Since opening Juicebox in 2013, owner Kari Brunson has proven she has a knack for bringing out the beautiful flavors in produce, and for making nutrient-packed foods feel like decadence. Meanwhile, Autumn Martin has spent the past eight years blowing our minds with her concoctions of chocolate and caramel and ice cream and salt, in clever combinations.
So the news that these two talented women are joining forces to open an ice creamery that's totally plant-based (read: no dairy or eggs) is exciting whether or not you have any dietary restrictions, or familiarity with the world of nut milks.
Their shop, Frankie and Jo's, is due this summer, though Brunson says the location is still up in the air. Wherever they land, they will produce ice cream there from scratch—including the bases—using housemade nut milks, and natural sugars like dates, honey, and maple syrup. The flavors will be a mix of classics (mint chip brownie, chocolate, toasted coconut cream pie) and some combos that call out to Hot Cakes' cozy-sophisticated vibe, like roasted banana, tahini, and peanut, or miso caramel and espresso. A few more subtle flavors, like vanilla, will use organic cane sugar.
Nut meal leftover from the milk-making process will get ground into flour for gluten-free waffle cones. Brunson has also dreamed up a line of sorbets reminiscent of her fruit and vegetable juices. Right now she's talking about beet, apple and rose, lemongrass, ginger, and lime, or one simply called "bright green kale."
Who knew that Martin, despite being the queen of the boozy milkshake, is allergic to dairy? She spent years thinking about a shop that made properly creamy, flavorful ice cream that didn't involve cows or additives like gum stabilizers. She and Brunson had long been acquaintances in Seattle's restaurant circles; Martin eventually asked if she might tap Brunson's smarts regarding organic fruit and vegetables, and her deep knowledge of the milking of almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews—a labor-intensive process indeed. As the ladies put it on their newly minted Community Sourced Capital page, "Frankie and Jo's isn't just about serving those who can't tolerate cow dairy—we simply enjoy the flavors of these plants, seeds and nuts."
Cities like New York and LA are seeing more restaurants that lean away from wheat and dairy, a sentiment people seem to share in Seattle, as evidenced by newcomers like the Mamnoon sibling Anar.
"It's like our two businesses had a baby," says Brunson. Plans call for more Frankie and Jo's locations after the first one gets off the ground. Keep tabs on Facebook and Instagram for more details as they lock down a location.