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Portland ice cream shop Salt & Straw coming to Palo Alto

Uploaded: Jun 4, 2018
Salt & Straw, a string of ice cream shops born in Portland, Oregon, is opening a new location in downtown Palo Alto.

The ice cream company, known for inventive flavors that draw from local products, first expanded to the Bay Area in 2017 with two shops in San Francisco. The Palo Alto outpost will open this fall at 250 University Ave., Suite 110, the space recently vacated by candy shop Rocket Fizz.

Cousins Kim and Tyler Malek started Salt & Straw in 2011 and now operate 15 locations, including in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle. They teamed up after Kim tired of working in the Fortune 500 world (she had wanted to open an ice cream scoop shop since 1996) and Tyler decided to attend culinary school, according to the Salt & Straw website.

All Salt & Straw ice cream is made in small batches using local, organic ingredients.


A cone with scoops of chocolate and strawberry Salt & Straw ice cream. Photo by Leela Cyd Ross/courtesy Salt & Straw.

Salt & Straw has a stable of flavors that are always available, such as sea salt with caramel ribbons and honey lavender, but rotates in seasonal flavors on a monthly basis. This month, the shops debuted special flavors created by chefs in cities Salt & Straw operates in. Other collaborations have included flavors created by local elementary school students and ones using excess ingredients to highlight the country's food-waste problem.

The company also collaborates with local vendors to create flavors unique to each region. The Palo Alto shop, for example, will have freckled mint chip made with chocolate from San Francisco's TCHO and another flavor made with Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam cheese, Acme Bread and sour cherry jam.

"At Salt & Straw, we find so much inspiration from our communities so we're thrilled to be opening in Palo Alto, an epicenter for creativity and innovation," Kim Malek said in a press release. "We can't wait to be part of the fabric of Palo Alto and connect with such a thriving and vibrant neighborhood."

The shop will also serve milkshakes, ice cream sundaes and to-go pints. The space will be have "custom design details that recall a modern-day mercantile," the release states.

There's no shortage of ice cream and related desserts in downtown Palo Alto, with Scoop Microcreamery, Cream, Gelataio, Gelato Classico and Fraiche all nearby. Creamistry opened on University Avenue in 2016 but recently closed.

Salt & Straw is also opening in Burlingame this fall. Stay tuned for a firm opening date in Palo Alto.

Comments

 +   18 people like this
Posted by Diner, a resident of another community,
on Jun 4, 2018 at 10:27 pm

Do these ice cream businesses not realize that the Palo Alto market is already oversaturated? We do not need another gourmet ice cream shop!


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jun 5, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Salt & Straw is a great place in Portland and I am looking forward to having one in Palo Alto. There are other great places in PA and this will be one as well. Better than Ben and Jerry's!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:47 am

Decent restaurants cannot afford good cooks, good service of good ingredients because all their hard work and best intentions get sucked up in rent by greedy real estate speculators.

So, it is easy, profitable, minimal to no labor on-site and one or two people who can operate a cash register and an ice-cream scoop to make money for a business.

The rentier class has this whole Bay Area by the short and curlies and they will just keep pulling until everything is turned to whatever the opposite of ice cream is.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Steve, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:08 pm

I wish them luck. If its excellent ice cream, then it should do well despite the competition. And with respect to rent, its the market that determines the price, not the "greedy real estate speculators." If rent is too high, then nobody signs a lease and the landlord either sits on an empty building or lowers the rent until it attracts a user. Nothing greedy about it...the same greedy landlords couldn't give retail space away a few short years ago...


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Steve, there is no free market in Bay Area real estate, especially commercial real estate for many reasons. In a situation like this it just doesn't work, which is why most restaurants are so much worse than they used to be in the past. I guess for people who don't want to think about things too deeply it is nice to be able to say it's God's will, or the market. The market works in many, many things, but it also does not work in many things. If we had a free market in labor there would be no workers in this area because they would be competing with starving Africas. Read about Saipan, the largest island in the American territory known as the Northern Mariana Islands or CNMI. Bet you never heard of it, in Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew" and then tell me about the free market as anything other than a beginning kiddie version of economics.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Eater, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm

[A portion of this post has been removed.]

I don't know why this blog post about an interesting new ice-cream shop became an excuse for another pet CPA gripe, but since it did, Steve's observation about factors affecting commercial rent was perfectly right, and far past serious dispute. Our region happens to have a lot of demand just now, and rents are high; I've seen more than one period in the past when demand fell, and commercial space went begging for tenants.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

> (Watch CrescentParkAnon respond, in character, to this comment too.)

In character I respond with facts and ideas, not personal attacks.

> even doubling down on them, no matter how clearly they're discredited

Trying to make an argument?

Most restaurants are paying so much in rent that the food and suffered to
the point that they are either too high a price point to keep a sufficient
customer base, or quality and service suffer to the point they end up going
out of business. Cheesecake House being the recent example.

Meanwhile we get a superabundance of junk food stores at a time when
we are know that sugar is the major health hazard to Californians and people
are demanding the "discredited" idea of the soda tax because it doesn't
seem to be turning around based on just moral upright character and
personal responsibility.

What is the point of having Prop. 13 for commercial property when rents on
long owned and paid off properties can make a windfall in rental charges
and not cut any slack for their lessees?

Editor, please do your job and delete personal attacks.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Matt L., a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:01 am

I think they'll do well despite the competition and here's why:

Scoop Microcreamery: used to be my favorite, but with the recent change in ownership it has taken a major turn for the worse and is a lot less busy now. A few months ago I would have seen them as a threat but not any more. If anything, S&S is a threat to Scoop.

Gelataio: my current favorite but is a little off the beaten track, and not trendy enough to threaten Salt & Straw.

Cream: You kidding me? Cream has already run it's course. It'll stay popular with the kids on a budget but poses no threat to S&S's artisan appeal.

Fraiche: It's yogurt. I'm surprised the author didn't mention Yogurtland because we have that downtown too. But anyway, yogurt is yogurt, not ice cream.

Gelato Classico: Every time I pass by, it's empty. They are no threat to anyone.

Bottom line: I predict that S&S will do well in Palo Alto. People around here like artisan crafty anything, even if it IS a chain.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of another community,
on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:22 am

> Gelato Classico: Every time I pass by, it's empty. They are no threat to anyone.

The best, fantastic, solidly the highest quality since the 80's. Love this place!
Every time I go there I have to wait in live ... the problem is that there is no good
parking so you have to drive by with someone in your car to go out and buy, or
be walking in Palo Alto downtown already.

Not sure about the one in Mountain View ... that one is not run as well as the
Palo Alto store.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jeff, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:13 pm

I personally like Scoop Microcreamery. There service and wait times have greatly improved since their recent ownership change. And their ice cream is still one of the best i've had.

I'm excited to try out S&S, but I do hope small ice cream shops like Scoop don't get adversely affect by these chain ice cream stores.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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