By Kylie Wang
Mitch Freedman’s milkshakes are a staple at Mark Light Field, the University of Miami’s baseball field. Fans will wait in a line that often stretches past the entrance to get a taste of the famous shakes, and Freedman serves them all one at a time, making each shake from scratch.
A former college baseball player at the University of Rochester, Freedman has successfully combined his love of sports with his passion for food. His business, originally located in Boston, took off in the 1970s when he met a chemist who had developed a recipe for non-fat ice cream. Armed with that groundbreaking recipe, Freedman moved to Miami to take on a contract at the Miami Beach Convention Center, expecting to move back home after his three-year contract expired.
When frustrations with the national company that did concessions for Mark Light Field grew, Freedman’s business got the opportunity to sign on. Forty years after his move from Boston, Freedman is still in Coral Gables doing what he does best: making South Florida’s most famous milkshakes while getting to be a part of the sport he loves.
There are currently over 30 milkshakes on the menu now, some of which have been named after frequent patrons or special events in the university’s history. The Turnover Chain, a vanilla shake with cupcake and fudge toppings, is the latest, named after the iconic chain given to defensive players on the Miami Hurricanes football team when they recover a fumble or make an interception.
“Most people don’t realize that the food service business is really amazing in that there are so many grades of almost every [ingredient] and you don’t realize it until you hit something that’s either really bad or really good,” says Freedman. “We try to balance the cost factor with quality. If everything’s made with eights instead of fours, you get a [product that’s] an eight instead of a four.” And the secret to Freedman’s extended play? “There’s an old line from MASH that we use here,” he says. “‘We do it one at a time. We do it very well. And then we move on to the next one.’”
Freedman will be honored on the field at Mark Light on Feb. 15 for his 35 seasons of servicing fans at the ballpark.