Mason Jar Cafe owners take over former GelatoWorks

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — The Water Street GelatoWorks has new ownership and a new menu this year.

Now called The Sweet Bar by Mason Jar, the gelato-centric shop at 138 Water St. in Benton Harbor opened Wednesday.

Jayme Cousins and her husband, Abel Martinez, owners of The Mason Jar Cafe, were approached by the landlords of the building that houses GelatoWorks about buying a gelato cooler machine. When Cousins turned them downed, they asked if she was willing to take over the building and run the business.

“Clearly we did not have enough to do,” Cousins said with a laugh. “It’s nice to see this business keep going. This area is so phenomenal. The more business we can draw in down here, the better it is for everybody.”

Cousins said she became enthralled with the Benton Harbor Arts District prior to opening her farm-to-table diner at 210 Water St. a little over two years ago. The Mason Jar Cafe has only increased in popularity since then.

Amidst all the busy days, Cousins said The Sweet Bar by Mason Jar could grant her a reprieve.

The Mason Jar is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Sweet Bar by Mason Jar will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. during the week and stay open an hour later on the weekends.

The Sweet Bar will be closed on Tuesdays as a reprieve for Cousins, who will work at The Mason Jar Cafe and The Sweet Bar.

“Luckily, my husband is the chef over (at The Mason Jar Cafe), so he is watching that while I’m doing this,” she said. “Without him we wouldn’t be event talking about doing this.”

The menu will carry the familiar gelato shakes, but also expand with root beer floats, coffee floats, frappuccinos, cold-brew coffee on draft and various desserts.

The Sweet Bar has about eight employees, but Cousins said some of them work in a dual capacity at The Mason Jar.

“We’ll see how those hours go for us, but we’ve had a little bit of foot traffic through here,” Cousins said. “Hopefully it brings more down to Benton Harbor.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 24, 2016)

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