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  • Writer's pictureanemonehb

Salt & Straw


Opening: 2011

Locations: 19 locations by March 2020

Founder: Kim Malek and Tyler Malek

Celebrity Investor: Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Danny Garcia

Designer: John Cooley, Sarah Littlefield, Hammer&Hand


Cousins Kim and Tyler from Portland, Oregon, dreamed of creating a community place for friends, family and neighbors to enjoy each other’s company over small-batch ice cream that’s handmade with local ingredients.

Since 2011, the ice cream concept has expanded to 19 locations around the US, adding 2 more in Miami in 2020. No two locations have the same flavor offerings. Collaborations with local farmers and chefs is key, and is responsible for what has been a slow yet calculated expansion. This commitment to the community through the sourcing of local products and partnerships with “local heroes”, paired with unparalleled hospitality are the reason for the long line of customers in front of every store.

According to Kim, opening a new store in a different city is not just for sharing Portland-inspired flavors across the US, but rather, Tyler spends a year immersing himself in the food, people, and culture of that place to design a location-specific menu.

Pictures: Salt & Straw Shop in DTLA Arts District


Making an Effort – People Centered Business – Local Offering

Customers now appreciate businesses which make a notable effort to offer good quality products with a level of hospitality that makes them feels acknowledged and valued.

Allowing your guests the time to engage in a conversation about different flavors and sample as much as they like before committing to a flavor shows the company’s appreciation for their loyalty and patronage. The people waiting in line, sometimes greater than half an hour, don’t mind the wait. The customers know they will receive the same heightened level of attention and respect once they approach the counter.

Consumers wanting to experience places through food, rather than simply eat, have created a countertrend to restaurant chains. Instead of buying the same 'Seattle-based coffee' in every city, locally owned chains like Panther Coffee in Miami, Alfred's in LA and Stumptown Coffee in Portland allow the customer to experience a city’s identity much like the craft-beer scene has come to be known for.

Enlightened Hospitality Investments has made it their mission to fuel growth in people-driven restaurant companies who show a commitment to putting the needs and well-being of people first. This commitment starts with employees, then customers, community, suppliers and investors.

Monthly limited-edition Portland flavors: Lillie Belle Farms’ Marzipan Fig Bon Bon, Cloudforest Vanilla with Passionfruit & Dark Chocolate

Classic-flavors: Honey-Lavender, Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge, Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons

Pictures: Salt & Straw Shop on Abbot Kinney, Venice


Portland based interior designer Sarah Littlefield and Architect John Cooley worked with Hammer&Hand to create the first Salt & Straw Scoop Shop featuring salvaged and upcycled materials with a blend of modern and traditional design touches.

Hammer&Hand specializes in durable and long-lasting construction and interior build out for commercial and private spaces using recycled materials in an energy efficient way.

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