Molly Moon's Grand Opening - University Village

Sundaes from Molly Moon’s. Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Breaking ice cream news: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream is set to open in Spring 2016 in Redmond at 16272 Cleveland Street. The shop will be its first outside Seattle. Spring 2016 seems like a long time to wait for Molly Moon’s delicious flavors, so ice cream on wheels will be available in Redmond this summer. From June 6 through September, Molly Moon’s ice cream truck will spend Saturday nights at the Redmond location as the shop continues being built.

“I have known that at some point I would grow outside the city of Seattle and I was looking for the perfect spot that felt like a good home for the first one in a new city. This spot in Redmond feels like a neighborhood – it’s historic but also has a downtown feel,” said Molly Neitzel, proprietor of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. Neitzel also cited Redmond’s dedication to revitalizing the area with the Cleveland Street Streetscape project and the upcoming Downtown Park as factors in choosing this location. “I love the bustling nature of this corner. Restaurants are full and people are walking their dogs in the evening,” she said.

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Lime toasted coconut. Photo by James Moes.

Patrons of the new Redmond location can expect the same friendly service and artisan flavors. salted caramel, balsamic strawberry, Earl Grey, vanilla bean, Stumptown Coffee, and more are always available, but watch for special seasonal hits such as vegan lime toasted coconut, chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough, and more.

Neitzel said she is attempting to design an open kitchen at this shop. “We want to show the process to anyone that comes in to Molly Moon’s how we make the ice cream – whether it be steeping the lavender or tea, or infusing the coffee in a cold infusion, or making our hot fudges and homemade caramel sauces. We want to put our amazing culinary staff into public view. That’s something we haven’t done in Seattle yet, and I’m really excited about it.”

Molly Moon’s best-selling flavor is the salted caramel ice cream, which Neitzel describes as “probably one of the saltiest caramel ice creams you will ever have.” Neitzel is chocolate-obsessed, so if you want to eat ice cream like her, order a Molly’s Favorite Sundae, which is a scoop of melted chocolate, a scoop of salted caramel, hot fudge, vanilla bean caramel sauce, candied hazelnuts, whipped cream, and a cherry. Neitzel said that despite all the incredible flavors Molly Moon’s offers, experimentation can occasionally run awry. “We put out a spring garlic ice cream once. That was not very popular. We also tried a baby beet sorbet, I think that same year, and wasn’t popular either. But usually, they are home runs,” she said.

Ice cream fans will no doubt form lengthy queues next spring when the Redmond location opens, but Neitzel insists Molly Moon’s popularity is about more than ice cream. “It’s a really welcoming, mult-generational gathering place. I aim for my shops to be a place that you want to hang out. Maybe it’s on a first date. Maybe it’s your 100th date. Or you’re taking your toddler for her first ice cream,” she said.

Other factors that set Molly Moon’s apart have little to do with ice cream. “You can always know that everything handed to you is 100 percent compostable, and the person handing it to you is making a living wage and gets full health insurance paid for by the company. We really try to be a company that embodies the values that we know most of our customers share,” she said. Despite her new shop operating outside Seattle, where new minimum wage laws mandate a graduated increase to $15 an hour by 2019, Neitzel said she is pushing forward ahead of schedule and upping minimum wage to $15 an hour, company-wide. “Whether you work in Seattle or on the Eastside, our wage scale will be the same,” she said.

Molly Moon’s Redmond location will be right next door to another business that has seen great success in Seattle before opening up on the Eastside – Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop. Co-founder Ben Friedman is excited at the prospect of having a business with similar values join the neighborhood. “A quality that is really successful on the Eastside is authenticity. There’s a lot of new construction out here and newness in general, so it’s nice to have a business that is down to earth and authentic. [Neitzel] is also really innovative, and that makes us complementary co-tenants,” he said. During the summer, Freidman will install a freezer at the Redmond location to offer pints of Molly Moon’s ice cream. The two companies also are partnering to offer Molly Moon’s ice cream sandwiches, which include vanilla bean, Stumptown Coffee, melted chocolate, or mint leaf, all of which are sandwiched between two sour cream-chocolate chip cookies. “We are merging our love of sandwiches and her love of ice cream in this collaborative effort. The product is absolutely amazing. It’s the best ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had,” he said.

The sandwiches will be available starting next week at Homegrown’s Mercer Island location and this summer in Redmond.