By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 29, 2020 at 12:02 PM

There's been more news than usual lately at Mickey's Fresh Frozen Custard, 675 Grand Ave., in Hartford, some of it good and some not so much.

Built in 1957, the stand was home to Sean Christman's Pines Drive-In (opened when he was 16!). It was purchased Mike and Jule Groh in 1993 and it is there at Mickey's that their son – Milwaukee-area chef Zak Groh – learned the business, before they sold it eight years later to the Mueller family.

Now, as has been the case for a few decades, Mickey's is always hopping with customers seeking custard, Chicago hot dogs, burgers and more.

Starting with the bad: on Thursday, June 18 – a day on which Mickey's hosts its weekly Cruise Night Classic Car event – neighbors spotted smoke coming from behind the neon sign atop the classic drive-in stand and called 911. The fire department arrived and according to reports put out the fire with minimal smoke and water damage.

That led to the stand being closed for repairs and a quick remodel:

Customers launched a GoFundMe for the stand here and at the link you can see a photo taken during the fire.

As Mickey's wraps up the work and plans to reopen, hopefully on Wednesday, July 1, the new owners – Brett and Lauren Lutz, who bought Mickey's on June 1, just over two weeks before the fire – made their official introduction announcement on Facebook, too:

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.