Right now a 1938 soda fountain—nearly 12 feet long, manufactured by the Liquid Carbonic company of Terre Haute, Indiana—is slowly making its way from New Hampshire to Pike Place Market, with a significant stop in Chicago for restoration. When it arrives, that fountain will be the centerpiece of Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream, opening in early 2016 on First Avenue.
Shug’s began as Paul Dormann's longtime dream of opening an ice cream window. In business, Dormann is a partner in the ubercharming Tilikum Place Cafe; in life he's partners with Colleen Wilkie, who also has plenty of restaurant industry experience, but says she never cared much for ice cream—until she got pregnant.
As the couple awaited the arrival of their daughter in 2014, talk of a walkup window became talk of a small shop, and then a properly old-school soda fountain. Finding an empty space in Pike Place Market made things official.
Right now the former Dragon's Toy Box address is in the thick of construction; when it's all done (and that giant fountain arrives) gooseneck taps will dispense housemade sodas. Scoops from Lopez Island Creamery—about 15 or 20 different flavors—will form the base of sundaes, floats, and banana splits. A walkup window, Dormann’s original dream, will ply First Ave passersby with ice cream.
All told Shug’s will have about 40 seats, including a row of swivel stools in front of the fountain, and serve beer, wine, and a handful of low-key soups and sandwiches. The space even has a party room, should you want to host your own ice cream social, and there’s talk of some sidewalk seating in the future.
While plenty of details are still in flux, Dormann and Wilkie both grew up visiting Pike Place Market and take their new role as merchant stewards seriously; they’re hoping to become a traditional stop for local marketgoers, as fundamental to the Pike Place Market visit as a crumpet or a piroshky.
More details on Shug's as we get closer to an opening date.