The long-anticipated wait is finally over. Salt & Straw has opened its doors in Ballard and is ready to serve you their inventive, melt-in-your-mouth artisanal ice cream. If you’re thinking this is just another run-of-the-mill ice cream shop…think again. The family-owned business, which has gained a cult-like following since its first opening in 2011, is known for conjuring up wildly imaginative city-specific flavors made with ingredients sourced from local businesses. If you’re ready to take your taste buds to a whole new level, read on for the scoop on this delicious addition to the Emerald City’s burgeoning dessert empire.
You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for This Ice Cream!
Seven years ago, owners Kim and Tyler Malek (they’re cousins) grew their pushcart business into their first scoop shop in Portland’s Arts District. Serving handmade, small-batch ice cream, the shop quickly attracted long lines and the duo gained a cult-like following for their high-quality, artisanal ice cream flavors. After expanding to three stores and a soft serve bar in the Portland area, the cousins headed south (adding locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego) and have now returned to Seattle (prior to moving to Portland Kate lived in Ballard and Tyler in Snohomish), to open their first (and biggest shop) in Ballard and a second shop on Capitol Hill.
Made in small batches, Salt & Straw’s ice creams combine local, in-season organic and sustainable ingredients into unique flavors you can’t find anywhere else. Their menu has two parts: “classics” which are permanent menu fixtures that are so beloved they remain year-round and “limited edition” flavors that rotate each month. Both locations (Ballard and Capitol Hill) will feature 11 classics including Honey Lavender (a delightfully light purple-hued treat), Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons (featuring hand-burned caramel with a deep, rich flavor you won’t find in your grocery aisle), Chocolate Gooey Brownie (hot chocolate ice cream with hearty chunks of chewy brownie bits made with homemade marshmallow fluff), Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper (Pacific NW strawberries with a shmidge of homey balsamic vinegar and a little black pepper to bring the berries into their happy place) and Beecher’s Cheese with Peppercorn Toffee (aged peppercorn Marco Polo cheese drizzled into salted ice cream with a hint of homemade green and black peppercorn butter brittle for a fruity, salty, savory trifecta of flavor only Salt & Straw could conjure up). Other classics include Double Fold Vanilla, Elm Coffee & Westland Whiskey, Ellenos Yogurt & Matcha, Rachel’s Raspberry Ginger Beer and Coconut Mint Chip Cupcake.
The opening menu, created by Tyler and just in time for Valentine’s Day, will feature five different limited-edition chocolate flavors which Salt & Straw is calling “The Seattle Chocolatier Series.” Inspired by five local chocolate makers and chocolatiers, the oh-so dreamy ice cream flavors include Fran’s Almond Gold Bar, Intrigue’s Green Basil & Chocolate Cocoa Nibs, Theo’s Big Daddy S’mores, Forte’s Lemon & Pepper White Chocolate and Fresco’s Pure Chocolate Bar.
As if you needed another reason to order a double scoop, Salt & Straw also believes in giving back to the community. They partner annually with local schools and non-profit organizations that support equality and childhood food security and also treat their employees to a full range of benefits including health insurance, paid time off and professional training. Psst! On Feb. 9 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., the Ballard shop will hold a pop-up shop outside its doors with $1 scoops. All proceeds from the two-hour event will benefit Farestart, the nonprofit that offers food service job training to people struggling with poverty, addiction, homelessness or a criminal record.
If you don’t want to make the trek to Ballard or Capitol Hill, Salt & Straw’s ice cream is now available for delivery through Postmates. Simply place your order online or through the app and you can have pints of Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons or Chocolate Gooey Brownie delivered to your doorstep in minutes.
Good to Know
Salt and Straw is currently working on plans for a grab-and-go freezer at Sea-Tac Airport, in the new Marche Food Hall. The ice cream icon will join other spin-offs of popular Seattle eateries like Li’l Woody’s, Good Bar, Macrina Bakery and Cafe Ladro, which means you’ll probably want to add some extra time to your next airport visit.
Ice cream is available in scoops served in cups, waffle cones and sundaes, as well as by the pint. Single scoops are $4.95; double scoops are $6.95; kids’ scoops (the size of a golf ball) are $3.95; split scoops (a single scoop split between flavors) are an additional $.50; tasting flights (which include four kids’ scoops) are $11.45; and pints are $10.50.
Salt & Straw sells a few sweets from Seattle producers, as well take-home pints and merchandise. And if you’re wondering if they make vegan ice cream, they do and it’s delish!
Ballard (opening Feb. 9)
5420 Ballard Ave. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98107
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Capitol Hill (opening Feb. 16)
714 E. Pike St.
Seattle, Wa 98122
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Have you tried Salt & Straw ice cream yet? What’s your favorite flavor? Dish in the comments below!
—Kristina Moy (all photos courtesy of the writer)