Back in 2008, Molly Moon Neitzel opened up her first ice cream shop in Wallingford: a quaint, modest storefront with a couple tables off North 45th Street.
That store still exists. The difference is the packed shop: the groups of jovial friends and families huddling around the small tables, each with a scoop or cup of ice cream in hand, while a number of others gaze at the menu, hand-written on a large black chalkboard overhead, contemplating the sweet possibilities on a warm spring night.
Since then, Molly Moon’s has expanded to Capitol Hill, Madrona, downtown Seattle, Queen Anne and the streets of Seattle with their ice cream truck. In addition, Neitzel’s cookbook “Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream” will be available in May this year.
Neitzel had humble beginnings, Jennifer Carroll, Molly Moon’s spokesperson, noted.
“Neitzel worked at a scoop shop called the Big Dipper in Missoula, Mont. while attending college at the University of Montana,” Carroll said via email.
After working for a few years for the political nonprofit Music For America, who works with popular bands to promote fans to vote, she returned to Seattle to start up Molly Moon’s.
For the ice cream aficionado, the options range from the ordinary to seemingly-risky-yet-tasty creations.
“Our menu is comprised of 10 ‘always’ flavors that are a mix of classics, like Vanilla Bean and Theo Chocolate, and exotic, like Salted Caramel and Balsamic Strawberry,” Carroll said. “Additionally, we have four rotating ‘seasonal’ flavors that are inspired from the Pacific Northwest’s bountiful harvests and Molly’s whims. Many of the classic flavors are inspired by Molly’s childhood memories.”
Yet even the common flavors are quirky in its own way. Those flavors draw from local popular foods, like Scout mint and Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, and Pacific Northwest staples, like Theo Chocolate and Stumptown coffee.
The best-selling flavors? Salted caramel and Scout mint. And for good reason too.
“It’s amazing,” first-time Molly Moon’s customer Abhishek Gupta said about the salted caramel ice cream. “I feel like I’m actually eating salted caramel.”
Along with the Pacific Northwest-inspired flavors, Molly Moon’s does its best to obtain locally grown ingredients. Using that, the ice creamery attempts to create the richest ice cream possible.
“We also try to use organic when possible, and the thing that makes our ice cream especially creamy and delicious is that it’s made from milk with 19 percent milk-fat — the highest you will find anywhere,” Carroll said.
In combination with organically grown ingredients, Neitzel puts forward environmentally friendly practices, too.
“All of the scoop shops were built sustainably, and all of our cups, pints, spoons, napkins, etc. are compostable,” Carroll said.
At the heart of the liberal owner of an ice cream chain, Neitzel keeps her passion for ice cream simple and straight-laced.
“Her favorite combination is a scoop of Theo Chocolate and a scoop of Salted Caramel on a fresh, warm waffle cone,” Carroll said.
Molly Moon is located at 1622 North 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98103.