Oh, glorious day—the wait for, not one, but two Salt and Straw locations in Seattle is nearly over. Go ahead, take a moment to soak that in.
The Portland ice creamery, which has outposts in LA and San Francisco, has finally arrived in the Emerald City. Come February 9 and February 16, the Ballard (5420 Ballard Ave Northwest) and Capitol Hill (711 East Pike St) scoop shops, respectively, will swing open their doors at last.
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.
For each city, Salt and Straw has 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'll look like: a gelatolike scoop of Theo's Big Daddy S'mores dense with smoked-salt chocolate and ribbons of caramel and marshmallow fluff. "We try not to hold back on chocolate," assures Tyler. That logic extends to their take on the ever-classic Gold Bar from Fran's. Back in the '80s when Fran Bigelow ran her confectionery in Madison Valley, she'd bring trimmings of her famous gold bar to an ice cream shop a few blocks away to be made into a frozen treat. Now, Tyler's created his version—salty and thick with caramel ribbons—with the nod of approval from Fran herself after some four different tastings. Then there are a few other choco-collaborations with Intrigue, Fresco, and Forte.
Since the goal's to always "make sure there's life in this menu" things will rotate with seasons while a dozen or so flavors remain steadfast, like Ellenos Yogurt and matcha with dollops of greek yogurt folded in, a raspberry Rachel's Ginger Beer coconut cream sorbet, plus Elm Coffee steeped in Westland Whiskey. For something slightly offbeat, or what Tyler calls the "most divisive flavor in [their] kitchen," there's a Beecher's Cheese with peppercorn toffee. Things might get weird, but always in the best way possible. (For a deeper dive into the minds of Kim and Tyler, see yourself to our feature on the "Flavor Hunters.")
Both locations will have a distinct vibe—custom light fixtures, custom patterned parquet oak floors, a waffle cone graphic on the wall...because of course—that complements the modern scoop shop appeal of other Salt and Straw locations. Hours will also be similar: 11am till 11pm daily.
Godspeed. And see you in line.