Havana’s famous Coppelia ice cream parlor, known on the island as the Cathedral of Ice Cream, will reopen on Tuesday, June 25, after “an intensive revival process,” the Cuban News Agency (ACN) confirmed.
The installation, located in the central intersection of 23 and L streets, in Vedado, had closed to the public on May 2 for maintenance and restoration as part of the works being carried out for the 500th anniversary of the Cuban capital.
Its closure coincided with that of the ice cream factory of the same name, which was undergoing “technological improvements” with the aim of “creating the conditions for the definitive and stable production of Coppelia ice cream,” as was reported at the time.
Reynaldo García, president of the government in Havana, said that after its restoration, the ice cream parlor, usually visited by thousands of people, “is in optimal condition, with a renewed image” and asked its workers “to give the people the best service.”
García, quoted by ACN, also insisted on “the need to maintain an assortment with the highest quality,” a subject that has been the subject of numerous criticisms by Coppelia’s clients.
The lack of quality of the ice cream, the poor assortment of flavors and the incomplete ice cream balls have been the most frequent complaints of the installation’s visitors, along with the long lines and the inadequate treatment of some employees.
After its closure, the Havana authorities commented on the intention that the ice cream parlor maintain an assortment of at least 15 flavors a day, as it had in its years of glory several decades ago.
The reopening of Coppelia is part of the activities for the summer season, which will officially start on the island in the coming days. As part of its remodeling, bathrooms were repaired, two kiosks were built on K Street for the sale of ice cream cones and the covers of the spaces were replaced.
In addition, the green areas were renovated, elevators to take the ice cream to the tower were rescued and new LED lights were installed, as well as a screen showing images of Havana and a countdown for November 16, day of the 500th anniversary of the city.
Coppelia ice cream parlor took its name from the mythical character of a well-known classic ballet piece and it is precisely the figure of a dancer that identifies the brand of Cuban ice cream that started being sold with 26 flavors in the installation opened on June 4, 1966.
Cuban architect Mario Girona was the author of the design of the ice cream parlor, built on the grounds where there was once a hospital and later a recreational tourist park, and which has the capacity to cater to a thousand patrons simultaneously.
The gastronomic center, which occupies a whole block, was conceived as a large circular dome of 40 meters of light that covers six other spaces, also circular, surrounded by modern skylights, open areas and gardens.
Coppelia was one of the sets for Strawberry and Chocolate, one of Cuban cinematography’s most famous and awarded films, the only one that has achieved a nomination to the Oscars of the Hollywood Academy and whose title is a play on words of two of the ice cream parlor’s most popular flavors.