other members of the Ashby family who operate Mildred’s are his mother, Debbie Luce Ashby; brother, Clayton Ashby and cousin, Jeremy Luce.
And if you wonder why it’s Mildred’s?
“It’s named after a Joan Crawford film called ‘Mildred Pierce’ about a single mother who opens a wildly successful cafe,” Evan said.
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