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Mimi Gelato opens on Market Street

Posted by Geeky Swedes on December 30th, 2009

The little corner space on Market Street once occupied by Pauline’s Pastry, in the diagonal alley between Azteca and Anchor Tattoo, is home to Ballard’s newest sweet spot – Mimi Gelato.

After a recent trip to San Francisco, the owner’s wife tried some “incredible gelato,” Will tells us. “Needless to say that was the spark that started it all.” When the space at 2315 NW Market came available, they jumped on it.

The small shop sells locally made gelato from locally-purchased ingredients. The gluten-free treats come in many flavors including chocolate, pistachio, panna cotta, hazelnut (nutella), blood orange, pear, pineapple, coffee, wild berry, rice and lemon. Starting next week Will says they’ll have two flavors designed by them: black sesame and matcha (green tea.)

There’s also a bit of local history built into the new spot. “The counter tops and benches in the shop are reclaimed wood from Ballard Kitchen. Sixty or so years ago the kitchen was the Ballard fish market,” Will says.

Mimi Gelato is open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

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24 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 gurple // Dec 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Mmm, black sesame sounds wonderful. I hope these folks can draw people back into that alley. For me, being open until 9 would make a world of difference, for that after-dinner fix.

  • 2 Ballardcrab // Dec 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Just a note – the Ballard Fish Market was open a lot of years AFTER 60 years ago.

  • 3 SPG // Dec 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I'd guess that they'll be open later in the warmer months. I would hope so at least.

  • 4 Ballard // Dec 30, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Uhmmmm…. I worked at Ballard Fish and Oyster as a teenager, and I definitely am not in my 70s. Clint and Brenda kept the place running up until 1980 or 81.

  • 5 ballardissmallilikeanonymity // Dec 30, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I too can't resist a black sesame dessert and will definitely be trying the rice gelato.

    But I'm not exactly sure the space “came available” in a neutral sense. I got the definite impression that they not-so-subtly nudged Pauline Pastry out in passive-aggressive-landlord fashion when they got the idea of opening a gelato shop.

    Was that their language or just a writer's assumption?

  • 6 Diem Chau // Dec 30, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Diem Chau here, half of the couple that started Mimi Gelato :) Thanks for all the interest! Yes we are planning on longer hours once the weather gets warmer, especially on the weekends.

    On the Pauline's Pastry note, Stephanie is actually a good friend of ours. We met through Robert Hardgrave, her husband and local artist. Pauline's really struggled in that spot. It wasn't big enough and didn't have the street presence she needed. She said she's looking at 2 new spots now, don't know if it's in Ballard though.

    Cheers and Happy New Year!

  • 7 Anonymous // Dec 31, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Does anyone know how much it is?

  • 8 sloggerette // Dec 31, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Yeah… not so sure that Pauline left willingly. That place was awesome. Sadly, I will have to refuse visiting this gelato place because of the circumstances and even moreso the duplicitous response from the landlord below. There's a lovely gelato place at 80th and 24th that I can walk to, with a lovely Italian man who is always kind and friendly. I'll stick to that and wait for Pauline to open up in a new location.

  • 9 dvak // Dec 31, 2009 at 3:48 am

    what is the gelato place at 80th and 24th?

  • 10 msballard30 // Dec 31, 2009 at 4:29 am

    But why? There's no indication that the current tenant is also the landlord and essentially kicked out Pauline's. Moreover, the MyBallard story that ran on Pauline's closing had a quote from them saying that they were leaving to look for a larger place with room for seating (see…).

    So I'm wondering why you would punish a new tenant over what a landlord may (or may not) have done. That would be like choosing not to patronize a new tenant in the old Epilogue space because the building owner was a first-class asshat (from what I've heard).

    So maybe I'm missing something here??

  • 11 sloggerette // Dec 31, 2009 at 5:53 am

    It is apparently called Robertinos Italian Specialties, at 2410 NW 80th St. I just call it the gelateria near my house : )

  • 12 sloggerette // Dec 31, 2009 at 6:01 am

    If the landlord of the old Epilogue space opened up his own store, then, yes, I would refuse to patronize his location. But if a new tenant came along and could afford the rent that the landlord wants, then I would have no problem supporting them.

