It was an inescapable meeting point for groups of friends, boyfriends and families for the last 55 years. Located in the strategic corner of Mercedes and Fernández de Enciso, in front of Plaza Arenales, the iconic Monte Olivia ice cream parlor It was, without a doubt, the nerve center of Villa Devoto for many years.
In the last hours, its owner, Salvador Viscomi – known in the neighborhood as « Turi » – decided to put an end to a dream that started in 1966. Through a letter addressed to customers, neighbors and suppliers, the businessman reported the reasons for the closure. « Today due to the complicated economic situation that we have to live caused by the pandemic and added to the circumstantial fact that they have set us excessive rent in dollars, which is unsustainable for our finances, we cannot continue with the activity of our beloved ice cream parlor « .
This sad denouement had had a prelude at the end of 2016, when the ice cream parlor was closed for a time due to differences between the two partners at that time, which led them not to present the financial statements since 2012. The conflict led to a judicial intervention and in a later reopening.
However, from there, nothing was as it was. At that time, the entire area, and the streets surrounding the square, began to transform into a great gastronomic pole. And within that transformation, new competitors appeared for the historic ice cream parlor. A few meters from there, he settled Lucciano’s, a chain that proposes a more renewed concept, and just two blocks away it planted its flag Rapa Nui which, like Monte Olivia, ventures into the premium artisan ice cream segment, with a price per kilo that exceeds $ 1,000.
Furthermore, he also had to face each other with a lot of coffees that landed on the same block and arrived to compete with the business they offered during the winter. Café Martínez and Havanna were the two chains that came to the neighborhood, although other proposals were also added.
Gone is the time when Monte Olivia was the lord and master of the entire area. Those who pass through Devotee of a lifetime remember an anecdote that paints the sense of belonging that their customers had with the ice cream parlor. At the beginning of this century, when I was riding the crest of the wave, the Freddo chain decided to settle just 80 meters from the historic trade. Freddo’s adventure lasted a few months. Devotees continued to choose their childhood and adolescent ice cream parlor and the chain’s premises remained half-empty most of the day. Within a few months, Freddo threw in the towel and left Devoto.