Darren McGill is the latest Seattle business owner to test the theory that Seattleites crave frozen treats throughout the winter. His Central District Ice Cream Company soft-opened to surprisingly good turnout yesterday at 2016 E Union St, about a 15-minute walk from Capitol Hill’s new plant-based ice cream shop, Frankie and Jo’s. Central District Ice Cream’s soft opening resumes tomorrow and continues until Saturday, when the shop holds its grand opening with four or five DJs taking turns at the booth in the loft.
McGill said he loves the windows and lighting of the space, which used to house a pilates studio. He’s also a fan of how close it is to the other businesses he co-owns, Nate’s Wings and Waffles and Melt at Bar Sue. "I’m familiar with the area and like the neighborhood — it’s family friendly, has a lot of foot traffic," McGill said. "It’s a good place for an ice cream shop that didn’t really have one over there."
Of course, McGill didn’t set out to open in December: "This is just when we happened to finish," he laughed. But he and his wife, Kristine Martin-McGill — the founders of and currently the only two employees at the eight-seat store with additional space for overflow or private parties in a loft — are hoping a strong selection of retro sweets, sodas, and by-the-pound bulk candies like chocolates and jellybeans will bolster off-season ice cream sales. Reminiscing about Abba Zabba and Orca Beverage’s Frostie line of sodas? You’ll find them at Central District Ice Cream Company.
Most importantly, though, you’ll find eight homemade ice cream flavors at a time, rotating perhaps monthly. McGill said the licks at launch include a couple of plain janes like vanilla bean and cookies and cream, but the rest are more unusual, including ube, honey pear gorgonzola, pumpkin pie, and dark chocolate mint. These flavors can be had in cones or bowls, but also in sandwich form, often with special cookie pairings: This month, for example, a matcha green tea shortbread cookie complements the black sesame ice cream, while the gingersnap brown sugar cookie was baked with the banana ginger caramel ice cream in mind.
McGill expects to start serving milkshakes next week, and floated the idea of boozy milkshakes down the line, as well as beer and wine offerings, since he’s licensed for that already.
Next month, expect an even wilder collaboration between two of McGill’s businesses, when Nate’s and Central District Ice Cream both sell chicken-and-waffle ice cream sandwiches. Before you scoff too loudly, picture a maple brown-sugar vanilla custard with fried chicken skin sandwiched between waffle-cone cookies. Find yourself craving ice cream in December suddenly?
2016 E Union St, (971) 400-2078, Facebook. Open Tuesday to Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.