“This building was built for them 25 years ago,” Full Tilt’s Justin Cline tells CHS. “When they decided to move, Linda Derschang called and said she wanted us to be her neighbor.”
Full Tilt Capitol Hill debuted with a “quiet opening” Thursday night in the former 15th Ave E Starbucks space next to Derschang’s bar Smith. Expect louder nights to come. The fifth Full Tilt in the city, the 15th Ave E edition is now the chain’s largest and the only location with a reservable party room. You will also find a freezer full of typically delicious, uniquely Full Tilt flavors (including vegan varieties) straight out of its South Park ice cream factory.
“This location is off of the ‘Pike/Pine Drinking Corridor,’ and we intend to do some of the same popular events that our patrons in other neighborhoods appreciate like ‘2-Wheel Sundays,’ neighborhood events, and live music!,” Cline said in the announcement of the new Full Tilt.
In addition to ice cream, beer, and music, the plan is for the Capitol Hill shop to also make room for more than 20 pinball and video games. Cline said there is still room to add a few more games to the opening selection including a Pac Man VS four-player machine sure to be popular with game nerds. Expect a frequent turnover thanks to the deep assortment of offerings from 20XX Amusements, the company that owns and maintains Full Tilt’s machines. “Our changeover goes quick,” Cline said.
Cline said one planned Full Tilt first for the Capitol Hill shop is still being worked out. “We’re still working on our soft-serve, trying not to use unnatural stabilizers, keeping fat content as high as possible so it’s not McDonald’s,” Cline said. The hope is for the Capitol Hill shop to be the first to offer soft-serve ice cream made with fresh dairy and Full Tilt-style unique flavors.
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Full Tilt joins nearby vegan sweet shop Sugar Plum in providing treats on 15th Ave E. There was a day when the only ice cream shop around Capitol Hill was Ben and Jerry’s. That has changed: Molly Moon’s (x2), Menchie’s, Old School, Bluebird, Cupcake Royale, Trove, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, and even Chuck’s offer ice cream or frozen soft-serve. Kurt Farm Shop has set a high bar for ice cream deliciousness in Chophouse Row, plant-based ice cream shop Frankie and Jo’s debuted in late 2016, while the Central District Ice Company followed closely behind. Portland’s Salt and Straw will be the next new player to enter the field later this year.
Capitol Hill’s arcade game isn’t quite as rich but older kids will find plenty of opportunities to blow quarters. Raygun Lounge on E Pine has games and pinball for all ages while the Unicorn/Narwhal has lots of machines for the 21+ crowd. John John’s Gameroom, unfortunately, is a goner.
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The obvious pairing of Capitol Hill and Full Tilt has been a drawn out affair. In 2015, Cline and wife Ann Magyar had plans to open a Full Tilt shop specializing in ice cream pops as part of the Uncle Ike’s complex at 15th and Republican but that plan was put on ice. “I’m more comfortable in that area than dealing with the bros in Pike/Pine,” Cline told CHS at the time. “We’re more about kids, family. A punk Chuck E. Cheese.”
Now, Cline and Magyar are also planning three more new openings in addition to getting the Capitol Hill shop off to a good start. Their family at home is also growing with a nine-month-old in the house — the adoption was completed last week, Cline said.
“We are very excited to be opening a location in Capitol Hill. Our ice cream shops are extremely family focused,” Cline said. “We offer flavors that appeal to kids, Northwest craft beers that satisfy adults and classic games that everyone can enjoy.”
Full Tilt Capitol Hill is located at 328 15th Ave E. Hours are noon to 11 PM daily, noon to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. You can learn more at fulltilticecream.com.