NEW ALBANY — In February 2017 fire ravaged a section of the Breakwater Apartments in downtown New Albany. The units were nearly complete when the unthinkable occurred.
But in two years, those units have been bulldozed and rebuilt, and the Breakwater is at capacity. Now the final piece of the puzzle is about to come on board.
Bliss Artisan, an ice cream and handcrafted pizza shop, is expected to open in a few weeks on the Breakwater property. The restaurant will occupy 1,300 square feet of the community building, at Fifth and Spring streets, according to Austin Carmony, vice president of development/principal for Flaherty & Collins Properties. The New Albany Board of Public Works & Safety approved a sign for the building Tuesday and work continues to get the space ready for the ice cream and pizza business.
"They will round out all the space at the Breakwater. There will be no more retail," Carmony said. "We are at capacity."
While the restaurant will be located on the Breakwater grounds, it will be open to the public.
The business has grown from its humble beginnings in New Harmony in 2012. Angie and Mike "Woody" Woodburn have locations in Mount Vernon and Henderson, Ky. New Albany will be their third spot and another location will open in Tell City in a few months. The ice cream is also sold wholesale to different areas of the Midwest — from Branson, Mo., to Kentucky.
"They have a great story," Carmony said. "The opening of Bliss will round out the success of the property."
Bliss is known for its unique homemade ice cream. According to its website, the ice cream "is unique in that we handcraft it [artisan] in very small batches. What sets us apart is the density. We do not whip a lot of air into our ice cream resulting in an incredibly creamy texture. We jokingly tell people 'a pint of our ice cream probably weighs as much as most store-bought half gallon boxes of ice cream.'
They also do not offer syrups or toppings, saying that "we feel our ice cream is perfect without adding any additional toppings or syrups to it. We hope that our passion is evident with every bite of ice cream."
The Woodburns own the business. Besides homemade ice cream and pizza, which is cooked in three minutes inside a stone oven, they sell grilled wraps and salads. Angie Woodburn said they are excited about the New Albany location, which will be managed by their son Matt.
"We looked at that location last year. We are excited about being part of the downtown and community," she said. "We think it's a good location that will be an asset to that complex."
There will be seating inside the restaurant as well as outside seating when the weather turns warmer.
"We are really excited about the partnership," Carmony said. "The property has been a huge success. We are happy to contribute to the growth of downtown New Albany."
Woodburn said during the school year, Bliss Artisan has a happy hour for students, from kindergarten through college, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday where all items are half off.
She called her husband the "mad scientist of ice cream." The unique flavors and combinations have become favorites for many, she said.
She said the restaurant also donates 25 percent of its sales on the first Monday of every month to a worthy organization in the community.