A nearly 130-year-old building at 218 S. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour once was a place to purchase fresh meat from the Steinker or Harlow family.
Since May 2014, it has been one of the few places in the downtown to purchase frozen treats.
On May 1 of this year, Chillicen expanded its menu to include a deli and opened up the front part of the building featuring beach-themed decor.
Now, customers have the option of ordering from the dining area or the walk-up window.
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And instead of just being open May through October, the business operates year-round.
“We had the front room here, and we were paying rent on it, we were paying electric and we were paying all of the expenses for the building year-round, everything of owning a small business, so we thought we might as well try to take advantage of it,” said Janet Pollmann, co-owner of the business with her husband, Leonard Pollmann, and their neighbors, Kelly and Marc Stephens.
The closing of Bevers Family Pharmacy and Deli in the downtown in late March 2016 sparked Chillicen’s owners to add the deli to their business.
They experimented with different food items, including wraps and salads, and received positive feedback from customers.
“The superfood salad in my many trips to New York working the U.S. Open, that was one thing I would get several times a week,” Janet said. “It’s not something that you can find here in town. That was something that I thought I wanted to try. With all of the fitness craze, I thought it would be perfect.”
She also had customers try a unique version of pasta salad.
“I was kind of hesitant about getting it because it was so different,” Janet said. “It is by far our most popular side item.”
The response to the deli has exceeded the owners’ expectations.
“It has been amazing. I am completely overwhelmed with the support. It has been better than I ever dreamed of,” Janet said. “It’s somewhere new to eat, and I’d like to think the majority of our choices are pretty healthy.”
Living near each other just down the street, the Pollmanns and Stephenses had talked for years about opening an ice cream shop. The owner of the building was considering selling it a few years ago, but he encouraged them to open the shop.
In February 2014, the two couples decided to give it a go.
After meeting all of the health department rules and finding equipment, Chillicen opened three months later around the time the Steinker Platz pocket park was dedicated next door.
Being “the new kid on the block,” Janet said they decided to do some advertising, create social media pages and sponsor youth baseball and softball teams to get their name out to people. She joked that kids wanted to play for or against the Chillicen team because they received free shaved ice after games.
Being next to the pocket park also helped business, she said. Two picnic tables and four bistro sets were available for seating near the building, and those are still there today.
“It just gives a nice place to sit and relax and enjoy an ice cream or shaved ice or frozen yogurt,” Janet said. “I think it also offers a safety factor. The kids can go run and play and not have to worry about them running out in the road. It’s just nice seeing the kids in the park playing Frisbee.”
Chillicen started out with 24 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt and 22 flavors of shaved ice.
Some of those flavors have switched over the years, and they now have 35 flavors of shaved ice.
The business’ featured treat, the Tsunami, has been well-received. It’s a blend of vanilla ice cream and shaved ice. Those in the mood for a particular flavor of ice cream and shaved ice can order an Extreme Tsunami.
“The possibilities are endless,” Janet said.
Until this year, Chillicen was only open until Seymour Oktoberfest weekend and reopened during Seymour Main Street’s annual Downtown Trick-or-Treat, when they handed out more than 1,000 samples of ice cream.
Adding the deli allows the business to be open all year.
“That’s huge,” Janet said. “We were all so excited to get going at it.”
Marc was in charge of the dining room decor, which includes beach signs on the walls and surfboards as tables and decorations. Kelly also recently wrote the frozen treats menu on a pair of surfboards.
“The atmosphere here, that’s one thing we get from a majority of people, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh! Look how cool it is in here,'” Janet said. “Marc has done a phenomenal job decorating.”
In terms of the deli, Chillicen offers “samiches,” specialty wraps, salads, side items, a snack menu, drinks and desserts, which includes mini pies, a pie and ice cream parfait and cookies.
There also are daily specials, ranging from gourmet grilled cheese to baked potatoes.
Janet said the Hawaiian gourmet grilled cheese with pulled pork, chopped mango and pepper Jack cheese on a Hawaiian roll recently was a big hit.
