The third Bay Area location of eccentric Portland-based ice cream maker Salt & Straw opens in Burlingame (1309 Burlingame Avenue) on Friday, October 5th. That’s just in time for Peninsula residents to try the growing chain’s Halloween flavors, if they so dare.
Co-founders and cousins Kim and Tyler Malek opened their first San Francisco Salt & Straw location in Pac Heights in April 2017, with a second arriving in Hayes Valley in October. Since then, they’ve garnered steady lines and added some permanent, Bay Area specific flavors using local ingredients. Those include Sightglass Coffee cashew praline, Dandelion Chocolate hazelnut cookies and cream, and a funky Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese flavor with Acme Bread and sour cherry jam.
Now with many scoop shops to their name — Burlingame is Salt & Straw’s 15th location, and a Palo Alto shop is next — “we’ve realized the different roles flavors play at an ice cream shop,” says Tyler Malek, Salt & Straw’s head ice cream maker. “ [We’re] leaning into the idea that we can have flavors that are really fun to sample.”
If customers try a taste of an experimental flavor, like Old Potrero rye whiskey and cocoa nib sorbet, but then choose something more vanilla for their eventual purchase, that’s cool with Malek.
Which category Salt & Straw’s Halloween flavors will occupy — fun sample or new favorite? — is up to customers. Available in SF and Burlingame on Friday, those creations include “Dracula’s Blood Pudding” (Italian style blood pudding made with Portland’s Nicky USA pig’s blood), the “The Great Candytopia” (salted butterscotch ice cream with homemade Snickers, Twix chunks, Heath Bars, and peanut butter cups), and “Essence of Ghost” (grey sherbet and black cocoa ice cream).
One flavor sure to inspire chills of one kind or another is “Creepy Crawly Critters:” It’s matcha ice cream with orange and dark chocolate covered crickets and coconut toffee brittle mealworms from Don Bugito. While the flavor is a good opportunity to try edible bugs, they’re not simply going for a shock factor: Based in Oakland, Don Bugito is a La Cocina-backed company focused on traditional edible insects inspired by Pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine. They’re treats that play as a Halloween novelty, but really work as a traditional, everyday snack.
“That’s who we are — going out on a limb, and tying it to a special story in the Bay,” Malek says.
Starting Friday, October 5, Salt & Straw Burlingame is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.