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Monarca’s Ice Cream

August 5, 2022

  • 321 N. Grand Street
  • Schoolcraft, MI 49087
  • (269) 679-7251
  • Website
  • Menu

Well…we were supposed to be kid free for a few days.

My parents like to take the kids for a few days each summer back to their place in Illinois. We set it up this year so they would take the kids home after our weekend at my dad’s cousin’s place near Three Rivers.

L wasn’t feeling well. She got dizzy on Friday night and then again on Saturday. In hindsight, it was likely a combination of heat, dehydration, and not feeling well but we decided to not let her go to Illinois so we could take her to the doctor to make sure everything was alright.

J and I had planned to eat out every chance we got that week. It’s not often we can just enjoy a drink and not have to worry about someone wanting to go before the waitress even brings drinks.

L is getting to the age where she’s really not that much of a hassle at restaurants. We got her a phone a few months ago to take to ice skating practice so we usually let her bring that. Like most kids, she just stares at the screen the whole time unless we engage her.

I got home from work a little later on Tuesday night. J asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. There’s a little Mexican place in Schoolcraft we pass by often and one of her friends told her we needed to stop.

Monarca’s Ice Cream is on Grand Street (US-131) in downtown Schoolcraft. The small, oddly shaped building sits a little ways off the road near between Clay and Cass Streets. This building has been many restaurants over the years. I remember a BBQ place a while ago and most recently, it was Nonla Taqueria

The setup of the space hasn’t really changed but the look of the place really has.

Ordering is still done at the counter but it’s been moved over closer to the wall. Where Nonla’s counter was, there are now ice cream freezers.

There is a menu on the wall I didn’t notice at first because my eye was drawn to the chalkboard sandwich board next to the cash register.

Our plan was to order dinner then go back for ice cream later. We put in our order then headed towards a both. The cashier said our food would be brought out to us.

The restaurant got a fresh coat of paint when Monarca’s moved in. Gone are the deep purple walls of Nonla. The restaurant is much lighter now with more muted colors. More greys and blacks. More natural wood. More pink on the walls.

There are are two dining areas but there aren’t many tables in either. There are just over a half dozen tables total. One space seperated from the main room with a wall has a few booths and a few two tables against the wall. This is most of the seating in the small restaurant.

The only open table when we walked in was right next to the door. There are two booths in the main area. We had L go sit down while we finished up paying to make sure we got a place to sit.

I saw Birria tacos on the menu and quickly made up my mind. I ordered 3 tacos a la carte so I didn’t get the rice and beans I knew I wasn’t going to eat. The three tacos come either Mexican or American style. I always choose Mexican which means corn tortillas, the Birria meat, cilantro and onion. To my surprise, the tacos didn’t come with the usual consommé. The best part about birria tacos is the juice to dip them in. Nor did they came pan fried. They were just regular Mexican style tacos with birria meat. These tacos were still really delicious though. I ate each one in just a couple of bites.

There was no consommé but they did come with a hot sauce. A lot of times this is my favorite part of tacos. The birria meat had a lot of flavor on it’s own so the hot sauce wasn’t necessary but it did add a little bit of a tasty kick to them.

J got an order of nachos. These are really simple but actually really delicious nachos. The bed of chips was topped with ground beef, liquid nacho cheese and sliced jalapenos. The simpleness is what made these nachos really good. Neither one of us really like a lot of the traditional nacho toppings. This is more like something we’d make at home…but better.

To go with her nachos, J also got the Elote. This is one dish that has always been weird to me. Monacra’s does there with corn sliced off the cob. It’s served in a styrofoam cup and mixed with mayo, crema, cojita cheese, lime and chili spices. They us Tajin on the top which we all found out we really like. While I think the whole idea of mayo and corn is just really weird, J likes it and I’m pretty sure she prefers it this way in a cup than still on the cob.

L kept it simple. She got a cheese quesadilla. She likes beef tacos but not “softshell.” The quesadillas are as simple as they sound but L discovered the Tajin and holy cow did she like that. We put some on her quesadilla but she ended up just licking it off the plate.

I had never heard of Tajin before this trip to eat but we all fell in love with it. It’s a mass produced chili lime salt. A little sweet. A little heat. A little salty. Quite delicious. I actually bought some last time I went shopping because I bet it’s fantastic on popcorn.

I passed on the ice cream because I was still finishing off everyone’s food. J didn’t eat all her nachos and L didn’t eat all her quesadillas but they wanted ice cream.

There’s a cooler with different ice cream flavors next to the order counter. A lot of Mexican ice creams are made using fruit and that’s something L really likes.

L has been all about the mango sorbet lately. She gets it everywhere we go including this time. She got two scoops in a waffle cone.

J did more of a smoothie like creation called a Mangonada. The OG is made with Mango sorbet, mango chunks, chamoy, Tajin, and a tamarindo stick. This was really the reason J wanted to try Manarca’s and it was exactly what she was hoping it would be.

Out bill for dinner and ice cream was around $40 for the three of us.

Monarca’s Ice Cream is a really simple yet really delicious Mexican joint. It’s more of a taqueria than a full on Mexican restaurant. Some guys came in right before closing and were complaining about not getting chips and salsa with their meal but that’s not the kind of place this is. It’s good, quick, Mexican street food with a whole list of delicious after dinner treats.

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