“That was our first official sellout,” she said. “That was the first day we offered it, and we sold out by 1 (o’clock).”
Kendra Zumhingst of Seymour said she likes the “Tater Tuesday” special.
“It was a giant tater with bacon bits and cheese,” he said. “It was delicious and meal-sized.”
The deli is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The frozen treats are available until 9 p.m. those days along with 3 to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Anyone with a large order can call ahead, email or send a message through Facebook.
Kate Garrity and Marianne Willacker, both of whom work in downtown Seymour, said they have had good experiences ordering business lunches from Chillicen.
“Having it downtown is great,” Garrity said. “We have picked it up for lunch meetings and can just walk down and pick it up. I got the chicken salad, and it was amazing. Others from the meeting got wraps and salads and all raved about the food.”
Willacker said she had Chillicen decide which sandwiches and wraps to include, and everyone was more than happy with what they got.
“I had the superfood wrap because that was what was left. It was phenomenal,” she said. “As you can see by the menu, the ingredients are not your typical sandwich ingredients. The flavors and textures were like an explosion in my mouth — sweet and savory, soft and crunchy. The tortilla itself was great — good flavor and not slimy like some cold wraps can be. And it didn’t fall apart while I ate it.”
She also liked the pasta salad as a side.
“It was something foodies crave,” Willacker said. “The pasta was cooked al dente. There was sun-dried tomatoes, kale, feta cheese and the dressing was not overpowering. I’d recommend Chillicen to anyone.”
Matt Dennis of Seymour also is a fan of the pasta salad, saying it is “some of the best I’ve ever had” and has a “great twist with the pesto in it.” He likes to pair it with a buffalo chicken wrap.
In the fall, Chillicen plans to offer a few soups each day. That will include chili being a mainstay through the cooler months.
Becky Schepman, executive director of Seymour Main Street, which promotes downtown revitalization, said it’s great to see a business investing and thriving in the downtown.
“I have tried all of the wraps, and they are all amazing. I also have used them to cater to large groups, and the service is impeccable. You call ahead, and they have it ready and waiting,” she said. “Chillicen is just what the downtown needed, and we are blessed to have them here.”
Chillicen is at 218 S. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour.
The menu features a deli along with ice cream, frozen yogurt and shaved ice. There also are daily specials.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday (deli open until 8 p.m.) and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The deli is closed Sunday.
For information or to place a large order to pick up, call 812-871-2445. Chillicen also is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What do you like about Chillicen in downtown Seymour?
“The food is delicious. Nice locally owned business. The superfood salad is awesome. It’s healthy. Made with kale, blueberries, edamame, cranberries and grilled chicken, it’s delicious and healthy. For those of us that choose to eat healthy but get tired of brown bagging it all the time, it is a great option.” Rene Day of Seymour
“Superfood wrap with chicken and the kale mac and cheese are the best. And the Tsunamis are great. I love that we can walk downtown and have a place for kids and dogs to play.” Heather Lewis of Seymour
“I like that you can get shaved ice and ice cream all in one place because I like shaved ice, but my husband likes ice cream. We don’t have to make two stops anymore.” Cassondra Kelly of Seymour
“The pocket park just adds to the atmosphere. My kids love to get an ice cream and throw the Frisbee around in the park next door.” Robin Perry of Freetown
“Fills a void left from losing Bevers Deli. Love that Seymour’s downtown area is coming back to life.” Rita Brandenburg of Crothersville
“My family has eaten pretty much everything on the menu. No complaints on any of it. I love the option of a light lunch.” Barbara Tabeling of Seymour
“Love the fact that you can get healthy food at a great price and fast.” Laura Otte of Columbus
“So far, I’ve had the chicken salad croissant, the chicken bacon ranch wrap and potato salad and loved it all. Good food with lots of flavor, variety, good amount of spices, good prices. Definitely going back.” Rachel Hitch of Paris Crossing