Salt & Straw Scoop Shop Sneak-a-Peek

Sometimes, you’re sitting in your kitchen, reading Saveur and seeing how many malt balls you can hide in your chub rolls, wondering if you really should have eaten those last six carne asada tacos and contemplating becoming a healthier person, maybe going on the Kumquat Diet or becoming a Juice Fast Coach and then Ping! An invite to a scoop shop preview party arrives in your inbox.

And suddenly you’re on your feet and leaving a trail of malt balls in your wake all the way to Alberta Street, where Salt & Straw has just thrown open the doors of their brand new ice cream shop and beaming super scoopers are asking you what you want off the menu. Anything! Everything! Whatever you want! It’s all yours! And your inner five-year-old self faints dead away and your chub rolls are rippling ecstatically and high fiving each other and you wanna shoop scoop ba-doop, scoop ba-doop, scoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop.

Today was one of those days.

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Patio in progress

If you’ve patronized the cheerful little Salt & Straw ice cream cart at NE Alberta & 18th this summer, you’ve already had a taste of the dream–scoops of Pear with Blue Cheese and Brown Ale Bacon and Honey Balsamic Strawberry with cracked black pepper, all made with ingredients from a lineup of sources that reads like the Who’s Who of Oregon farms and artisan producers.

Tomorrow, founders Tyler Malek (head ice cream maker) and Kim Malek (culinary director) take things one scoop further by opening their very own shop just up the street from the cart at NE Alberta & 21st, complete with walls and a roof and indoor plumbing and lots of gorgeous reclaimed wood and an impressive collection of vintage ice cream containers and dairy relics painstakingly sourced by Seattle Junk Love‘s Sarah Littlefield, who is a professional “picker,” which sounds even more interesting than being a Juice Fast Coach.

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The menu’s filled with all sorts of cool ‘n creamy sweet treats–think milkshakes made with Pok Pok chef Andy Ricker’s honey and pomegranate drinking vinegars (which are also for sale in the beverage case), and plump scoops of Honey Lavender ice cream made with lavender from Red Ridge Farms or Banana Walnut with Spicy Monkey Caramel made with New Deal’s Hot Monkey Vodka, and refreshing floats made with Honey Balsamic Strawberry ice cream suspended in Rhubarb Dry Soda. And for a mere dollar, you can add Unicorn Dust to anything.

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Made with Hot Monkeys!

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Drink Pink: Honey Balsamic Strawberry ice cream & Rhubarb Dry Soda float

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Since insulin levels shouldn’t have to spike on ice cream alone, the shop has an impressive selection of local goodies–big glass jars of Two Tarts cookies, Pie Spot pieholes, Woodblock chocolate bars, and a variety of vintage sweets, all of which you can eat at the window bar whilst spying on the kaleidoscopic Alberta Street passerby or at the big wooden communal table beneath the revolving art show (this month courtesy of artist/Salt & Straw scooper Neil Perry).

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“We opened with our little push cart just over two months ago and feel so lucky to have had such an incredible response,” said Kim, who was working behind the counter, scooping and blending and assembling floats like a tireless ice cream fairy. “We hope the new store on Alberta Street will become a gathering spot for the community and a destination for Portlanders looking for a good time.”

And if by a good time, she means a serious feel-good ice cream high and blissed-out chub rolls, then Mission Accomplished.

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Salt & Straw opens Friday, 8/12 at high noon, and will be open seven days a week thereafter, from noon to 11pm.
2035 NE Alberta St. * 503.208.3867 * saltandstraw.com