Juicebox’s Kari Brunson and Hot Cakes founder Autumn Martin created a lineup of vegan ice cream that’s crazy decadent, deeply flavored, and in no way a dietary consolation prize. Their scoop shop—the original on Capitol Hill and latest spot in Ballard which opened this month—serves frequently rotating flavors, like brown sugar vanilla, gingered golden milk (which tastes, in the best possible way, of pure ginger), and salty caramel ash that’s sweet and salty and the color of a thunderstorm cloud. Sorbets include a beet-strawberry-rose combo and concord grape shrub. There’s a pumpkin butter seasonal flavor studded with cornbread and spiced pecans and my personal favorite—chocolate date, which packs all the richness of a date milkshake. Ice cream comes in a cup or gluten-free vanilla-maple waffle cone and you can top them with things like chocolate magic shell, whipped coconut cream, or brownie chunks. It bears repeating: everything in here is vegan and gluten free—and great.
When Full Tilt husband-wife team Justin Cline and Ann Magyar saw a survey of White Center residents indicating they’d like to see an ice cream parlor open nearby, the couple decided to give it a go. Cline, an ex-yacht builder, went all mad scientist in his home kitchen, mixing up ingredients you’d never find at Baskin Robbins (bacon ice cream, anyone?). But he wasn’t in it just to sell scoops. An avid pinballer—he used to live above Shorty’s, the infamous Belltown bar and arcade—Cline went out and leased eight pinball machines and arcade games, envisioning an every-walk-of-life-welcome neighborhood hangout. Then he started scheduling local music talent—from high school acts to seasoned DJs—to perform Saturdays at all-ages shows. The result: a nonbar, noncafe; to relax and loiter in with friends while enjoying a truly original, ever changing array of frozen flavors. Adding to its other four locales (U District, Ballard, Columbia City, White Center), Full Tilt calls Capitol Hill home, too. Specifically in the former Starbucks on 15th Ave.
Cousins and owners Kim and Tyler Malek founded Salt and Straw in 2011, dispensing flavors that take people on a rollercoaster ride—the sweet, nostalgia-hitting highs, the gasp-inducing drops into savory notes. And much like thrilling attractions, Salt and Straw tends to draw lines. People are known to queue down the block to get a taste of whatever boundaries and experiments Tyler, the flavor nerd of the pair, has churned into creamy goodness. Now the Portland-born ice creamery has two locations in Seattle proper in Ballard and on Capitol Hill. Wherever Salt and Straw lands, each city boasts a handful of tailormade ice creams created from collaborating with local farmers, tea makers, maybe a brewer. For Seattle, Tyler wanted to start out by telling the story of our homegrown chocolate makers and chocolatiers. What that looks like: a gelatolike scoop of Theo’s Big Daddy S’mores dense with smoked-salt chocolate and ribbons of caramel and marshmallow fluff. That logic extends to their take on the ever-classic Gold Bar from Fran’s. And to the unlikely hometown favorite so far: Beecher’s Cheese with peppercorn toffee.