February 28, 2012
By Megan Hart
A new ice cream shop will open in Fricano’s Muskegon Lake location early next year, owner Ted Fricano said.
The new shop, called Fricano’s Pinchtown, will fill an unoccupied space looking out on Muskegon Lake in the bottom floor of the Hartshorn Center, 1050 W. Western. The space used to hold a sandwich shop, Fricano said.
The décor will look like it could have come from the 1920s to 1940s, Fricano said. There will be a small gift shop with Hartshorn Center and Muskegon merchandise and a player piano customers can power by pumping a pedal. The real treat, though, will be the staff, he said.
The staff will have to audition for their jobs and expect to see them singing and dancing from time to time, Fricano said. They also might flirt a little with patrons and post a “gossip column” on the Fricano’s web site.
“Not the place to go if you’re cheating on your spouse,” Fricano advised.
The idea started because people eating in the Fricano’s restaurant often wanted dessert after finishing their pizza, Fricano said, and because he wanted to pay homage to the Hartshorn Center’s history as a factory in the late 1800s.
The name Pinchtown comes from the area bounded by Lakeshore Drive, Laketon Avenue, Ruddiman Creek and a gully, which was annexed by Muskegon in 1895. Fricano said he hoped to recapture some of the flavor of Pinchtown’s past toward the close of the lumbering era, and named the desserts after places and people from Muskegon’s past.
“I want to create a very nostalgic atmosphere,” he said.
Fricano, who is working with three Baker College interns to redecorate the Hartshorn Center’s banquet areas, said he plans to hire their interior design students again, because of their local pride and ability to create interesting spaces without spending too much.
“This is quite a challenge,” he said.