Ice cream is never boring. But it's especially exciting when topped with warm housemade apple compote, or served with candied pecans atop a bruleed banana. Fashioned into a float with root beer sparkling wine sounds pretty great, too.
All these things will soon be happening at Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream, which should open early next week at 1525 First Ave in Pike Place Market (next door to fellow newcomer Old Stove Brewing). As the name implies, the action here is centered on a restored 1930s-era soda fountain, dispensing carbonated water (mix it with housemade syrups in flavors like cherry, lime, orange, coffee, or vanilla and you've got a classic soda) and 15 flavors from Lopez Island Creamery, including three vegan varieties.
Sure, you could just order a scoop in a fresh waffle cone. But Shug's has a bunch of fun throwback ice cream concoctions, like cherry phosphates and lime rickeys, a proper egg cream, and a list of novelty sundaes like the brown derby, wherein a Mighty-O doughnut is topped with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.
I love a gonzo ice cream flavor as much as anyone, but there's a distinct pleasure in rediscovering soda fountain classics. Especially when they involve housemade add-ons like apple compote, caramel, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, and graham cracker crumble.
Not that every creation here is retro. Shug's co-founder Colleen Wilkie is especially partial to the ice cream sandwiches made with peanut butter cookies from nearby Three Girls Bakery, bookending a round of Skagit strawberry ice cream and strawberry jam. "It really tastes like a peanut butter sandwich." Then there's the Shugsicle, made with the house orange soda and a scoop of vanilla.
Wilkie and Paul Dormann, her partner in both Shug's and in life, have fashioned a cheerful space with a robin's egg–blue ceiling and a mural of London (in honor of their daughter, who's named for the city) behind the shelves of carefully collected vintage glassware. There's a party room in the back, and a walkup window facing First Ave that serves scoops, sodas, floats, and Caffe Fiore's organic espresso.
Shug's also has beer and wine, including Champagne by the glass and a few cocktails made with ice cream and/or fortified wines. Stave off the inevitable sugar crash with the small "nosh" menu of soups, sandwiches, and salads. Both soda fountain and walkup window are open seven days a week from 10 to 10, though there's talk of opening the window earlier for morning coffee.
Keep tabs on all things Shug's via its Facebook page.