Juicebox's Kari Brunson and Hot Cakes founder Autumn Martin have been selling their plant-based ice cream for a while now, mostly online and via pickup at Hot Cakes on Capitol Hill. But on Friday, November 25, the duo will open a proper brick-and-mortar location for Frankie and Jo's, their collaborative line of ice cream made entirely without milk, eggs, or any other animal product. Or gluten, for that matter.
The shop is at 1010 E Union, tucked between Soi and General Porpoise. Its celebration of plants extends to the decor, palm-fronded wallpaper and a plethora of actual, live greenery. But the real excitement lies in the cooler, and the eight rotating flavors ready to be scooped.
There's a 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. It bears repeating: everything in here is vegan and gluten free.
Martin is one of this town's most accomplished conductors of chocolate, caramel, salt, and sugar. Brunson is a nut milk magician, and obviously knows her way around produce. I figured anything these two ladies did would be good. But, wow...this stuff is insane. I have a few pints in my freezer that I keep pulling out to demand that friends, family, and anyone passing through my kitchen try a spoonful. Even the most ardent of omnivores come away impressed with the texture, the depth of flavor, and the sense that this is something legitimately decadent, not a dietary consolation prize.
So hooray for finally being able to sample Frankie and Jo's by the scoop, rather than taking the full plunge for a $14 pint. 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. The shop will debut more flavors in the coming weeks, and hours will be 2–10pm Sunday to Thursday and Friday and Saturday from 2–11. Track all these happenings, and ogle the ice cream flavors, on the Frankie and Jo's website and Facebook.