LOGAN SQUARE — You know it's spring when Miko's is open.
The popular Italian ice stand in Logan Square will open Thursday afternoon while the Bucktown location will open Friday.
Both Miko's Italian Ice locations close for the winter each year and then re-open when the weather warms up a bit, making it a sort of unofficial marker for the arrival of spring.
"People always say that we decide when spring starts when we open," owner Zach Roombos said with a laugh.
Amazingly though, Roombos said the shops weren't opening any later than average this year.
"Typically, we wait for the first 60-degree weekend in the spring," he said. "We've opened late April some years because the weather wasn't cooperating, but typically we try to open mid-April."
Last year for instance, Miko's opened on April 6, though two years ago they opened in March when Chicago saw a string of 80-degree days.
For 17 years since opening the Bucktown location — the Logan Square Miko's opened two years later — the Roombos family has sort of just felt things out and opened when that spring feeling hit the air.
Roombos said they were going to open both stands on Friday, but Wednesday's beautiful weather prompted him to open the Logan Square location Thursday.
"The weather's just too nice," he said. "People are so cooped up after the winter I feel like it's going to be good — and we're ready, so we might as well open up."
Generally, Miko's keeps about 12 fresh fruit flavors on hand that change depending on what's in season.
Roombos said the shops will be opening the season with six of their standbys — lemon, strawberry, coconut, mango, banana and passion fruit — and add more as time goes on.
"We'll get some berry flavors in July, and we'll do honeydew and watermelon in June or May, depending on how warm it gets," he said.
The slew of other flavors includes lime, kiwi, pineapple, peach, apricot and green tea among others. All told, 23 flavors will make an appearance over the spring, summer and fall.
"We try to always have 12, but this weekend we're just going to have the few," he said.
Miko's Italian Ice at 2236 N. Sacramento Ave. will open at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Bucktown location, 1846 N. Damen Ave., will open 2 p.m. Friday.
Both will then be open 2-8 p.m. weekdays and noon-8 p.m. on weekends, weather permitting. Hours will expand as the season goes on.