'Tis no longer ice cream season, but that shouldn’t stop Parfait’s legions of fans from lining up to get into owner Adria Shimada’s new Ballard digs at 2034 NW 56th Street. The brick-and-mortar manifestation of her mobile ice creamery will go beyond the organic, made-from-scratch scoops that have made her truck a destination among the farmers market set. At the Greenfire campus digs, you’ll also be able to have your ice cream in the form of cakes, sandwiches, profiteroles, and push pops; there will also be nonfrozen baked goods like madeleines and canneles, and house-made sodas that Shimada is adding to the menu.
“This shop is a dream come true for me, in so many ways,” says Shimada of setting up shop in the neighborhood where she lives. “Something I really always wanted for Parfait to do was to be part of a community. And having a permanent location is going to accomplish that even further.”
Hours for Parfait will be noon-11 daily, starting...today (Thursday, November 14). Here are just a few reasons why we’ll be among the first in line:
Ice cream—year-round. Fans of the orange-and-brown truck are accustomed to the crippling disappointment that comes with Parfait’s annual winter hiatus. But the brick-and-mortar location will be open all year, fueling even the chilliest Seattle days with flavors like butter toffee crunch, Meyer lemon, Earl Grey, cinnamon stick, and vegan pear and vanilla sorbet. Shimada says she’s excited to finally be able to introduce fall and holiday flavors as well, like pumpkin spice ice cream pies available for Thanksgiving and gingerbread men ice cream sandwiches.
No compromises on the “made from scratch” motto. Not even for Oreos. Shimada says that even with an expanded operation, every ice cream (and cake, confection, soda syrup, etc.) will be made from real, organic ingredients, just as its always been. She’s so steadfast about this that it has prevented her from recreating her own personal childhood favorite, cookies and cream. “I just refuse to mix Oreos into my ice cream,” Shimada says. There’s good news, though: she’s working on a facsimile that should blow any processed sandwich cookie out of the water.
A kitchen built for ice cream. Since the Greenfire campus is a new building, Shimada got to build her dream kitchen. One specifically tailored to making ice cream, with tons of extra burners for cooking custards and sauces, and a churning machine (called a batch freezer) located strategically close to the walk-in freezer so concoctions can immediately be whisked off to chilly environs. Shimada also reimagined the spare industrial space with butcher-block countertops, crisp white wainscoting, and other touches meant to evoke a patisserie. A large bank of windows gives customers a vew into the mint stemming, egg cracking, and other action in the kitchen. Shimada wants people to see, "We're actually cooking, not just assembling."
Treats for visitors young and old (well, older). Shimada’s business and family are inextricably intertwined—she found out she was pregnant with her now-4-year-old son just two weeks before she launched the truck in 2009. It seems obvious that an ice cream shop would be family-friendly, but Parfait’s atelier will go one step further, offering mini versions of treats from scoops to ice cream sandwiches, and giving kiddos something to play with courtesy of Ballard toy store Clover. “There’s a lot of good ice cream in Seattle, but it’s become so adult,” Shimada says, talking about the incorporation of booze and fancier flavor combinations. “Parfait is pretty classic in general. It makes sense for us to be really family friendly." However, adults can get grown-up flavors like rosemary pine nut brittle, pour-over coffee...and hopefully a few moments of peace courtesy of all those kid-friendly touches.
The mint’s not the only thing that’s green. Long a proponent of the area’s organic farming community, Shimada is working with Seattle Urban Farm Company—the same folks behind Bastille’s well-known rooftop garden—on stocking a few planter boxes out front with herbs and berries that she’ll use in Parfait’s ice cream flavors and soda syrups. Look for rosemary, sage, spearmint, anise hyssop, verbena, blueberries, black currants, and more, among ornamental flowers.