Melt set to close by the end of the month and relocate

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Melt ice cream is set to leave its Fifth Street location at the end of February. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Melt ice cream shop will be leaving Fifth Street by the end of the month.

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” said owner John Sagasta. “It’s bittersweet for sure, leaving Fifth Street. Been here a long time, this was my last hold on the place. I’ll miss it for sure.”

Sagasta said Melt’s lease is up at the end of this month, and the landlord asked for more rent than he was willing to pay for the space. The shop had been there since 2013.

“We kind of outgrew it and we wanted a bigger space, too,” said Pablo Sapien, manager of Melt.

The shop’s departure is just the latest of many changes to affect Fifth Street in a little over a year. Last year starting in August both Fifth and Sixth streets saw closures or moves of at least eight businesses.

RELATED: Fifth Street: A year in review

Sagasta personally owned multiple businesses on Fifth Street including Melt. Previously Jobot Coffee and Diner, the Flowers Beer and Wine, and NachoBot were all on Fifth Street, but have since been relocated or closed. The Flowers building and some other nearby buildings will be incorporated into the future Blocks at Roosevelt Row project.

“Will we miss being a part of Fifth Street? Well yeah!” Sagasta added later over text. “It’s not that Fifth Street is going anywhere or that it will never be a hub of activity again. It’s just never going to be what we had experienced again. The energy, the lawlessness, the hype, and collective creativity of a young hungry arts community will always be the spark that got things going. It’s time to hand the torch to the new dynamic. So, from all of us to all of you, You’re welcome!! Ha! See you around town!”

Sapien said they will be setting up a mobile pop-up shop soon to serve ice cream “all over Roosevelt Row,” as an interim measure until Melt finds a new home.

Sapien and Sagasta said they are looking at spaces still on or very close to Roosevelt Street, hopefully for a larger space than the current location.

“We’re still going to be a staple in this community,” Sapien said. “We want to be able to serve all these new people coming in, just like with Jobot.”

Melt will be hosting a going-away party on Feb. 24 with food and live music.

Steve Frahm (left), owner of Buried Treasures, and representatives from Chi-Town Dogz go over negotiations in Melt ice cream shop in downtown Phoenix Feb. 7, 2018. Melt is set to leave Fifth Street at the end of February, and Chi-Town Dogz could potentially take its place. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Steve Frahm, owner of Buried Treasures, said he will take over the space after Melt leaves at the end of the month. He said he might airbrush the whole outside of the building after Melt leaves.

The space is also already being eyed by at least one potential new business. Chi-Town Dogz, currently a gourmet Chicago-style food mobile setup, is considering opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Melt’s place, according to owner and chef Stewart Meadows.

“I’d like to jump on it,” Meadows said. “With everything building up around here, I think it’d really benefit,” Meadows said, gesturing to the line of apartments on the north side of Roosevelt Street.

Meadows has had his mobile setup for seven years now and has been selling outside of Buried Treasures and Melt every First Friday for the past two.

Frahm also said he was hoping someone would move in selling food, and that Fifth Street didn’t have much to eat after Jobot left.

“I definitely think he’d be good for the neighborhood,” Frahm said. “I’m looking for somebody that has a good reputation to take this space.”

Contact the reporter at Nicole.Neri@asu.edu.

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