The term Seattle Freeze may elicit a hypothetical social chill to those that are familiar with it, as the famous phrase pokes fun at Seattleites for being less than friendly to newcomers.
One new restaurant in Georgetown is hoping to turn the “Seattle Freeze” into something much more cheerful. And what, I ask, could be more cheerful than ice cream and donuts? Nothing. The answer is nothing.
An off-shoot of popular Central District Ice Cream Company, Seattle Freeze combines made-to-order soft serve with creative donuts in flavors like Durian, Mexican chocolate, cereal milk, and more. After seeing Seattle Freeze teasers all over social media, I decided it was time for some investigative research and made the trek south to Georgetown. I had seen on Instagram that The Freeze was hosting a brief soft opening. It was in the 80’s on this particular day, and as a PNW native I’m a particularly big baby about hot temperatures. I will literally sleep with ice packs in my bed when it gets over 70 degrees. It seemed like it was a sign from the social media gods that I needed soft serve ASAP.
Georgetown is a cozy pocket of South Seattle that still seems untouched by the recent economic boom. An extra plus of making the trek to Georgetown is the parking. There are SO many places to park (for free!) that I was convinced I’d missed an important warning and would come back to a ticket.
The physical Seattle Freeze is the antithesis of the phrase. The interior is bursting with pastels, cozy nooks, and cheery staff. Seattle Freeze encourages customers to chat in line, sit outside together in vintage pastel lawn chairs, and - most importantly - to compare concoctions. As I stood in line trying to pick flavors, a few customers helped me decide between the (very difficult) choice of which two fillings to sample. We collectively ended up deciding that marshmallows and fruity pebbles mixed into strawberry soft-serve sounded like an especially summer-y combination.
The experience at Seattle Freeze is 100 percent customizable. Each customer is given a sheet and clipboard upon entering that includes a selection of soft-serve flavors, mixables, toppings, and sauces. While I went with a more traditional combo, the ice-cream fanatic behind me ordered a black-sesame soft serve that she said tasted like dark chocolate. If you suffer from decision-making-paralysis (a distant cousin of the Seattle Freeze), the staff can recommend winning combinations. I was told that the Ube (Purple Yam) flavor was their most popular, but just couldn’t talk myself into yam-flavored ice cream.
Once I filled out my list I went to the register to pick out a donut. Each order is custom-made and there was only one soft serve machine operating when I was there, so I got the donut to tide me over while I waited… and for research, of course. Each Seattle Freeze donut was more creative than the next, but I ended up going with a Durian donut topped with chopped nuts. Despite its reputation as being the smelliest fruit on the planet, my Durian donut was sweet, a little bit tangy, and somehow disappeared in about 45 seconds. I let my donut digest and melted into one of the bubblegum pink lawn chairs outside. My soft-serve was hand delivered moments later. Between that and the parking situation, I was truly living a dream.
Soft-serve can be pretty lackluster, but I immediately understood the reason behind the wait when I had my first bite. It was obvious that Seattle Freeze uses real ingredients - I could taste the fresh berries that had been used instead of strawberry flavoring. I tried to savor every bite, but it was too good to eat slowly. If I hadn’t been so full I would’ve immediately gotten in line to try another combination.
You can find Seattle Freeze at 6014 12th Avenue South. Seattle Freeze is set to be fully open at an undisclosed date sometime in July, but they're currently running soft (serve!) openings, which are announced periodically over at their Instagram. Get in line early and bring some entertainment while you wait for your custom made ice cream concoction to be ready. I promise the wait is worth it.