  • 13 SeaSpider // Dec 31, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Good luck! Can't imagine it will be easy opening a gelato shop during the middle of winter. You've got nutella so I'll definitely be in.

  • 14 ballardissmallilikeanonymity // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:16 am

    MsBallard30, unless I am grossly mistaken, the gelato shop's owners were indeed the previous landlords for the space; Pauline Pastry was doing just fine offering an extremely high-quality product for a reasonable price in a tiny space with low overhead; and the statement that they vacated the space due to a desperate need to expand is what we call “spin.”

    I will take Ms. Chau's statement at face value, and presume that she and Stephanie are now on good terms. But at the time, I have no doubt Pauline Pastry would have preferred some leeway to find new digs BEFORE being forced into months of business limbo.

  • 15 LBB // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Looks like is now defunct.

  • 16 Name // Dec 31, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Just to clarify, the owner of the gelato shop is the subleasing landlord for that space and for the Ballard Kitchen behind the shop space.

    I'm a small business owner in Ballard and also know and am good friends with Stephanie, the owner of Pauline. I've chatted with her a couple of times since she closed and she maintains that she felt she needed to find a bigger space to offer her customers some seating. While I don't think that she was kicked out of the shop space, I sensed there was possibly some underlying discomfort with the leaser of the space at some point. I'd been in the shop a few times when he was there asserting his opinion of her business, and I can see how that can kind of get in the way of things. That being said, I think she will be back bigger and better and when she is, we will be there to support her and we love her desserts!
    In the meantime, let's try and support our Ballard businesses and check out the little gelato shop. It's important to support everyone in our neighborhood to build up our local economy. So best of luck to you Mimi gelato

  • 17 ballardissmallilikeanonymity // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Maybe I'll just hold off on trying MiMi until Pauline Pastry is up and operating again in a different location (whether in Ballard or at the ends of the earth to which I would travel to get those meringues).

    Hopefully that means waiting a month or two. But if Pauline is somehow never able to reopen, then MiMi will never get my business.

  • 18 sloggerette // Jan 1, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Well said. I wish Stephanie all the best in getting her business back on track after this unforeseen complication.

  • 19 sloggerette // Jan 1, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I don't know that I want to support a business that kicked out another business I actually did enjoy supporting.

  • 20 stephaniefrompauline // Jan 2, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Dear Ballard Friends,

    It was brought to my attention that folks are under the impression that Pauline Pastry Shop was forcibly closed by the current folks who own the new gelato shop. Let me please state that this was not the case. We had gotten much feedback from our lovely and loyal customers that you would love to see us have seating to enjoy your desserts and that we just needed more space. So, as told in our MyBallard press release, we are on the hunt for a new space and hope to be opened up again soon. We have some irons in the fire, so hopefully we will be serving up treats in the near future.
    Please support Mimi Gelato, they are good people and are offering a great local product and will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood especially in the summer months.
    If you have more questions about Pauline or would like updates on our progress you can contact us at we also hope to have our new website up and running soon as well.
    Thank you for your suppport, and please stop in and try a scoop of gelato.
    Best regards and many happy returns for the new year!
    Stephanie Hardgrave
    ~Pauline Pastry~

  • 21 lisadoll // Jan 2, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Just visited this shop this past week…YUM! Really nice quality gelato, and I'm excited to try the rice flavour! Looking forward to taste-testing ALL the flavours at some point! (Especially when it gets warmer out!)

  • 22 sloggerette // Jan 2, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Good to hear! Thanks for clarifying!

  • 23 suzieQ // Jan 2, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Yay for delicious Gelato in my neighborhood! This little place is super cute, love the interior design inside! Super yummy Gelato! I'm vegan and they offer several dairy free fruit options which is so great. My mom and sister went with me and thoroughly enjoyed their frozen treats as well!
    Very friendly service, delicious goodies (they have coffee too!), and a cute surrounding. Very recommended!

  • 24 ballardissmallilikeanonymity // Jan 3, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Okay, I'm relieved and psyched to try it now, because the rice gelato sounds novel and the black sesame sounds scrumptious.

    But please find new space soon, Pauline Pastry!

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