There’s a new ice cream shop in town! Just in time for summer, Salt & Straw has opened its first Eugene location at Oakway Center. Owners Kim Malek and her cousin Tyler Malek started the company in 2011 in Portland as a food cart with the dream of eventually opening up one brick and mortar shop. They’ve far surpassed that now with four locations in the greater Portland area, four in Los Angeles, two in Disney locations (Orlando and Anaheim), two in San Diego, four in the Bay Area, three in the Seattle area, and one in Miami. Clearly, their ice cream story hits the spot.
Their core 12 flavors are not your usuals: pear and blue cheese inspired by Oregon’s Rogue Creamery’s award-winning blue cheese; Arbequina olive oil; honey lavender, and cinnamon snickerdoodle with a punch of strong but balanced sweet and flavorful cinnamon sourced by Eugene’s Red Ape Cinnamon are just some. They also have a set of flavors that changes each month. Their opening month flavors are from “The Student Inventors Series,” in which their flavor development team turns over their creative spark to kids. These kids come up with fantastically imaginative flavors that are also scrumptious, and, Salt & Straw produces a small booklet with drawings and the kids’ stories that inspired their flavors.
They’re wild — the flavor called The Ice Cream of Moo was invented by 10-year-old Bridget and includes chocolate ganache with maraschino cherries, and candied caramel cashews in a silky and just slightly salty chocolate ice cream. Rosie The Pink Flamingo melds housemade gummy candies and pink sprinkles into deliciously tangy strawberry ice cream. The monthly flavors are one and done — when they’re gone for the month, they’re gone, and only a few flavors ever make it back into their “Hall of Fame” series of re-releases.
As you’re walking through the line and having a hard time deciding, don’t worry! You will want to try them all and that’s ok. The staff encourages tasting (they use genuine washable utensils so you don’t have to feel bad about throwing away your ice cream taster spoons!) and they genuinely love it when someone asks to try them all. When you decide to go back for more of your favorite flavor, grab a pint from the cooler and head right to the checkout, no waiting in line required.
At their grand opening celebration on April 7, the Oregon Ducks marching band played, and everyone was treated to a free scoop.