Back in the day before there was such a thing, the lack of Capitol Hill ice cream was a neighborhood meme. In 2017, the situation has changed. While there isn’t yet a scoop shop on every block, Capitol Hill is home to some of the city’s finest — and most interesting — ice creams and frozen treats. And now the you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream scene is about to get even more interesting.
Portland’s Salt and Straw has been flirting with Seattle since last summer. This year, CHS has learned the culinary-focused ice cream brand known fascinating flavors will continue its expansion beyond PDX and LA with a new shop on Capitol Hill at Pike and Boylston inside the preservation-friendly Pike Motorworks development that stretches a full block in the heart of Pike/Pine.
Plans filed with the city indicate a shop directly on the corner of the huge complex neighboring three other tenants and, eventually, the big investment, 10-barrel Redhook brewery and pub that is slated to open this summer.
Founded in 2011, Salt and Straw owner Kim Malek says she moved to Portland around twenty years ago but didn’t get around to her dream for years. “We’re hoping to create the kind of company that’s fun to support, work for, and partner with. We’re about building strong local community – both in the neighborhoods where we do business and by purchasing as many local products as possible (to keep our money in Oregon and help create stronger local economies),” she writes on the company’s “about” page. “But at the end of the day, we just really hope you enjoy the ice cream.”
UPDATE: Salt and Straw’s Tyler Malek tells CHS the new shop is targeting a late summer opening and is planning a menu emphasizing local Seattle-area partners and ingredients.
“We are rewriting the menu to create new stories based on new partnerships,” Malek said.
One of those partners will likely be Rachel Marshall. The Maleks have already tried about five different flavors featuring her Rachel’s Ginger Beer.
The partners and special ingredients make Salt and Straw unique, Tyler Malek said. So does change. You can expect a new menu every four weeks or so.
Malek said he the company’s some 300 employees are also an important part of the business and Salt and Straw is looking forward to operating under Seattle’s recent labor-friendly changes in business regulations. Though he says he hasn’t yet sorted out how best to handle tipping. “We’re trying to figure that out,” Malek said.
As for choosing Capitol Hill as the beginning of expansion in the Seattle area, Malek said the cousins were surprised by how much Pike/Pine has changed and excited to be part of the new energy in the neighborhood.
“The growth on Pike was something that we had no idea was going on until we came up,” he said. “There’s a new life.”
Born as a pushcart business, Salt and Straw currently operates three shops in Portland, five around Los Angeles, and is planning a San Francisco expansion along with its E Pike plans. In comparison, Molly Moon’s — perhaps Salt and Straw’s most comparable existing player in Capitol Hill ice cream — scoops in eight locations around Seattle… and none in LA.
Salt and Straw will open in late summer at 711 E Pike. Watch for a few more pop-ups in the meantime. You can learn more at saltandstraw.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- The Harvard and Olive Delicatessen is coming to E Olive Way.
- Now open on 15th Ave E: Olive Tree. And coming soon: Aviv Hummus Bar.
- Now open in Chophouse Row: Sundry.
- Now open on Bellevue: Ghost Note Coffee.
- Now open on 10th Ave: The Runaway.
- Poquitos and Rhein Haus guys opening yet another thing… this time White Center.
- Looking good, Scratch Deli
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