In light of New Year’s and the annual Health Kick Resolution, I know the internal back-and-forth that we all endure as we pass by cookies in C-Street, baked goods in the Bistro and the candies in the Cave. I know the struggle, of bundling up and throwing on a few sweaters trudging through the cold, all the way up to Molly Moon’s when we finally do decide to treat ourselves.
When I discovered there was a way to enjoy plant-based ice creams and sorbets that cater to everyone’s sweet-treat needs, I grabbed some friends and ran to Frankie and Jo’s ice cream shop two blocks off campus on Union St and 10th Ave where they have it all! Vegan? Check. Gluten free? Check. Delicious? Check. For everyone and anyone? Double check.
Forged from Autumn Martins and Kari Brunson’s desire to provide a pure, intentional and delicious ice cream experience, Frankie and Jo’s is a “mindful artistic creation” that caters to each person’s taste buds. As stated by employee Meghan Gerscher, “It’s important that the store is seen as more than just a vegan ice cream shop – it would be great to see it surpass that label.” The ice cream shop prioritizes its relevance to a customer base that extends to all people. They also emphasize the creation of ice creams and sorbets that are plant-based, gluten free, and bursting with flavor. In order to do this, the flavor team constantly searches for and uses new fruits, vegetables, plants, and trees to bring us frozen treasures that also have positive impacts on the people, animals, and plants of communities around the world.
Walking into Frankie and Jo’s, one feels as if he or she has just walked into their Pinterest dream embodied in real life. The smooth cement counters, tasteful palm leaf wallpaper, and touches of brushed gold provide those cool, relaxed vibes that draw you towards the welcoming employees and the tubs of colorful creams.
Let’s discuss the desserts. First of all, the two most eye-catching ice creams are Salty Caramel Ash, which resembles an activated charcoal face mask and has a smoky caramel taste, and Gingered Golden Milk, yellow curry’s doppelgänger with a creamy, gingery taste and hints of turmeric, cardamom, and black pepper that leave you reaching for another spoonful. The Fall Flavor California Cabin is creamy with kicks of cinnamon that linger on your tongue, but it won’t be in the store for much longer. These flavors can all be complemented by the store’s soft, chewy gluten-free waffle cone that brings in many devoted customers. Lastly, the most interesting feature of Frankie and Jo’s is their Moon Goo, a dark black activated caramel topping sauce that is equally as amazing as its ice cream counterpart.
More importantly, the processes by which these ice creams and sorbets are made are just as unique as the flavors themselves. Frankie’s and Jo’s makes their own nut milks from cashews which serve as the bases for many of the ice creams. The cashew nuts are sprouted overnight and their milk is used in the creation of a new batch hours later. However, they also provide coconut milk based ice creams for those with nut allergies. Furthermore, the store does not use gums, stabilizers, or processed sweeteners in order to provide treats that are as pure and natural as possible.
Though it only opened on Black Friday, the ice cream shop has already made an impact on the Capitol Hill community, such as through one of its most attractive features: the gluten-free waffle cone. Some may see the cone as just a simple means for transporting ice cream, but this simple means is not always an option for everyone, like those with gluten intolerances. As expressed by employees Gerscher and Natalie Funk, “It was amazing and shocking to see the pure joy that some customers had in being able to actually have ice cream. Some people haven’t even had a waffle cone in 10 years or even their entire lives.” In being able to serve customers with dairy and gluten intolerances, workers at the store see that this is more than just an ice cream place.
Open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Frankie and Jo’s is the perfect place to go during that afternoon slump or for those late-night cravings.
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