Seattle’s long, lingering gray season has never stopped us from enjoying ice cream. Case in point: all the new ice cream shops and locations that have opened since the beginning of the year. But now that the weather has warmed and the sun stays in the sky well past dinner, well, there’s no better time to enjoy a scoop (or two) from one of the city’s newest hot spots for cold treats. With the artisanal ice cream movement showing no signs of slowing, here’s where to go now and what to try.
Salt & Straw
Portland’s preeminent creamery, known for its inventive, chef-driven flavors, finally landed in Seattle in February with two locations. Worth the wait? Absolutely.
Our Pick: There are five flavor collaborations with local businesses (including Elm coffee with Westland whiskey, and Beecher’s cheese and pink peppercorn toffee) that are available only in Seattle, so that’s a good place to start. We particularly love the matcha green tea ice cream, swirled with Ellenos Greek yogurt ($4/single scoop). Capitol Hill, 714 E Pike St.; 206.258.4574; Ballard, 5420 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.294.5581.
In January, this local ice cream (and beer) empire debuted its fifth—and largest—location, which includes about 20 pinball and video games, plus a reservable party room.
Our Pick: Flavors change regularly and always include a few dairy-free options, but you can count on Blue Moon ($3‒$4.50/scoop) as a staple: a Midwest flavor (here made with citrus, vanilla and spices) reminiscent of Froot Loops. Capitol Hill, 328 15th Ave. E; 206.329.1206.
Wanna know why that chocolate scoop isn't melting? Frankie & Jo's says that the plant-based fats they use (in this case, coconut milk) in their chocolate date ice cream are solid at room temp, the scoop doesn't melt into the usual puddle. Science!
Frankie & Jo’s
Plant-based ice cream found a following when Frankie & Jo’s opened its original Capitol Hill location; the Ballard shop opened in March, with the same scoops and a secret patio studded with succulents out back.
Our Pick: The chocolate date ($6/scoop) is delicious, features just four ingredients (coconut milk, dates, cocoa powder and sea salt), and is as close to guilt-free as ice cream can possibly be. Ballard, 1411 NW 70th St.; 206.257.1676.
Cloud Nine Creamery
Westfield Southcenter Mall’s newest ice cream option takes its science lab theme to the extreme: Each scoop is made to order using liquid nitrogen.
Our Pick: The dozens of flavors and ingredients to mix in can cloud your judgment, but first-time visitors should stick with a signature flavor like Cookie Monster ($8.50/serving), which has a vanilla base swirled with chocolate chip cookie dough and Oreos, and comes with a syringe of chocolate syrup. Tukwila, 191 Southcenter Mall; 206.466.4989.
Sweet Lo’s (at Standard Bakery)
Lauren Wilson’s small-batch wholesale creamery, which has rapidly gained popularity, got a big break in May, when she got a new ice cream maker with a much greater capacity. You can find her pints in specialty grocers around town or, as of June, at Standard Bakery.
Our Pick: Try the lemon bar ($4/scoop), which features generous chunks of the tart baked good mixed into a sweet cream base. Pinehurst, 11752 15th Ave. NE; 206.420.4354.